The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association today announced that the veterinary On Call media-assistance program of the American Association of Equine Practitioners has been honored with the 2008 Special Eclipse Award. The Special Eclipse Award, honors outstanding individual achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

Representatives of the On Call program of the AAEP will be presented the Special Eclipse at the 38th annual Eclipse Awards on Monday, January 26 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla.

“It is an incredible honor for the On Call program to be recognized for its contributions to racing and its role in increasing the public’s knowledge of horse health issues,” said AAEP Executive Director David L. Foley. “We dedicate this award to the many AAEP members who have volunteered their time and expertise to serve the industry, the media and, most importantly, the horse.”

The On Call group was formed in the wake of the accidents and injuries which occurred in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup, and the lack of equine medical information available to the viewing public. Since its creation in 1991, On Call has developed into an innovative media-assistance program of equine professionals, who provide accurate veterinary information to the broadcast and print media during live, network races. More than 20 media-trained equine veterinarians are available to respond to crisis situations at 100 televised races throughout the year, or whenever there’s a need to address a media inquiry about matters that affect horses’ health and safety, such as the national inquiries that followed Barbaro’s Preakness injury in 2006.

“Members of the National Turf Writers Association, other media members who cover racing’s major races, and the entire racing industry owe a great deal to the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ On Call Program,” said Tom Law, president of the National Turf Writers Association and managing editor of Thoroughbred Times. “Since the program’s inception in 1991, the On Call Program has educated and informed members of the media as well as the general public about any injuries or tragedies that unfortunately occur on the racetrack, and its team members do so in a very calm and collected manner that is good for the short- and long-term health of the game.”

Eclipse Award winners will be honored at the 38th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held Monday, January 26 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla. For hotel accommodations and Eclipse Awards dinner reservations, contact Michele Ravencraft at the NTRA's Lexington office at (800) 792-6872 or .

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests consisting of leading Thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site,