Several Eclipse Award categories of 2014 featured competitive contests that went down to the wire before a winner was determined. The race for champion 3-year-old filly was not among them.
From the early winter of 2014 through to late autumn, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Untapable was tops in her class. Untapable is homegrown through and through, by the Winchells' grade I winner and 2014 leading sire Tapit , and out of Fun House, a granddaughter of the family's foundation mare Carols Christmas.
"We had such huge expectations for Untapable," said Ron Winchell, who today runs his family's Thoroughbred operation that was founded by his late father, Verne. "And she fulfilled all of them."
At 2, Untapable won the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) but ran unplaced in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and third in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I). She transformed, however, from a good 2-year-old to a monster over last winter. In her 2014 lid-lifter, she won the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds by a whopping 9 1/2 lengths. Five weeks later, on March 29, she proved that was no fluke, demolishing her field in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) by 7 3/4 lengths.
Stretching out to nine furlongs for the first time, Untapable proved unbeatable in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), defeating My Miss Sophia by 4 1/2 lengths in a 12-horse field. Proving she could travel anywhere in the country and dominate, Untapable hit Belmont Park on June 28 and won the 1 1/16-mile Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) by 9 1/4 lengths in 1:41.48.
With nothing left to prove against her classmates, trainer Steve Asmussen and the Winchell team decided to step up against the boys in the July 27 William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) at Monmouth Park. Looking sluggish, Untapable failed to make an impression that day, splitting the nine-horse field by finishing fifth, nine lengths behind eventual Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner and Horse of the Year finalist Bayern .
That setback proved temporary, as Untapable returned Sept. 20 to win the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) by a length. Against older fillies and mares in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), Untapable capped her season with a stunning 1 1/4-length triumph. She finished 2014 having won six of seven races and $2.8 million.
Voting (Only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities: National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters):