01/08/2010 12:00AM

Feature and photo Eclipse Awards announced

Jeff Taylor
The Eclipse Award-winning photograph by Jeff Taylor shows a rider being thrown from a horse during a point-to-point race in Virginia.

Joe Drape, a reporter for the New York Times, will receive the 2009 Eclipse Award for Writing in the Feature/Enterprise category for a story that appeared in the April 30 edition of the Times that examined the lack of transparency in medical records for high-profile horses, it was announced on Friday.

Separately, the administrators announced that Jeff Taylor, a staff photographer for the Winchester Star in Virginia, would receive the Eclipse Award for Photography, for a picture that appeared in the March 9 edition of the Star capturing a rider being thrown from a horse during a point-to-point race in Clarke County, Va.

Drape's article, "Despite Outcry, Derby Owners Fall Silent on Drugs for Horses," was preceded by a request from the Times to examine the veterinary records of the 25 horses most likely to appear in the Derby. Only three owners and trainers acceded to the request, with the remainder not responding or citing privacy rights in declining to turn the records over.

As a result, the article focused on the shroud of secrecy that sometimes surrounds the treatment of racehorses.

"We had been wondering what kinds of medications and drugs were being used on racing's biggest stages," Drape, 48, said in a statement. "In researching this article, I found that we are further away from 'hay, oats, and water' than I thought."

Taylor's award-winning photo caught rider Anna McKnight in midair after being thrown from Tap Tap during the point-to-point race, after the horse misjudged a jump. McKnight suffered minor injuries in the incident. Tap Tap was uninjured.

"It's an unbelievable thrill to win this award," said Taylor.

The award will be presented on Jan. 18 at the Eclipse Award ceremony in Beverly Hills. The administrators of the Eclipse Awards are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers Association.