It figures to be a battle between two heavyweights for the Eclipse Award for leading North American breeder in 2013.
In one corner are Sarah and Ken Ramsey, who top the individual breeders list in earnings and black-type winners for the season.
In the other corner is Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs, which collected more victories on the season. Adena and/or Stronach have won the hardware for top North American-based breeders an astounding eight times.
The third finalist is Chicagoan Morton Fink, whose numbers are far different from his fellow finalists. Fink had just four starters in 2013 and won eight races as breeder. One of those horses, though, is reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who had another outstanding campaign in 2013 and who himself is nominated in three Eclipse categories, including Horse of the Year.
Winners in the 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 43rd annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The ceremony will air live on HRTV.
The vote between the Ramseys and Adena figures to be as close as the razor-thin margins between their statistics for the 2013 season. The Ramseys as breeders were represented by $12,175,837 in earnings, edging Adena’s total of $11,999,752. The Ramseys held a comfortable lead in having bred 23 black-type winners to Adena’s 13. But Adena collected 347 victories as breeder last year to the Ramseys’ 287. Adena-bred horses made 2,309 starts (340 starters) while Ramsey-breds made 2,071 starts (296 starters).
Clearly, this is going to come down to whether Eclipse voters honor the huge season the Ramseys enjoyed or feel safer going again with Adena, which they have habitually backed for the past decade.
Then there is Fink, benefitting from the fact that of his 18 starts as breeder last year, seven were made by Wise Dan, who managed to put together a second fantastic season in a row. Wise Dan proved victorious in six of those starts, including grade I victories in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes, plus graded wins in the Fourstardave Stakes and Firecracker Handicap.