Azeri is the only unanimous Eclipse Award winner for 2002.

Azeri is the only unanimous Eclipse Award winner for 2002.

Benoit photo

Azeri Only Unanimous Eclipse Award Winner; Four Horse of the Year Finalists

Azeri, impressive winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Arlington Park on Oct. 26, was a unanimous selection for champion older female of 2002 when finalists for Eclipse Awards were announced Friday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers Association, and Daily Racing Form.

Trained by Laura DeSeroux for the Allen E. Paulson Trust, Azeri was also one of four finalists for Horse of the Year honors. The other three finalists for racing's top honor are Left Bank, Rock of Gibraltar, and War Emblem.

The Eclipse Awards, voted on and presented by the three organizations, will be announced at the 32nd annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held Monday, Jan. 27, 2003 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Horse of the Year:
Azeri, Left Bank, Rock of Gibraltar (IRE), War Emblem

2-Year-Old Colt or Gelding:
Sky Mesa, Toccet, Vindication

2-Year-Old Filly:
Awesome Humor, Storm Flag Flying

3-Year-Old Colt or Gelding:
Came Home, Medaglia d'Oro, War Emblem

3-Year-Old Filly:
Farda Amiga, Imperial Gesture, Take Charge Lady

Older Colt, Horse or Gelding:
Left Bank, Street Cry (IRE), Volponi

Older Filly or Mare:
Azeri (unanimous)

Left Bank, Orientate, Xtra Heat

Male Turf Horse:
High Chaparral (IRE), Rock of Gibraltar (IRE), With Anticipation

Female Turf Horse:
Astra, Golden Apples (IRE), Starine (FR)

Flat Top, It's a Giggle, McDynamo

Richard Englander, Juddmonte Farms, The Thoroughbred Corp.

Edward Evans, Juddmonte Farms, Harry T. Mangurian, Allen E. Paulson

Jerry Bailey, Edgar Prado, Mike Smith, John R. Velazquez

Apprentice Jockey:
Francisco Duran, Ryan Fogelsonger, John McKee

Steve Asmussen, Laura De Seroux, Robert Frankel

The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.