Clevenger Wins Third Eclipse Award for Photograph of Belmont Stakes

Victor Espinoza, aboard American Pharoah, looks back after crossing the finish line to win the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York.  American Pharoah becomes the 12th Triple Crown winner.
June 6, 2015
Michael Clevenger/Louisville Courier-Journal

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, January 12, 2016) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced today that Michael Clevenger, veteran photographer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, has won a 2015 Media Eclipse Award for Photography for his picture of American Pharoah winning last year’s Belmont Stakes and becoming Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner.

Clevenger’s photo, from the inside rail at Belmont Park, captures American Pharoah’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, peeking over his shoulder to see the field behind him, as the 3-year-old colt crossed the finish line with the Belmont Park stands packed with 90,000 fans roaring in jubilation at the achievement of the first Triple Crown  in 37 years. The photo appeared in the Courier-Journal on June 7 of last year. This is the third Photography Eclipse Award for Clevenger, who also won the honor in 2002 and in 2010 for photographs which were published in the Courier-Journal.

Clevenger will be honored along with Scott Serio, who also won a 2015 Media Eclipse Award for Photography for his photograph of American Pharoah working out on the Keeneland training track in preparation for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Clevenger’s photo was submitted for the contest in good order before the deadline but was inadvertently not passed on to the judges. Last week, the Eclipse Awards Steering Committee convened the photography judges in the competition to review the photograph, and it was determined that Clevenger’s photo should be honored along with Serio’s submission.

Tickets to the Eclipse Awards are available for $400 each. Dinner tickets and reservations for the official event hotel – the Diplomat Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton – can be accessed by contacting Casey Hamilton of the NTRA at

The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies. The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Those awards are voted by NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB). Eclipse Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.

Source: NTRA

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