Sandra McKee, a contributing writer to Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred for the past eight years after a 36-year career as a sportswriter for the Baltimore Evening Sun and Baltimore Sun, will be honored next month with an Eclipse Award for her story “A Jockey’s Life” that appeared in the June 2021 edition of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.
The article earned McKee, from Baltimore, Md., her first Eclipse Award, won in the Feature/Commentary Writing Category.
“I wanted to win this award for so long,” said McKee. “Over the years, all the horse racing writers at The Sun wanted to win an Eclipse Award. And then I followed Tom Keyser on the beat. Tom won the Eclipse Award three times in four years. To say I was motivated is an understatement. And now, to be chosen 10 years after leaving The Sun, is unbelievable. I’m very excited to be in the company of all the talented people who have won this award. It is a great honor.”
Mckee's article detailed the inspiring story of 16-year-old apprentice jockey Albert Adams, who in 1930 set the world record for most consecutive wins by a jockey with nine when he guided Wandering Jim to victory at Marlboro Race Track in Maryland. McKee brought Adams’ story of a boy with great character, who battled against crooked stables that cost him his career, back into the spotlight.
Albert Adams died in 1970, but the Adams legacy was kept alive by his descendants, especially Ed Adams, the great nephew of Albert Adams. Ed Adams contacted Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and when Editor Joe Clancy heard of it, he offered the story to McKee.
“I got the pleasure of getting to know Albert Adams by getting out the biggest magnifying glass I could find to pore over old newspapers,” said McKee. “Ed Adams had a big thick notebook of clippings from the 1930s. Ed’s aunt, Judy Adams, remembers Albert clearly and recalled his descriptive recollections, his laugh and personality.”
The winning article can be viewed here.
McKee is the fourth writer honored with an Eclipse Award for a piece that appeared in Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, joining Don Clippinger in 1996, Vinnie Perone in 2008 and Joe Clancy in 2014.
The 2021 Media Eclipse Award winners are as follows:
Feature/Commentary Writing – Sandra McKee, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, “A Jockey’s Life. Baltimore’s Adams Set Riding Record in 1930”; June 2021.
News/Enterprise Writing – Eric Mitchell, Bloodhorse.com, “Tracks Join Rallying Cry to End Cargo Shipping”; Aug. 24, 2021.
Television – Live Racing Programming – NBC Sports, “The Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Nov. 6, 2021 on NBC; Billy Matthews and Lindsay Schanzer, Producers.
Television – Features – NBC Sports “Hot Rod Charlie,” April 30, 2021 on NBCSN; Sam Flood, Executive Producer; Rob Hyland, Coordinating Producer; Jack Felling, Coordinating Producer; David Picker, Senior Feature Producer and Annie Koeblitz, Producer.
Audio/Multi-Media Internet – Attheraces.com “Breeders’ Cup Magical Moments,” Oct. 25, 2021; Matthew Taylor, Director of New Media and Innovation; Peter Fornatale, writer and interviewer and Naomi Tukker, interviewer.
Photography – Jeff Faughender, courier-journal.com (Louisville Courier-Journal); “Between the Shadows,” May 1, 2021.
Media Eclipse Award winners will be presented their trophies at the 51st Annual Eclipse Awards Ceremony and Dinner at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California on Thursday, Feb. 10. Eclipse Award ticket information is available at the NTRA website.