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PATRIOTS COACH BILL BELICHICK TO PRESENT ECLIPSE AWARD FEB. 18 IN MIAMI BEACH, FLA.
Bill Belichick, head coach of the world champion New England Patriots, will attend Monday night's Eclipse Award dinner and present the Eclipse Award for Champion Older Male, it was announced today by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). The 31st annual Eclipse Awards will be held Monday, Feb. 18, at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort in Miami Beach, Florida.
On Feb. 3 in New Orleans, Belichick's Patriots were the upset winners of Super Bowl XXXVI by a score of 20-17 over the St. Louis Rams.
Some seven weeks earlier - with his team possessing a 7-5 won-lost record and struggling for a playoff spot - Belichick showed his team a tape of Tiznow's victorious performance in last year's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park. Belichick thought the evenly matched race that had so many horses in contention at the top of the stretch mirrored the Patriots' situation at the time. The Patriots won their next seven games, including the Super Bowl.
NTRA Vice Chairman and Breeders' Cup President D. G. Van Clief, Jr. also sent Belichick a multi-shot print of Tiznow's performance that included the scramble of horses at the head of the Belmont Park homestretch. Belichick had the print placed prominently on a wall outside the team's locker room.
"I am very excited to be participating in this year's Eclipse Awards," said Belichick. "As an avid horseracing fan and someone who appreciates greatness in all sports, it is truly an honor to be involved with recognizing the finest horses and owners in the world."
The results of the Eclipse Award balloting will not be made public until the night of the awards, but Tiznow is considered the clear-cut favorite to win the Older Male category. He is also a finalist, along with Johannesburg and Point Given, for Horse of the Year.
Tickets for the Eclipse Awards dinner, to be hosted by ESPN personality Kenny Mayne, are $300 per individual and $3,000 for a table of 10. For reservations contact Debbie Blair at (800) 792-6872, or e-mail email@example.com. Attendees can make their hotel reservations with the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort by calling (800) 548-8886 or (800) HILTONS and requesting the NTRA group rate for the Eclipse Awards.
The Presidents' Day weekend in South Florida includes racing at Gulfstream Park, featuring the Fountain of Youth Stakes on Saturday, Feb. 16; the world's largest boat show, the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail, which runs Feb. 14-19 at the Miami Beach Convention Center; and the Turf Publicists of America's Big Sport of Turfdom Luncheon on Feb. 18 at the Wyndham Miami Beach Resort.
The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of champion in their respective categories. Eclipse Awards are also given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.
The awards are presented by the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form. For more information, visit the NTRA Web site, ntra.com, or the Daily Racing Form site, drf.com.
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program and the Great State Challenge. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site, www.ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, breederscup.com. Contact the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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