The Eclipse Award for the top juvenile filly of 2013 might just come down to a photo finish. The two leading candidates in the category—Ria Antonia and She's a Tiger—could only be separated by a photo finish themselves in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)...and the order of finish was reversed by the stewards via disqualification.
She's a Tiger, a tenacious filly by Tale of the Cat owned by Mark Dedomenico, Allen Aldrich, Lisa Hernandez, Stuart Downey, Phil Lebherz, and trainer Mark Bonde took the Juvenile Fillies field wire to wire at Santa Anita Park, keeping her nose in front of the rallying Ria Antonia at the wire, but drifted out during the stretch run, causing the stewards to take a lengthy look at the replay before making their call.
If there is any precedent in the category, it comes from the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1984. Fran's Valentine finished first, but was disqualified from the win and Harbor View Farm's Outstandingly was put up. Outstandingly was named that year's champion 2-year-old filly, however, she did race after the Breeders' Cup, winning the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I). Neither filly in 2013 started after the World Championships.
Winners in the 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 43rd annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The ceremony will air live on HRTV.
She's a Tiger, bred in Kentucky by Dr. Rodney Orr, is and a half sister to grade I winner Smiling Tiger. She put together a sterling 3-3-0 slate from six starts, winning the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I) and finishing second in the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II; by a half-length) and Chandelier Stakes (gr. I; by a head).
Ria Antonia, a daughter of Rockport Harbor, made her first three starts in Canada with trainer Ricky Griffith before being purchased privately by Christopher T. Dunn and Ron Paolucci's Loooch Racing Stable. Following a better-than-it-looked fifth-place effort in Belmont Park's one-mile Frizette Stakes (gr. I), she shipped west for the Breeders' Cup where she won the Juvenile Fillies as a 32-1 chance.
The third candidate in the category, Chriselliam figures to be on the outside looking in. The British-based filly byIffraaj out of Danielli, by Danehill, was brilliant in her final two starts of the year, but since she made only one U.S. start, and on turf too boot, she's a longshot in category. A length winner of the Shadwell Fillies Mile (Eng-I), the top juvenile filly race in Britain, she shipped to Southern California and easily won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) under Richard Hughes for trainer Charlie Hills and owners Willie Carson, Chris Wright, and Emily Asprey.