Majority owner Jess Jackson said Curlin, who repeated as Horse of the Year when the Eclipse Awards were announced Jan. 26, is among the industry's greats. Jackson also said Curlin wants to run competitively, even though he is now at stud at Lane's End Farm.
- By Steve Haskin
As the only member of the elite crop of 2007 3-year-olds to return to racing as a 4-year-old, Curlin had the hopes of racing fans across the country resting on his shoulders as he embarked on an ambitious campaign that was designed to break new ground in international racing.
Listed below is a complete list of the winner of Eclipse Awards and the vote toals in each category. The tallies below represent only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities -- NTRA/Equibase, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association.
Don't tell Proud Spell's owner and breeder, Brereton C. Jones, that his bay filly isn't tough. Even though the daughter of Proud Citizen lacks size, Jones has seen plenty of evidence that she's one of the grittiest runners on the track today.
- By Steve Haskin
Big Brown's championship campaign in 2008 was predominantly about his long list of accomplishments, several which were history-making and unlikely to be duplicated for a long time.
History repeated itself in a big way for Frank Stronach. For the second time in his career, the Austrian native earned an Eclipse Award as both outstanding breeder and top owner in the same year. In 2008, his Adena Springs was named best breeder, and his Stronach Stables was chosen top owner.
Given that Garrett "Go-Go" Gomez topped the North American leading jockeys' list for the third consecutive year and took four Breeders' Cup World Championship races in 2008, it is not surprising he also earned his second Eclipse Award in as many years.
Pascacio "Paco" Lopez burst onto the South Florida riding scene in 2008, causing as much of a stir with his controversial style as he did with his superior skills.
- By Esther Marr
When Windswept Lady arrived at Shannon Hahn's Argyle, N.Y-based Double L Stable Equine Rescue and Sanctuary near Saratoga Springs with her newborn foal, the outlook looked grim for the granddaughter of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.
If you enjoy the suspense that can come with the selction of Eclipse Award winners, just skip right past the category of older female, dominated by Zenyatta the same way she has ruled the racetrack, dispatching foes with unfailing consistency.
- By Tom LaMarra
A single-season record of 622 victories might have been all Steve Asmussen needed to win the Eclipse Award for leading trainer of 2008. However, being trainer of Curlin probably didn't hurt either.
- By Esther Marr
Indian Blessing couldn't have ended 2008 on a more perfect note when she registered a gutsy 1 1/2-length score Dec. 27 in the La Brea (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. The win marked her fifth lifetime grade I victory.
- By Steve Haskin
It takes a great deal to dethrone a champion, and after Midnight Lute's powerful repeat victory in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), it was assumed by many that the defending sprint champion had accomplished enough in that race alone to secure a second Eclipse Award.
Harold A. "Sonny" Via Jr.'s Good Night Shirt repeated as champion steeplechaser, taking his second consecutive Eclipse Award in the same runaway fashion he used to win five grade I stakes during the 2008 season.
Sometimes a change of scenery and a stiff drink are all a girl needs. That was at least partially the case for Forever Together, who was named 2008 champion turf mare.
- By Tracy Gantz
England's Triple Crown finale, the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I), isn't considered a normal route to the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT). But Michael Stoute hasn't ruled England's training ranks for years by playing it safe.
Every so often a juvenile filly comes along that just dominates her competition, and Stardom Bound did just that in 2008. What makes her accomplishments even more dramatic is she was able to inhale her rivals with hold-your-breath, last-to-first moves.
Like 19 other of his predecessors in the 25-year history of the Breeders' Cup, Midshipman used a Breeders' Cup victory as a springboard to being voted champion 2-year-old male.
Soto, a grade II winner by Dehere, has been sold to Prince Sultan Al Kabeer's Nofa Equestrian Resort in Saudi Arabia.
Legends Racing, which was 2008's biggest-spending new shopper at Thoroughbred yearling sales, is preparing for its inaugural season at the racetrack. According to Olin Gentry, one of the venture's founders, the stable's 39 horses have been divided equally among Legends' three trainers--Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and Nick Zito--and are in Florida being prepared for competition.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 26 that Mike Ziegler has been named the executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
The anticipation for many owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys and their connections will soon be over as the Eclipse Awards for Thoroughbred racing champions of 2008 will be announced Jan. 26 at a ceremony in Miami, Fla.
Vodka, a 4-year-old filly who won two grade I stakes against horses of all ages and of both genders, became the first filly/mare to claim the Japan Racing Association's Horse of the Year title in 11 years.
Leprechaun Racing's Mike Mulligan, chairman of the National Association of Two-Year-Old Consignors, discusses the uniform sale policies for medication, prohibited practices, riding crops and horseshoes.
The New Zealand national yearling auction is trailing behind last year's pace after the opening day in Karaka Jan. 26. During the first session of the sale's premier portion, the 173 horses that sold grossed NZ$25,973,500 (approximately $13,752,189 in U.S. funds) and averaged NZ$150,136 ($79,493). The median price was NZ$100,000 ($52,947).
John Conte, 68, of Oceanside, N.Y., won the $500,000 first-place prize and title of Handicapper of the Year in the 10th annual $1 million Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship, which concluded Jan. 24 at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas..
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