photos and text by Sara Gordon
What started as a few trainers sipping coffee on the grandstand steps overlooking Old Hilltop and trading tidbits on who has the better horse, the Alibi Breakfast is a highlight of Preakness week. Held each Thursday before Preakness, the breakfast now showcases excellence in media with various awards being handed out. Oh… and those trainers still get a chance to boast on why their horse is the best of the Preakness field!
This year, Jeannine Edwards, who served as senior horse racing reporter for ESPN and ABC for 16 years, providing extensive coverage of the Triple Crown and Preakness Stakes, received the Special Award of Merit. The Special Award of Merit is presented to those who have made a positive impact on the racing industry. Edwards has worn many hats outside of broadcasting throughout her lifetime, including exercise rider, apprentice jockey, trainer, and in-house host at Pimlico and Laurel Park.
The Old Hilltop Award, given annually to an individual who covers Thoroughbred racing with excellence and distinction, was awarded to WBAL-TV’s executive sports producer Chris Dachille. Dachille has produced WBAL-TV’s coverage of the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan Day for 14 years, with this year being his third as executive producer.
The Jerry Frutkoff Preakness Photography Award, sponsored by Nikon, is presented to the best Preakness picture from the previous year. Rick Buckley, a Baltimore native freelance photographer, was given the award for his head-on shot of the stretch duel between winner Cloud Computing and Classic Empire. It was even used on the cover of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.
The David F. Woods Memorial Award, for excellence in journalism was presented to Tom Law, a senior writer for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and managing editor for ST Publishing Inc. He was recognized by the Maryland Jockey Club for his story “Undercover,” a feature of 2017 Preakness winner Cloud Computing, which appeared in Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.
Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who just recently became the eighth jockey to have won 7,000 races, has been named the Honorary Postmaster for the 143rd Preakness, presented at the Alibi Breakfast. Prado has won 24 riding titles in Maryland and joins past honorary postmasters including Hall of Fame trainers Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas. Sal Sinatra, of the Maryland Jockey Club, also presented Prado with an award congratulating him on his 7,000 wins. Prado’s first career win of his career was at Laurel Park on May 14, 1989.