The great Vinnie Perrone has been named the winner of the 2008 Eclipse Award, the Pulitzer for track writers.

Perrone, a Germantown resident who handicapped and covered horse racing for the Washington Post for more than a decade beginning in the 1980s, got the honor for an appreciation of another former Post handicapper and turf writer, Baltimore bon vivant Clem Florio.

The winning entry appeared in the July issue of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine.

Florio died last summer. (Full disclosure: Perrone is, as Florio was, a friend and hero of mine.)

“Capturing Clem Florio is like trying to capture the Grand Canyon with a store-bought Instamatic camera,” Perrone said as his prize was announced. He also called his days covering racing as “the most rewarding of my career.”

Only the public library holds more stories than the racetrack.

But, with newspapers abandoning the sport, there are fewer and fewer places for these tales to be told.

As of this week, the Washington Post, Perrone and Florio’s old employer, has discontinued covering racing after 131 years on the beat.

Perrone’s award-winning piece is not available online.