Articles posted January 23, 2006

Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

Eclipse Award: Afleet Alex, 3-Year-Old Male

All the human drama that surrounded Afleet Alex -- the charity work through Alex's Lemonade Stand; the colt having to be fed milk from a Coors Lite bottle as a foal by breeder John Martin Silvertand's 9-year-old daughter; Silvertand using Alex's heroics as inspiration in his battle with terminal cancer; and the Afleet Alex marketing items distributed by owners Cash is King Stable and trainer Tim Ritchey at children's hospitals -- will have to wait for the storytellers and book writers.

Eclipse Award: Emma-Jayne Wilson, Apprentice Jockey

Emma-Jayne Wilson won the Eclipse Award as apprentice jockey of the year Monday night, becoming the second woman to win in 35 years.Emma-Jayne Wilson, who accepted the Sovereign Award last month for outstanding apprentice jockey in Canada, was awarded another well-deserved honor: an Eclipse Award.

Eclipse Award: Todd Pletcher, Trainer

Trainer Todd Pletcher had plenty of opportunities last year, and by the numbers, he made the most of them. Horses trained by Pletcher made 1,039 starts and collectively earned $20,867,842, the highest one-year earnings figure ever for a trainer. (Bobby Frankel held the previous record of $19,147,129 set in 2003.) Pletcher topped his 2004 earnings total by more than $3 million.

Eclipse Award: Folklore, 2-Year-Old Filly

If ever there was a trainer with an eye for a 2-year-old, it's D. Wayne Lukas. On a trip to Kentucky in 2004, the Hall of Fame trainer was asked to check up on some of Bob and Beverly Lewises' yearlings at Taylor Made Farm that had been nominated for the yearling sales. One particular yearling caught his eye, and Lukas phoned the Lewises and requested they take the filly out of the mix.

Eclipse Award: Stevie Wonderboy, 2-Year-Old Male

Merv Griffin owns what one might call a "wonderboy." And we're not talking about the baseball bat that the Robert Redford character Roy Hobbs swung to perfection in the movie, The Natural. The performance that Griffin's Stevie Wonderboy gave in the 2005 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Belmont Park was as good as they come and proved just as exciting as the tape-measure home runs that Hobbs hit off "Wonderboy." Unlike those dingers, however, Stevie Wonderboy's performance was all too real.

Eclipse Award: Ashado, Older Female

You have to go back 20 years to find a distaffer who won an Eclipse Award at three and came back the following year to win the older female title as well. Ashado is in elite company.

Eclipse Award: Lost in the Fog, Sprinter

The good news is, after a two-month vacation in Florida, Lost in the Fog reported back to work at Gilchrist's barn in early January to begin training for a 2006 campaign, the main target of which will be another crack at the Sprint, to be run this year at Churchill Downs. Gilchrist indicated he will likely map out a less-rigorous campaign for his star this time around, with early plans calling for an April debut in California.

Eclipse Award: Intercontinental, Turf Female

"Yeah, she's ba-aad," to paraphrase the song, but far more than "nationwide" -- she's Intercontinental. Carrying champion blood, raw talent, and an insolent rock 'n' roll attitude, the Juddmonte Farms homebred captured five graded stakes and a Breeders' Cup statue as North America's outstanding turf female in 2005.

Pat Day Accepts Big Sport of Turfdom Award

Pat Day may have retired from riding but he's not slowing down. The 2005 winner of The Big Sport of Turfdom Award is on a crusade, along with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, to help spread the good word on the nation's backstretches.

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Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Owner: Jungle Racing LLC, KMN Racing LLC, Hollendorfer, Litt, Solis II and Todaro
Jockey: Mike E. Smith
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