Officials of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association (NTWA) announced Friday the establishment of an Eclipse Award for Champion Filly or Mare Sprinter.
The new Eclipse Award, along with the existing 16 equine and human awards, will be voted on by representatives of the three presenting organizations of the Eclipse Awards mentioned above. There will now be a total of 12 equine Eclipse Awards and five in human categories.
"Creating an Eclipse Award for female sprinters meshes logically and properly with the gender balances already in place in other Eclipse Award racing categories," said Steven Crist, chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form. "While five females have won the Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter over the years, there have been none since 1989, and in that time a great many outstanding filly and mare sprinters have unfortunately gone unrecognized."
"We received a lot of feedback from NTWA members and there was a near unanimous feeling that the move to create an Eclipse Award for Champion Female Sprinter was long overdue," said Tom Law, president of the National Turf Writers Association. "It was also felt that expansion into other categories should be considered in the future, but not at this time."
"The suggestion to consider expansion came from a number of industry organizations and individuals who participate in the Eclipse Award voting process," said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of the NTRA and a member of the Eclipse Awards Steering Committee. "Their interest in revising the awards to more accurately reflect the changing American racing landscape will receive further consideration over the next 10-12 months. Areas that will receive additional analysis going forward include the three-year-old turf divisions and the mile divisions on both dirt and turf. Attention will also be paid to the eventual impact of the new Breeders' Cup World Championship races."
Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon the Thoroughbred horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective divisions. The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse.
The 2007 Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony will be held January 22, 2008, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.