There were few surprises Jan. 5 when the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters announced the finalists for 2011 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing.
In a year in which there was a different winner of each of the Triple Crown races, two of the classic winners--Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Animal Kingdom and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford --were among the finalists in the 3-year-old male category.
Not making the list was Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Ruler On Ice or Travers (gr. I) winner Stay Thirsty . The third finalist in that division was Caleb's Posse , who is also a finalist for champion male sprinter.
Winners in all 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 41st annual Eclipse Awards Jan. 16 at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif. Finalists in the Horse of the Year category will be announced the night of the ceremony.
Of the 267 eligible voters representing the NTRA, the NTWAB, and Daily Racing Form, 248 (92.88%) took part in this year’s voting. Finalists were determined in each category by voters’ top three selections, using a 10-5-1 point basis. Eclipse Award winners are determined solely by first place votes.
The Eclipse Awards finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
2-Year-Old Male: Creative Cause , Hansen, Union Rags
2-Year-Old Filly: Grace Hall, My Miss Aurelia, Stephanie's Kitten
3-Year-Old Male: Animal Kingdom , Caleb's Posse , Shackleford
3-Year-Old Filly: It's Tricky, Plum Pretty, Royal Delta
Older Male: Acclamation, Game on Dude, Tizway
Older Female: Awesome Maria, Blind Luck, Havre de Grace
Male Sprinter: Amazombie, Caleb's Posse , Regally Ready
Female Sprinter: Hilda's Passion, Musical Romance, Sassy Image
Male Turf Horse: Acclamation, Cape Blanco, St Nicholas Abbey
Female Turf Horse: Dubawi Heights, Perfect Shirl, Stacelita
Steeplechase Horse: Black Jack Blues, Decoy Daddy, Tax Ruling
Owner: Midwest Thoroughbreds, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Team Valor
Breeder: Adena Springs, Brereton C. Jones, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey
Trainer: Bob Baffert, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano, Ramon Dominguez, John Velazquez
*Apprentice Jockey: Ryan Curatolo, Kyle Frey, Rosario Montanez (Subject to re-vote)
*It was subsequently determined that statistics provided to voters did not accurately reflect when Montanez lost his apprentice allowance during 2011. As a result, his statistics, as presented in the voting guide and online, included wins and earnings accomplished after he became a journeyman rider, according to a release from the NTRA. A re-vote in the apprentice jockey category was conducted, and the original finalists was unchanged.