Oh, the irony. Getting out of the Thoroughbred business because he has been denied stalls in numerous states and even denied permission to enter horses at one racetrack, Michael Gill won the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner for 2005.
Most handicappers expected a close race for the 2005 Horse of the Year Award, but it didn't turn out that way as Saint Liam won in a landslide.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Monday released the names of the winners for the 2005 Eclipse Awards. The Eclipse Awards are voted on and presented by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers Association. The votes are tabulated and certified by Ernst & Young LLP. Winners in all categories were announced at the 35th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Since the calendar switched centuries, two breeders have split the six Eclipse Awards handed out for breeding achievement. Juddmonte Farms won in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Now, Frank Stronach and his Adena Springs operation have garnered their third, voted the winner for 2005 after taking home the trophy in 2000 and 2004.
John Velazquez knew he had a red-hot year upon passing the single-season record for earnings in November for North American jockeys set by Jerry Bailey in 2003.
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.
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.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - The selection process for the Eclipse Awards has remained relatively unchanged since 1971, when the awards program and annual dinner were inaugurated by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to singularly honor horse racing's champions.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday that Cash is King Racing Stable -- owner of dual classic winner Afleet Alex -- has been honored with the Special Eclipse Award. The Special Eclipse is presented to "honor outstanding individual achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of Thoroughbred racing."
Reporter Janet Patton has won the 2005 Media Eclipse Award for writing in the feature or enterprise category for her series of articles in the Lexington Herald-Leader on racetrack workers and compensation. This is the second Eclipse Award for Patton, an equine and agricultural business writer for the Herald-Leader since 1998.
Bob Ford, sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has won the Media Eclipse Award for writing in the news/commentary.
With the exception of Horse of the Year, three finalists in each category for Eclipse Awards were announced Thursday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers Association, and Daily Racing Form, the three organizations that vote for year-end honors.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Wednesday that NBC Sports has won the Eclipse Award for National Television – Live Racing for its production of the 2005 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and has also won the Eclipse Award for National Television – Features for its segment on the people behind Afleet Alex during its 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) telecast.
Sirius Satellite Radio has won the Media Eclipse Award in the Audio and Multi-Media Internet category for live coverage of the 2005 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, while WAVE 3 TV in Louisville has won the Media Eclipse Award for Local Television for its pre- and post-race coverage of the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
A photo by Lynn Roberts that was published on the bloodhorse.com Web site has won the Media Eclipse Award for Photography for 2005, according to an announcement Tuesday.
For the second consecutive year, the Eclipse Awards will be telecast live on TVG and hosted by actor Jerry O'Connell.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced the Eclipse Awards, honoring Thoroughbred horse racing's human and equine champions, would be held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
By Evan Hammonds -- A pat on the back goes to all involved at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association for putting together a smooth and slick presentation of the 34th Eclipse Awards Jan. 24. A special nod should be given to Debbie Blair, the event coordinator and vice president of customer service at NTRA/Breeders' Cup.
Owner Ken Ramsey, who was fined $25,000 and suspended for seven days by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority for improperly attempting to influence another owner to scratch a horse at Turfway Park, issued a statement Jan. 24 regarding the situation.
Smarty Jones grabbed most of the headlines in 2004, but it was Ghostzapper who earned the coveted gold Eclipse Award trophy and was named Horse of the Year for 2004 at the Eclipse Awards ceremony Jan. 24.
In 1996, Dale Baird became the first trainer in history to win 7,000 races. In 1999, he became the first to reach 8,000. And in 2004, yes, he made it to 9,000. That alone makes Baird special, and a deserving winner of a Special Eclipse Award.
Here is a complete list of 2004 Eclipse Award winners, announced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and the voting, where applicable.
There was nothing flashy about Ghostzapper's appearance, and nothing flamboyant about his personality. You certainly wouldn't pick him out in a crowd. In the barn, you wouldn't even know he was around, especially considering his favorite pastime is sleeping.
It took a while for it to sink in, but the magnitude of Smarty Jones' accomplishments in 2004 finally hit trainer John Servis like a ton of bricks. "Gosh, I won the Kentucky Derby!" he said to himself while driving recently with jockey Stewart Elliott.
Jay Em Ess Stable shelled out $125,000 for Declan's Moon at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic September yearling sale. A year and a few months later, the gelding has banked $507,300, and the stable has the recipient of the Eclipse Award in the 2-year-old male category.
At the five-sixteenths pole in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Sweet Catomine was blocked and in need of racing room. But having to check was no big deal for the daughter of Storm Cat. Corey Nakatani steered her out of harm's way and she rolled by the other 11 members of the field as the crowd at Lone Star Park cheered her on.
Ashado is the kind of horse that an owner and trainer dream about: Tough, consistent, and brilliant enough to compete at racing's highest level. Her command over the 3-year-old filly division throughout 2004 and her tough-as-nails victory against older fillies and mares in the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel (gr. I) are clear reasons she's the recipient of an Eclipse Award.
The year 2004 turned out to be the type of year for Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey that the couple could only dream about a few years back. In their first appearance as Eclipse Award finalists, they won the outstanding owner trophy, and one of their horses, Kitten's Joy, won an Eclipse Award for best turf male.
Frank Stronach could not have asked for anything more Oct. 30. The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships was being held at Lone Star Park, owned by Stronach's Magna Entertainment Corp.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jerry O'Connell, a star of the NBC hit series "Crossing Jordan" who is also an avid horseracing fan, will host the 34th annual Eclipse Awards, Monday, Jan. 24, airing live on TVG from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (PT).
Whether or not he wins an Eclipse Award as top 2-year-old male of 2004, Afleet Alex has his fans as he prepares to embark on his 3-year-old campaign.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Jan. 17 Stronach Stable's 2004 Horse of the Year candidate Ghostzapper could make his 2005 debut at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
After he received the trophy Jan. 8 as leading owner in Maryland, Michael Gill issued a challenge to the racing world: If he isn't voted outstanding owner for 2004, he'll be even more determined to win the title in 2005.
Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., which celebrated 100 years of operation in 2004, and the Cella family, which has privately owned the track all that time, has been awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 6.
The Eclipse Award finalists, announced Jan. 5, reveal many familiar names in the human categories, with several big-name horses appearing in more than one category. Although most of the winners look like sure things, there are still some potential drag-out battles in the Sprint and 4-Year-Old and Up Female categories.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Tuesday that WAVE 3 TV in Louisville, Ky. and Premiere Radio Networks have been named recipients of Media Eclipse Awards.
Premier Radio Networks won the Media Eclipse Award in the audio and multi-media Internet category for its live coverage of the 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 4.
WAVE 3 in Louisville, Ky., won the Media Eclipse Award for local television for its pre-and post-race coverage surrounding last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 4.
ESPN has won the Eclipse Award for National Television – Features for its documentary "Smarty Jones: America's Horse," which aired on Oct. 31, 2004, on ESPN and ESPN HD, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 4.
NBC Sports won the Eclipse Award for National Television – Live Racing for its production of the 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 4.
Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Bill Christine of the Los Angeles Times won Media Eclipse Awards in the feature/enterprise and news/commentary categories, respectively, for 2004.
Cindy Pierson Dulay was selected as the Eclipse Award winner for photography, the The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 3.
TVG will break new ground when it presents a live telecast of the 34th annual Eclipse Awards, Monday, Jan. 24 from 6-10 p.m. PT. The network's telecast, from the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, marks the first time horseracing's "Oscars" will be presented live on TV.
Voting is underway at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Web site for the sixth annual "NTRA Moment of the Year."
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