Marty McGee has won the 2013 Media Eclipse Award for Writing in the Feature/Commentary category for his article that appeared in Daily Racing Form about the difficult times of Hall of Fame Jockey Kent Desormeaux and the impact on his family.
This is the first Eclipse Award for McGee. His article, “For Desormeaux, Conflicting Views on his Struggles,” appeared on April 20, 2013. The awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group and produced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).
McGee, born and raised in Louisville, Ky., has worked at the Daily Racing Form since 1992, following six-and-a-half years as a handicapper and racing writer in the sports department of the Baltimore Sun. He lives in Louisville with his daughters, Kelly, 18, and Molly, 16. McGee, a 1982 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in journalism, has worked as the chief correspondent for the Form at Keeneland and Churchill Downs for 20 years; has been on writing assignments to more than 15 states; and has attended the last 40 runnings of the Kentucky Derby in his hometown.
“I’m overwhelmed and deeply honored to receive this award,” said McGee. “It is the culmination of nearly 30 years of work and the pinnacle of my profession. I decided I wanted to be a turf writer when I was 12, so this is huge. I am extremely grateful to my subjects, the Desormeaux family, for being as forthcoming as they were. I have been friends with Kent and Keith since we were together in Maryland in the late 1980s, and I am very thankful for them opening up to me and showing me their confidence that this story could be handled in the proper way.”
In “Conflicting Views,” McGee originally intended to interview Kent’s older brother, Keith, who had just trained the 3-year-old I’ve Struck a Nerve to win the last year’s Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. It seemed ironic to McGee that the tables were turned. Keith was on the trail to the Derby and Kent, who had ridden three Derby three winners, was not riding his brother’s horse.
McGee then traces the journey of Kent’s life in biographical detail, though his battles with alcohol, the break-up of his marriage to his wife, Sonia, his complicated relationship with his children, a second marriage, and his quest to regain the trust of trainers he once rode for on a regular basis. McGee interviewed Kent in Florida, and Keith in New Orleans, and the Desormeax parents, Harris and Brenda, at the family home in the Cajun-country of Maurice, La.
The winning entry may be read at the following link: http://www.drf.com/news/desormeaux-conflicting-views-his-struggles