The 42nd annual Eclipse Awards will be broadcast live Jan. 19 on HRTV, according to an announcement. HRTV will also provide live coverage of the announcement of Eclipse Awards finalists on Jan. 5 at noon EST.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Her Smile's breakout win in the grade I Prioress Stakes inspired Alan Porter to explore the history of the Domino branch of the Himyar line that exists today primarily through Include.
Detractors will remind us that he's made just three career starts, but his talent is unquestionable. A TrueNicks pedigree profile. Read Blog
NetJets, the world's leading private aviation company, has reached an agreement with the New York Racing Association for an extensive, multi-tiered presence at Saratoga Race Course for the 2008 racing season, which runs from July 23 to Sept. 1. The deal includes under-the-rail signage, race sponsorship, and hospitality, and was reached in conjunction with ABC Regional Sports Sales.
In a recent Q&A with Blood-Horse staff writer Jason Shandler, trainer Bob Baffert said the Eclipse Award-winning Indian Blessing is "so talented, I think she can handle anything." The 3-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie will only have to handle three other runners in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 8.
The first foal sired by Aspen Ridge is a filly born Feb. 22 at the University of Florida Animal Science Department near Gainesville.
Frank Calabrese's homebred Dreaming of Anna kicked off her 4-year-old campaign with a photo finish that was almost too close to call when she outbobbed 6-5 favorite Lear's Princess in the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 16.
Trainer Nick Zito has a barn loaded with potential Kentucky Derby contenders, and four of those 3-year-olds made impressive moves this weekend.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - There are no rules for Eclipse Awards voters, and maybe that is as it should be.
Frank Stronach covers a variety of topics in this exclusive video interview, including a look at the newly relocated Adena Springs Farm.
Jockey Julien Leparoux is shifting his tack to Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La., after spending about six weeks in California, according to the jockey's agent, Steve Bass.
Filly and mare sprinters will be running for their own Eclipse Award beginning in 2007.
Aspen Ridge, a 7-year-old son of Wild Again, will enter stud at Eclipse Farm near Morriston, Fla.
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.
Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in Hatfield and Cambridge University in England plan to extract DNA from the bones of three of history's greatest Thoroughbred racehorses -- Eclipse, Hermit, and St. Simon. Details of the proposed study were presented at the British Association Festival of Science held at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in September.
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.
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.
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).
In seven races in Europe in 2002, all Mineshaft was able to do was break his maiden in a one-mile turf race at Newmarket in England. The final two starts of his 3-year-old campaign produced victories in allowance company in the United States, and they were much more indicative of things to come. The son of A. P. Indy went on to win 10 of 18 lifetime starts before being retired and on Monday was named Horse of the Year and champion handicap horse for 2003.
Action This Day didn't get into serious action for an Eclipse Award until the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). But when he did, there was no stopping him in his first added-money start. The son of Kris S. charged through the Santa Anita stretch to win North America's richest race for 2-year-olds for owner B. Wayne Hughes and trainer Richard Mandella.
When she drew the outside post in the 14-winner's field for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), there were some handicappers who thought that would be enough to stop the unbeaten streak of Halfbridled.
Eclipse Award voting has become extremely subjective in recent years. Because of several factors, such as shortened campaigns and the lack of a standout performer over a period of time, voters often have little in the way of ammunition when it comes time to crown a worthy champion. So, they must turn to intangibles.
The crowning achievement of Bird Town's 3-year-old campaign began with a dose of bad luck. When the gates sprang open for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on May 2, the Marylou Whitney homebred stumbled, and the confirmed front-running filly was 11th in the field of 12. The slower-than-usual start, however, helped turn her into a lioness in front of a national audience in deep stretch as the daughter of Cape Town ran to victory in an unforgettably powerful performance.
She is so much more than Queen for a Day. Actually, she is now even more than Queen for a Year. Azeri', 2002's champion older female and Horse of the Year, made a successful case for an encore presentation among older distaffers, and will keep the champion older female trophy for her work in 2003.
Aldebaran was the bridesmaid no longer in 2003. The son of Mr. Prospector, who finished second six times in eight starts in 2002, proved fully capable of reaching the winner's circle in 2003 and earned the Eclipse Award for champion sprinter in the process with five graded stakes wins in eight starts.
High Chaparral (IRE) is an outstanding example of trainer Aidan O'Brien's ability to put the right horse in the right place. The son of Sadler's Wells made only 13 starts in his three years at the track. He won 10 of those starts, including six group or grade I races, and never finished worse than third. In 2003, High Chaparral raced only four times -- two of those outings resulted in grade or group I victories.
After dominating the 3-year-old female division in Europe in 2002, and challenging the best that continent had to offer in 2003 -- both male and female -- Islington (IRE) shipped to the United States for a return engagement in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) where she registered a neck victory over fellow Irish-bred L'Ancresse. That one win, along with topping the final poll of the Filly & Mare Turf World Thoroughbred Rankings at 120 pounds, was enough to secure the daughter of Sadler's Wells an Eclipse Award as the top turf female of 2003.
Juddmonte Farms added to its growing collection of Eclipse statuettes with a second trophy for being North AmericaÕs leading owner. Juddmonte, owned by 66-year-old Prince Khalid Abdullah, has won four Eclipse Awards for top breederÑin 1995, 2001, 2002, and 2003Ñas well as the Eclipse for top owner in 1992 and 2003. As an owner in 2003, Juddmonte had 33 winners from 122 starts and earnings of $6,265,030 to rank third in North America.
If the goal is to breed graded stakes winners, and it is hard to imagine anyone disagreeing with that goal, then Juddmonte Farms was the wagering favorite to win its third consecutive Eclipse Award as the outstanding breeder of 2003.
By all accounts, 2002 was Bobby Frankel's year. He had 60 stakes wins from January to December, $17,748,340 in earnings, won 24% of all his races, trained two Eclipse Award finalists, and earned an Eclipse himself. Then came 2003.
Jerry Bailey is racing's version of Starship Enterprise Capt. James T. Kirk, boldly going where no man has gone before. In 2003, he won more stakes (70) in one year than any other rider in history, and his mounts set a single-season earnings mark of $23,354,960. Bailey also established another riding record when he scored his 14th victory in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships while guiding Six Perfections to the wire first in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
While working in Los Santos, Panama, Eddie Castro had to make a big decision. Would he continue attending night school to become an electrician or would he concentrate full time on racehorse riding and move to the United States? The 18-year-old chose to continue riding and now is an Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey.
A piano player touches the keys to make music. Elton John makes the keys sing. A quarterback throws the football. Peyton Manning makes the football go places. A steeplechase winner's runs and jumps. McDynamo floats. He's better than other horses. A master.
NBC Sports has won the Eclipse Award for National Television – Live Racing Programming for its production of the 2003 Preakness Stakes, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 14. Other media Eclipse Award winners were also named.
The Juddmonte Farms juggernaut of owner/breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah and prominently represented by trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey is in position to add to its large collection of Eclipse Awards when the annual black-tie dinner is held Jan. 26 at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers Association, which annually present the Eclipse Awards, announced Friday that they will implement new voting procedures for the awards, effective this year.
NBC has been awarded the Media Eclipse Award for National Television -- Feature for its segment on Russell Reineman's sale of War Emblem to Prince Ahmed Salman's The Thoroughbred Corp. just prior to the Kentucky Derby, which War Emblem won.
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