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2014 Eclipse Awards Finalists Announced

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2014 Eclipse Awards Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2014 Eclipse Awards to be staged 17 January at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, have been announced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.

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THE 43RD ECLIPSE AWARDS

43rd eclipse awards
43rd eclipse awards

ECLIPSE AWARDS

Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino

18 January 2014

Amanda Duckworth - Gulfstream Park played host to the Eclipse Awards for the second consecutive year on Saturday night. The event’s 43rd renewal was a sold out show that had a heavy dose of history repeating itself, as four horses honored for their efforts in 2012 were honored again for what they did on the track in 2013.

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry) led the way, as he repeated as Horse of the Year, Champion Older Male, and Champion Turf Male. Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, announced his repeat as the best horse in the country via video feed from Colorado.

“Wise Dan has certainly accomplished a lot,” said owner Morton Fink, who then let the crowd in on possible plans for 2014. “I am hoping to convince trainer Charlie LoPresti that if the horse stays like he is, to run him on the dirt, long.”

Hosted in the Sport of Kings dining room, wine and champagne flowed as the best of the sport were honored for their efforts over the last year.

Joining Wise Dan as repeat winners were Royal Delta (Empire Maker), who was once again named Champion Older Female, and Groupie Doll (Bowman’s Band), the Champion Female Sprinter. Meanwhile 2012’s Champion Juvenile Filly, Beholder (Henny Huges), was named the 2013 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.

Wise Dan’s connections were seated one table over from the ever-cheerful Ken Ramsey and his family. Ramsey and his wife, Sarah, were honored as both the Outstanding Owner and Breeder. Ramsey and LoPresti shared a thumbs up as they both walked away with hardware. “Nothing beats a good horse,” said Ramsey. “Kitten’s Joy put us on this stage two times tonight.”

The most joyful standing ovation of the night came when freshly crowned Champion 3-Year-Old Male Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) was represented by his owner Willis Horton. Although everyone had firmly been told they had 45 seconds to give their acceptance speech, Horton continued talking through the orchestra trying to play him off the stage while the crowd cheered him on.

As the music got louder, Horton proclaimed: “Will Take Charge has the greatest fan base in the world. That is the reason that I am bringing him back to run in 2014.”

Outside of that comical moment, Master of Ceremonies Jeannine Edwards kept the award show moving along at a steady pace.

Perhaps no award was as anticipated as the Eclipse Award of Merit, which honored D. Wayne Lukas and his decades long success in the business.

“I have been blessed with some really nice horses, and those horses give us great memories,” said Lukas. “But the real joy of what we do as trainers is the association with the people we deal with. The ones that fuel the fire the most are the owners.”

Lukas protege Todd Pletcher presented his former boss with the award. Earlier in the evening, Pletcher received the award for Outstanding Trainer. The usually stoic trainer was noticeably emotional when thanking his family and when honoring Caixa Eletronica, a barn favorite who recently lost his life in a freak training accident.

Another bittersweet moment came when the late Points Offthebench (Benchmark) was honored as Champion Male Sprinter.

Sports personality Jim Rome collected the trophy for Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Shared Belief (Candy Ride), whose category was the tightest race of the awards. He defeated Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day (Street Cry) in the polls by just 16 votes.

Although Florida-bred Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno) did not end up winning an award, his victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic was named Moment of the Year. Mucho Macho Man was on the lips of many as just three hours before the Eclipse Awards, he strolled to victory in the Sunshine Millions just feet away from where the awards were held.

2013 Eclipse Award Winners

Horse Of The Year

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Male Sprinter

Points Offthebench (Benchmark)

Female Sprinter

Groupie Doll (Bowman’s Band)

Male Turf Horse

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Female Turf Horse

Dank (GB) (Dansili)

Steeplechase Horse

Divine Fortune (Royal Anthem)

Older Female

Royal Delta (Empire Maker)

Older Male

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

3-Year-Old Female

Beholder (Henny Hughes)

3-Year-Old Male

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song)

2-Year Old Female

She’s a Tiger (Tale of the Cat)

2-Year-Old Male

Shared Belief (Candy Ride)

Breeder

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Owner

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Trainer

Todd Pletcher

Jockey

Javier Castellano

Apprentice Jockey

Victor Carrasco

Eclipse Award of Merit

D. Wayne Lukas

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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2013 ECLIPSE AWARDS FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

Eclipse Awards 2013
Eclipse Awards 2013

ECLIPSE AWARDS

Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino

18 January 2014

Officials from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced the finalists in 12 equine and five human categories for the 2013 Eclipse Awards, to be held on Saturday, 18 January 2014 at the Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Horse Of The Year

Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno)

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song)

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Male Sprinter

Points Offthebench (Benchmark)

Sahara Sky (Pleasant Tap)

Secret Circle (Eddington)

Female Sprinter

Dance to Bristol (Speightstown)

Groupie Doll (Bowman’s Band

Mizdirection (Mizzen Mast)

Male Turf Horse

Magician (Ire) (Galileo)

Point of Entry (Dynaformer)

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Female Turf Horse

Dank (GB) (Dansili)

Laughing (Ire) (Dansili)

Mizdirection (Mizzen Mast)

Steeplechase Horse

Divine Fortune (Royal Anthem)

Gustavian (Giant’s Causeway)

Italian Wedding (Alphabet Soup)

Older Female

Joyful Victory (Tapit)

Royal Delta (Empire Maker)

Tiz Miz Sue (Tiznow)

Older Male

Game on Dude (Awesome Again)

Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno)

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

3-Year-Old Female

Beholder (Henny Hughes)

Close Hatches (First Defence)

Princess of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior)

3-Year-Old Male

Orb (Malibu Moon)

Palace Malice (Curlin)

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song)

2-Year Old Female

Chriselliam (Ire) (Iffraaj)

Ria Antonia (Rockport Harbor)

She’s a Tiger (Tale of the Cat)

2-Year-Old Male

Havana (Dunkirk)

New Year’s Day (Street Cry)

Shared Belief (Candy Ride)

Breeder

Adena Springs

Morton Fink

Kenneth and Sarah Ramse

Owner

Juddmonte Farms

Midwest Thoroughbreds

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Trainer

Bob Baffert

Bill Mott

Todd Pletcher

Jockey

Javier Castellano

Joel Rosario

Gary Stevens

Apprentice Jockey

Victor Carrasco

Manuel Franco

Edgar Zayas

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D. WAYNE LUKAS TO RECEIVE ECLIPSE AWARD OF MERIT

d wayne lukas
d wayne lukas

D. Wayne Lukas / Bleacher Report (p)

“I’ve won a few Eclipse Awards in my career but this is the center accomplishment.”

- D. Wayne Lukas

Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas has been chosen to receive the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in the Thoroughbred industry. Lukas had a historic comeback season in 2013, which included wins in the GI Preakness Stakes, GI Hopeful Stakes, and GI Travers Stakes.

“In light of the people who have received this award in the past, it is humbling and special to me and coming from so many of those who I admire in this industry,” Lukas said. “I’ve won a few Eclipse Awards in my career but this is the center accomplishment.”

NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop said, “Wayne Lukas has been a dominant figure in Thoroughbred racing for more than a quarter century. On behalf of all of the Thoroughbred industry, we congratulate Wayne for his outstanding career on the racetrack. We also honour him for the many owners and trainers he has brought into the game and for always putting our sport in the national spotlight in a positive manner.”

Possessing a Master’s Degree in Education, Lukas started out as a high school teacher and basketball coach, while buying, selling, and racing horses on the side. He later made training his full-time job, starting with Quarter Horses before moving on to Thoroughbreds. Quickly rising to national prominence, Lukas was the first trainer to earn over $100 million in purses in 1990 and became the first to surpass $200 million nine years later. He led the nation in money won by trainers 14 times throughout his career.

Known as ‘The Coach’, several of Lukas’ students have gone on to become top trainers, such as Todd Pletcher, Mike Maker, Mark Hennig, Kiaran McLaughlin, and Dallas Stewart.

Pletcher, a five-time Eclipse Award winner himself, said, “No one is more deserving of this award. Wayne set the bar for so many of us and I am grateful to have been a part of his team. His tutelage is responsible for the successes I and many of my colleagues share today. The fact that he is still winning Classics after over three decades since his first Classic win and still wakes up at the crack of dawn with such a passion for the game speaks volumes of what he’s all about.”

Winner of three renewals of the GI Kentucky Derby, Lukas annexed his first Run for the Roses with Winning Colors (Caro), the third filly ever to win that prestigious test, in 1988. He won six Triple Crown races in a row starting with Tabasco Cat (Storm Cat) in the 1994 Preakness and ending with Grindstone (Unbridled)’s 1996 Derby victory. Lukas’ Preakness victory this year with Oxbow (Awesome Again) made him the all-time leading Triple Crown trainer with 14 wins, surpassing James ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons’ previous record of 13 wins.

When the Breeders’ Cup was created Lukas said, “I told Jeff [Lukas] and my staff that this is going to be bigger than anyone imagined.” He became the first trainer to win three races on a single Breeders’ Cup card at his home base of Churchill Downs’ in 1988 and is the leading trainer in Breeders’ Cup history with 19 victories. Lukas believes the owners deserve as much credit as the horses in contributing to the success of his operation.

“Bringing new people into the game was paramount,” said Lukas. “You’re only as strong as the people you work for. I am most proud of the great friendships we developed with these owners. These people are so competitive in business and they’ve found something to get the competitive juices flowing again. It’s very challenging in many ways. We need to get new owners to come into our game because it’s the best-kept secret in sports.”

Lukas has trained 24 Eclipse Award winners, including three that received Horse of the Year honors, and he has won the award for Outstanding Trainer four times. Besides being a member of Thoroughbred Racing’s Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame becoming the first to ever be honored by both institutions.

With regard to his 2013 season, Lukas said, “We’re only as good as the caliber that we have with us and I felt we did more with less than any year I can remember. We developed three Grade I winners (Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Strong Mandate) and probably a champion. It was a very gratifying year and gave validity to what we’re doing.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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CAPE BLANCO : FREQUENT FLYER

Cape Blanco winning the Arlington Million at Arlington Park
Cape Blanco winning the Arlington Million at Arlington Park

Click above to watch Cape Blanco winning the Arlington Million (G1)…

(Image : ESPN - Footage : Arlington)

ECLIPSE AWARDS

16 January 2012

The piece we penned on America’s Eclipse Awards earlier this week missed an important point. We pointed to the fact that two of the award winners had Summerhill connections, Champion Three-Year-Old Colt, Animal Kingdom, and the Champion Breeders, Adena Springs. The ink was scarcely dry, and we were reminded of the connection of our long-time supporters, Dr. Jim and Fitri Hay, who were major stakeholders in Cape Blanco, without question, the most extraordinary of those that stepped up to the podium Tuesday evening.

This son of Galileo did what no other thoroughbred has ever done: he crossed the Atlantic three times for three Group One victories, landing the July 9thMan o’ War Stakes at Belmont, a month later he took the Arlington Million on August 13th, then followed up as the 3-5 favourite in the Joe Hirsch Classic: Quite extraordinary and some tribute to the toughness this man, and to this fellow, let’s not forget, of Galileo, sire of our own Horse Of The Year, Igugu, a graduate of the Summerhill Ready To Run consignment in 2009.

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ECLIPSE AWARDS : MEDAL FOR VALOR

Barry Irwin with Animal Kingdom
Barry Irwin with Animal Kingdom

Barry Irwin leads Animal Kingdom following victory in the Kentucky Derby

(Photo : Team Valor International)

ECLIPSE AWARDS

16 January 2012

Mick Goss - Summerhill Stud CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill Stud CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill Stud CEOWe got back from paradise this morning, no cellphones, no radio reception and no newspapers for a fortnight, and completely oblivious of America’s Eclipse Awards. In a year in which we attended our first Kentucky Derby (Gr1) since Affirmed beat Alydar in what remains the most-remembered renewal of America’s greatest horse race in 1978, it was like old hickory to find the statue for the Champion Three-Year-Old Male had gone to a client of Summerhill. Just a few weeks ago, we posted a piece on the most successful syndicate in racing, where Team Valor surpassed by more than double, anything any other assembly of owners could muster in 2011.

My arrival at the office was instantly gratifying : a heavyweight parcel from the champion American owners was ravenously set upon by the vultures at our management meeting. The reward was a paperweight bearing a photograph of this year’s Kentucky Derby hero, Animal Kingdom, and a couple of petals from the original garland that girds the shoulders of he who prevails in the “Run For The Roses”.

Next thing, we discovered (a little belatedly) that the statue named for one of the greatest progenitors of the breed, Eclipse, for Outstanding Three-Year-Old American Male had gone appropriately, to our man Animal Kingdom. He didn’t only win the biggest one, he was the most consistent of his age and sex in the States, and he must’ve been a serious candidate for Horse Of The Year. Yet he wasn’t the only Summerhill-connected Eclipse Award winner in 2011, as the Breeder Of The Year was Adena Springs for the umpteenth time, and who are also clients of the farm. Hats off to the Stronach family and their team; originally Canadians by trade, they’ve shown America a thing or two on their way to the top of the mountain.

(See Barry Irwin’s personal take below on Team Valor’s perspective - fascinating).

Animal Kingdom is the result of a mating between the imported Brazilian-bred stallion Leroidesanimaux and the imported German mare Dalicia. I bought Leroi as a racehorse for Stonewall Farm, the same outfit which I sold Medaglia d’Oro and Lawyer Ron to. Leroi and Lawyer Ron both won Eclipse Awards for Stonewall. Medaglia d’Oro sired Rachel Alexandra, who was voted an Eclipse for Horse Of The Year. Dalicia was bought by me at a German public auction at the end of her racing career in Europe. At 400,000 euros, she became the highest-prized racemare ever sold at public auction in The Rhineland. She raced for us, winning in Southern California.

I mated Leroi with Dalicia and it was the mare’s first foal. We bred her back to Mr. Greeley twice, selling her the second time at Tattersalls December Sales in England, where she was bought by Shadai Stud in Japan, the same folks from whom I later bought Sunday Silence’s son Hat Trick, sire in his first crop of last season’s unbeaten, double Group 1-winning European juvenile Champion Dabirsim.

Animal Kingdom was raised at Denali Stud in Paris, Kentucky. As a yearling, he was offered at the Keeneland September Sale, where I bought him for $100,000 and resyndicated him as a racing prospect.

The tall chestnut colt raced twice at 2, both on Polytrack, running second in his debut to a smart colt named Wilxox Inn at Arlington Park in Chicago. He proceeded to win his second start over 1800m by more than 3 lengths at Keeneland in the manner of a colt with a future.

Over the winter the colt grew like the Incredible Hulk, gaining in physical stature to a remarkable degree. His hip broadened, as well as his chest. He flew home to miss in a conditions race in his debut at 3. In his next start, again on Polytrack, he overcame a lot of traffic to post an easy triumph in the $500,000, Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in Kentucky.

Making only his fifth lifetime start, his first in 6 weeks and his first on dirt, Animal Kingdom won the Classic, Grade 1, $2-million Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths. No horse without a previous dirt start had ever won the race. He became the first foal of an imported mare to win the race since Citation in 1948. One had to go back to 1956 to find a horse that had come off of a 6-week layoff to win the race.

In his next start, just 2 weeks later, he got off poorly, fell nearly 20 lengths off the pace, but flew home to miss by less than a length in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of our Triple Crown. He was favored for the race, as he was for his final start at three in the early June renewal of the Belmont Stakes. In this race, he was forced down to his knees and nearly lost his rider after a chain-reaction bumping incident caused him a hock injury that sent him to the sidelines. The jockey that has caused the incident was suspended from riding for 10 days.

Although he was severely compromised at the start, AK made a lot of believers that day, as he put in a swooping move to reach contention in the 2400m race, but alas he couldn’t sustain the move.

In close balloting among 248 writers, racing officials and other media types, he was a narrow 3-point winner for the Eclipse Award as the top 3-year-old colt or gelding to race in the U.S. last season.

He has been training again since December 1. This week he breezed a half-mile on grass in Florida. Plans call for him to have a race next month at Gulfstream Park near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, after which he will be flown to Dubai for the $10-million World Cup in Dubai, for which he has been favored with English bookies for the past couple of weeks.

He is an amazingly versatile horse that can run over any surface. He is unique among American horses in this regard. I think he has a chance to become the greatest money winning North American Thoroughbred of all-time, replacing Curlin, whose career earnings were $10,051,000. He will be campaigned internationally, with his only other likely U.S. start to come in the Breeders’ Cup. I wouldn’t put anything beyond the scope of this horse.

He is quite a character, sort of a testing teenager type. He is always looking for pranks to pull off. When he had his workouts for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, trainer Graham Motion sometimes had to position as many as 9 or 10 other horses for him to pass and follow, because once he gets his nose in front, he goes to playing, bucking, ducking, diving and the like.

He stands just under 16 hands 3 inches and he weights a massive 1,200 pounds. He has a gorgeous, breedy head, his front limbs are correct and he fills the eye.

I couldn’t be prouder of a horse that I bred and named. Truly a gift from the Gods.”

For the record :

The Eclipse Award winners are:

Award

Winner

2-Year-Old Male

HANSEN

Tapit - Stormy Sunday by Sir Cat

2-Year-Old-Female

MY MISS AURELIA

Smart Strike - My Miss Storm Cat by Sea Of Secrets

3-Year-Old-Male

ANIMAL KINGDOM

Leroidesanimaux - Dalicia by Acatenango

3-Year-Old-Female

ROYAL DELTA

Empire Maker - Delta Princess by A.P. Indy

Older Male

ACCLAMATION

Unusual Heat - Winning In Style by Silveyville

Older Female

HAVRE DE GRACE

Saint Liam - Easter Bunnette by Carson City

Male Sprinter

AMAZOMBIE

Northern Afleet - Wilshe Amaze by In Excess

Female Sprinter

MUSICAL ROMANCE

Concordes Tune - Candlelight Dinner by Slew Gin Fizz

Male Turf Horse

CAPE BLANCO (IRE)

(Galileo - Laurel Delight by Presidium

Female Turf Horse

STACELITA (FR)

Monsun - Soignee by Dashing Blade

Steeplechase Horse

BLACK JACK BLUES (IRE)

Definite Article - Melody Maid by Strong Gale

Owner

RAMSEY, KENNETH L. and SARAH K.

Breeder

ADENA SPRINGS

Trainer

WILLIAM I. MOTT

Jockey

RAMON DOMINGUEZ

Apprentice Jockey

KYLE FREY

Horse Of The Year

HAVRE DE GRACE

Saint Liam - Easter Bunnette by Carson City

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ANIMAL KINGDOM REWARDED FOR CLASSIC SUCCESS

Eclipse Award winner Animal Kingdom wins the Kentucky Derby
Eclipse Award winner Animal Kingdom wins the Kentucky Derby

Click above to watch Animal Kingdom winning the 2011 Kentucky Derby (Grade 1)

(Image : Yahoo Sports - Footage : Churchill Downs)

ECLIPSE AWARDS

16 January 2012

Never before had the top two Eclipse Award vote getters in the 3-year-old male division been so much like the proverbial apples and oranges comparison, which made voting in 2011 so unique and difficult.

That is how different the two protagonists, Animal Kingdom (USA) (by Leroidesanimaux - Dalicia, by Acatenango) and Caleb’s Posse (USA) (by Posse - Abbey’s Missy, by Slewacide), were from each other. Voters had to decide between a Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner and Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up who didn’t race after June 11 and a one-turn specialist who was just another of the nondescript 3-year-olds on the Derby trail until he had a big breakthrough after being shortened up to one turn.

In the end the voters went classic as Animal Kingdom was honored this week with an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. He edged Caleb’s Posse by a first-place vote tally of 114 to 111. Shackleford, the Preakness Stakes (Gr1) winner, received 12 first-place votes, followed by Ruler On Ice (5), Stay Thirsty (4), and Uncle Mo (1). There was one abstention in this category.

Owned and bred Team Valor International and trained by Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom was not even considered his owner’s main Derby hopeful in late March when he was entered in the non-graded Rushaway Stakes at Turfway, while Crimson China went in the rich Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) on the same card. But when Crimson China failed to make the starting field due to lack of earnings, their roles were reversed, with Animal Kingdom having earned slightly more money.

When Animal Kingdom won the Spiral on Polytrack, he thrust himself into the Derby picture and on the first Saturday in May he defeated 18 of the best 3-year-olds in training at the time. Animal Kingdom won the classic by an impressive win by 2 3/4 lengths in his first start ever on dirt, something that had never been achieved before.

A fast-closing second in the Preakness, Animal Kingdom was sent off as the 5-2 favorite for the Belmont Stakes (G1). But a disastrous start, in which he stumbled badly, nearly falling and unseating jockey John Velazquez, cost him all chance. After making a spectacular run on the far turn, he faded to sixth in what was to be his final start of the year, due to a hind leg fracture.

Extract from Blood Horse

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