Articles posted January 24, 2005

Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

2004 Eclipse Older Female: Azeri

Hers is a familiar name in these pages, and her star has not diminished over time. Azeri, 2002 Horse of the Year and champion older mare in 2002 and 2003, has now made it a three-peat in that category. The 2004 Eclipse puts North America's all-time leading money earner for fillies and mares on her own plateau--ahead of Paseana (1992, 1993), Bayakoa (1989, 1990), and Susan's Girl (1973, 1975), the only other two-time Eclipse Award-winning older mares.

2004 Eclipse Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Todd Pletcher, who was third in Eclipse Award balloting in 2003 after finishing the year in the No. 2 spot by earnings, ended the 2004 season atop the earnings list. That was good enough for him to cop an Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer.

2004 Eclipse Sprinter: Speightstown

In the days leading up to the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, trainer Todd Pletcher would only say that Speightstown would have to win the six-furlong Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) to be considered divisional champion. Speightstown won the race and now has garnered champion sprinter honors. Pletcher took home the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer.

2004 Eclipse Turf Male: Kitten's Joy

Ken Ramsey wants to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) more than any other race, and he tried to make Kitten's Joy a Derby horse. He didn't achieve his goal with the son of El Prado, but the flashy chestnut colt's development into a turf star was a very good consolation prize.

2004 Eclipse Turf Female: Ouija Board

Unaided by the occult, and with no hovering, all-seeing orb to guide the way, it was Great Britain's Ouija Board herself who foretold a near-certain future victory in the VO5 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) for all eyes to behold.

2004 Eclipse Steeplechaser: Hirapour

Stand and deliver. That's what Hirapour needed to do to have a chance at the 2004 steeplechase Eclipse Award. He starred in the spring, skipped the summer, and lost a tight Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I) decision to McDynamo in October.

Servis Receives TPA's Big Sport Award

Trainer John Servis, who had the ride of a lifetime last spring with Smarty Jones, received the Big Sport of Turfdom award from the Turf Publicists of America Monday afternoon in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Super Bowl: Tiznow vs. Smarty Jones

Yes, there are ties to Thoroughbred racing in this year's Super Bowl. The Philly Frenzy that began last spring with Smarty Jones has now carried over to professional football, as Philadelphia once again has reason to celebrate. And who can forget that it was Tiznow who was the impetus for what has become football's next potential dynasty--the New England Patriots.

Grey Goose Joins NTRA as Official Sponsor

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced today that Grey Goose vodka has become an official sponsor of the NTRA and the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Grey Goose will also receive sponsorship rights at several other NTRA-member racetracks, including Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and Saratoga Race Course.

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