01/06/2009 12:00AM

NBC reaps another Eclipse

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NBC Sports has been selected for its eighth consecutive Eclipse Award for live national television programming, for its coverage of the 2008 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 17, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Tuesday.

The two-hour broadcast began with an examination of the controversy surrounding racing after the breakdown and subsequent euthanization of Eight Belles following her second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier.

It then moved to a profile of the Kentucky Derby winner, Big Brown, and his connections, and concluded with a live broadcast of the Preakness, which was won by Big Brown.

"We felt that it was important to address the Eight Belles issue and its impact on racing before getting to the story of the Preakness," said Sam Flood, coordinating producer of the telecast, in a statement. "It was essential to cover the story from all angles."

NBC has covered at least two of the three races of the Triple Crown since 2001. The network also covered the Breeders' Cup every year from its inception in 1984 until 2005, when the network declined to bid on the television contract and the event's coverage was moved to ESPN and its affiliated network, ABC Sports.