With nearly every category a foregone conclusion, the 37th Eclipse Awards night appeared to hold few, if any, surprises -- until Jess Jackson in accepting Horse of the Year for Curlin announced the champion would continue racing in 2008.
Rags to Riches, the first filly in 102 years to win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), was voted champion 3-year-old filly of 2007. She finished ahead of two other Todd Pletcher trainees--Octave and Panty Raid--in Eclipse Award voting.
Brian Hiro of the North County Times in Escondido, Calif., has won the 2007 Media Eclipse Award for writing in the Feature/Enterprise category, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Dec. 27.
Award-winning horse racing and sports announcer Kenny Rice will host the 37th Eclipse Awards Jan. 21, 2008, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Dec. 21.
Start engraving the Eclipse Awards. This year's honors are all but a done deal. Despite the horrible conditions at Monmouth Park, the Breeders' Cup World Championships were surprisingly formful, with several favorites and leading contenders turning in dominating performances.
Though there are four more months left in the 2007 racing season, Street Sense's narrow victory in the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes (gr. I) is sure to provoke discussion of whether he has already done enough to sew up the 3-year-old championship.
Julien Leparoux, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey of 2006, spent some time out of town during the Turfway Park winter/spring meet but still won the riding title by one victory in the next-to-last race of the meet.
Wait a While made a real name for herself in 2006 by winning graded stakes races on both dirt and turf, but it was on the grass where she really excelled. Her accomplishments on both surfaces earned Wait a While an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly for 2006.
When he broke his maiden in January 2005 at Santa Anita Park in his second career start, Thor's Echo had the look of a very nice 3-year-old. He won the six-furlong maiden special weight event by four lengths in 1:09.50 and set course on a "Derby" campaign through the Southwest and Midwest.
For the first time in the history of the Eclipse Awards, there is a tie for outstanding owner of the year as Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable ties with Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stables for outstanding owner with 110 votes apiece.
If you don't recognize Julien Leparoux from the photo, that might be because you best remember the French-born jockey with his face down flying over the rail after being thrown during the Keeneland spring meeting.
The Special Eclipse Award, which honors outstanding individual achievements or contributions to Thoroughbred racing, isn't given out every year. Not surprisingly, the award for 2006 has been bestowed upon Roy and Gretchen Jackson and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at New Bolton Center.
Turning for home in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), Street Sense seemed to materialize on the lead from out of nowhere with a move so explosive, even the normally eagle-eyed race caller Trevor Denman missed it.
Another repeat for Lord Derby's globe-trotting mare Ouija Board -- first in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), and because of that performance, a second title as champion grass mare.
Miesque's Approval came from behind all right, unleashing a big kick that not only carried him to victory in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), but to an Eclipse Award as the top male turf horse of 2006.
The Eclipse Awards, honoring achievement in American racing in 2006, will be announced later today when the annual awards dinner is held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The winners in each category will be announced at bloodhorse.com immediately after each award is presented
TVG will air live coverage of the 36th annual Eclipse Awards Jan. 22, a celebration of horseracing's best performances of the year, from the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., with coverage beginning on TVG at 8 p.m. ET. TV and film star Jerry O'Connell, who plays a lead role in the NBC series, "Crossing Jordan," will serve as emcee of the program for his third straight year.
Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News won the 2006 media Eclipse Award for writing in the news/commentary category for his series of articles on the events surrounding the injury and surgery on Barbaro, and The Blood-Horse received two honorable mentions in the same category for columns that appeared in the magazine.
By Ray Paulick - Keeneland's director of racing, W.B. Rogers Beasley, earlier this year made an interesting case for expansion of the Eclipse Awards from 11 to 15 equine categories (including steeplechasers). Suggested additions were 3-year-old males and 3-year-old fillies on turf, filly and mare sprinters, and turf sprinters.
Oh, the irony. Getting out of the Thoroughbred business because he has been denied stalls in numerous states and even denied permission to enter horses at one racetrack, Michael Gill won the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner for 2005.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Monday released the names of the winners for the 2005 Eclipse Awards. The Eclipse Awards are voted on and presented by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers Association. The votes are tabulated and certified by Ernst & Young LLP. Winners in all categories were announced at the 35th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Since the calendar switched centuries, two breeders have split the six Eclipse Awards handed out for breeding achievement. Juddmonte Farms won in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Now, Frank Stronach and his Adena Springs operation have garnered their third, voted the winner for 2005 after taking home the trophy in 2000 and 2004.
All the human drama that surrounded Afleet Alex -- the charity work through Alex's Lemonade Stand; the colt having to be fed milk from a Coors Lite bottle as a foal by breeder John Martin Silvertand's 9-year-old daughter; Silvertand using Alex's heroics as inspiration in his battle with terminal cancer; and the Afleet Alex marketing items distributed by owners Cash is King Stable and trainer Tim Ritchey at children's hospitals -- will have to wait for the storytellers and book writers.
By Ray Paulick - The selection process for the Eclipse Awards has remained relatively unchanged since 1971, when the awards program and annual dinner were inaugurated by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to singularly honor horse racing's champions.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday that Cash is King Racing Stable -- owner of dual classic winner Afleet Alex -- has been honored with the Special Eclipse Award. The Special Eclipse is presented to "honor outstanding individual achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of Thoroughbred racing."
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.