Eclipse Awards

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Landslide

By Ray Paulick -- For clues as to why the coronation of Mineshaft as Horse of the Year was not unanimous, a call to Sigmund Freud would be necessary. The human mind can be a strange thing.

Mineshaft Runs Away With Horse of the Year Honors

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.

2003 Eclipse 2YO Male of the Year: Action This Day

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.

2003 Eclipse 2YO Female of the Year: Halfbridled

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.

2003 Eclipse 3YO Male of the Year: Funny Cide

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.

2003 Eclipse 3YO Female of the Year: Bird Town

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.

2003 Eclipse Older Female of the Year: Azeri

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.

2003 Eclipse Sprinter of the Year: Aldebaran

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.

2003 Eclipse Grass Male of the Year: High Chaparral

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.

2003 Eclipse Grass Female of the Year: Islington

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.

2003 Eclipse Owner of the Year: Juddmonte Farms

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.

2003 Eclipse Breeder of the Year: Juddmonte Farms

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.

2003 Eclipse Trainer of the Year: Robert Frankel

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.

2003 Eclipse Jockey of the Year: Jerry Bailey

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).

2003 Eclipse Apprentice Jockey of the Year: Eddie Castro

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.

2003 Eclipse Steeplechaser of the Year: McDynamo

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.

KSPN RADIO, WBAL Win Media Eclipses

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Wednesday that KSPN/ESPN Radio 710 in Los Angeles and WBAL Radio in Baltimore have tied for the Media Eclipse Award for Audio/Multi-Media Internet coverage of Thoroughbred racing

Gary Stevens to Host Eclipse Awards

  • News

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has announced that Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will host the 33rd Eclipse Awards program, to be held Jan. 26 at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla. Stevens made his acting debut as George Woolf in last year's critically acclaimed movie Seabiscuit.

De Seroux Excited about Azeri

Trainer Laura de Seroux is excited about the way reigning Horse of the Year Azeri is training up to the Oct. 25. Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.

Scrap the Vote

By Ray Paulick -- Creation of an Eclipse Awards points system gives racing fans something to follow year-round.

Eclipse Award Ceremony Set for South Florida

  • News

The 33rd annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, honoring divisional champions for the 2003, will be held Monday, January 26, 2004 at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla.

Vindication Emulates His Sire as Champion Juvenile

Like father, like son. Twenty-seven years ago, Seattle Slew rolled to a 3-0 record and earned an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. His son, Vindication, is the 2002 Eclipse winner in the same category after compiling a 4-0 mark that included a powerful 23?4-length victory in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and outpointing rivals Toccet and Sky Mesa

Quality Over Quantity

By Ray Paulick -- The NTRA needs to clearly define for voters what the awards are supposed to recognize and should take control of who votes for the awards, inviting a panel of 50 to 100 of the most qualified and unbiased people in racing to participate.

Death of Seattle Slew Chosen as

The death of champion Seattle Slew was selected by racing fans as the 2002 "NTRA Moment of the Year." An online pole conducted the voting and the results were announced at the Jan. 27 Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Paulson Tells Eclipse Dinner Audience Azeri 'Will Return'

There were no standing ovations and only a handful of laughs at the 32nd annual Eclipse Awards Dinner held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Monday night. But emotions ran high during many of the presentations, not the least of which during Michael Paulson's tearful acceptance of the Horse of the Year trophy for Azeri.

Azeri Voted Horse of the Year in a Landslide

With all the debating about Azeri's Horse of the Year credentials, it turned out to be a landslide. The daughter of Jade Hunter did not defeat males during her 2002 campaign, but she certainly dominated them in the voting for racing's highest honor.

Star Power at Eclipse Awards Ceremony

  • News

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday that Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and 2003 Golden Globe winner Chris Cooper, actors in the upcoming Universal Pictures' film "Seabiscuit," about the legendary racehorse of the same name, will be presenters at the 32nd annual Eclipse Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif., Monday, Jan. 27.

Go Bob Go!

By Robert D. Bolson -- While reading about Bob Baffert's recent grousing and nagging displeasure with the Eclipse Awards I was reminded of Ronald Reagan's memorable remark to then-president Jimmy Carter during the second 1980 presidential debate: "There you go again."

Right to Vote

By Ray Paulick -- Eclipse voters may have potential conflicts of interest, but most take their jobs very seriously.

Phipps, Battle Win Posthumous Eclipse Awards

  • News

The late Ogden Phipps, who bred and raced generations of champion Thoroughbred racehorses, and longtime racing secretary and handicapper Howard Battle, who died of cancer last summer, have been named co-recipients of the Eclipse Award of Merit.

Eclipse Awards to Keeneland Library, Courier-Journal Photographer

  • News

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Tuesday that the new Keeneland library, one of the world's largest public-access repositories for information related to Thoroughbred horseracing and the Thoroughbred breed, has been selected to receive a Special Eclipse Award.

Drape Wins Eclipse Award for Writing

  • News

Joe Drape of the New York Times has won the media Eclipse Award for writing in the news/commentary category for his series of articles on a fraudulent wagering scheme associated with the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6.

NTRA Unveils Derby Prep TV Schedule

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) on Thursday unveiled an expanded, nine-show "CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby" series for 2003, airing on the ESPN networks and providing comprehensive coverage of key VISA Triple Crown prep races.

Date, Location Set for 2002 Eclipse Awards Ceremony

  • News

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday that the 32nd annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, honoring Thoroughbred horseracing's divisional champions for the year 2002, will be held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 27, 2003.

Champion Gourmet Girl Retired

Gary Tanaka's Gourmet Girl, who was honored with an Eclipse Award as champion older female of 2001 the previous week, has been retired from racing according to trainer Pico Perdomo.

Graded Stakes Winners Cap Frankel's Banner Year

Trainer Bopbby Frankel had a year in which his earnings of $14,987,446 took second billing to his remarkable string of graded stakes victories. It was impressive enough that he saddled 13 horses to win 18 grade I stakes, but what was really remarkable was that 16 of those grade I stakes came in the last six months of the year--three each in July, August, September, and October, and two each in November and December.

Eclipse Award Came Quickly for Owner Englander

Success in sports sometimes can come quickly or take a long time. Richard A. Englander acquired his first horse by way of a claim in the fall of 1998 and didn't stop there. In 1999, his runners topped the $1.2-million mark in earnings while making 407 starts.

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