High Five For Godolphin At The Eclipse Awards

Cody's Wish's winning connections | NTRA


It was an evening to remember for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Godolphin team, as the worldwide operation accumulated no fewer than five statuettes over the course of the evening at Thursday's 53rd Annual Eclipse Awards Presented by FanDuel TV, John Deere, Keeneland and The Jockey Club, honoring and recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing.

And they saved the best for last, as Cody's Wish (Curlin), whose story resonated with nearly every fan of Thoroughbred racing and beyond, was named Horse of the Year and champion older dirt male for a season in which he won four times from five starts for trainer Bill Mott, including a towering victory in the GI Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan H. in June and a nails-tough defense of his title in the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, overcoming plenty of adversity in the process.

For all they have accomplished in their rich history on the North American continent, Godolphin was being represented by its first Horse of the Year and Mott was named outstanding trainer for the fourth time in his Hall of Fame career, but first since 2011.

The Brendan Walsh-conditioned 'TDN Rising Star' Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) became Godolphin's first winner of America's premier race for sophomore fillies, the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, and largely on the strength of that effort was named champion of her generation. She is an eighth champion for her sire, whose daughter Covfefe won the same award in 2019. And while falling short of championships, Godolphin's GI Breeders' Cup Mile hero Master of the Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and the narrowly defeated 'TDN Rising Star' Mawj (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) received the third-most number of first-place votes in the male and female turf divisions, respectively.

With 27 victories in North American graded stakes, including 12 at Grade I level, Godolphin was the outstanding owner for the fourth year in a row and outstanding breeder for a third straight time.

A year after accounting for three divisional champions, Hill 'n' Dale Farm's sensational Curlin was responsible for another trifecta in 2023. In addition to Cody's Wish, the recently turned 20-year-old was also represented Thursday evening by Elite Power (Curlin), who took home a second consecutive award as champion sprinter; and by Idiomatic (Curlin), whose meteoric rise through the ranks was capped by an ultra-tough victory in the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff. Curlin's daughter Malathaat was champion older dirt female of 2022. While Elite Power has joined the stallion barn at Juddmonte Farms in Lexington, Idiomatic will aim for another championship, as she remains in training in 2024.

The female sprint division also saw a repeat champion, as Goodnight Olive (Ghostzapper) parlayed a second straight victory in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint into an Eclipse Award, easily outpointing 'TDN Rising Star' Echo Zulu (Gun Runner), whose chances were dashed by a career-ending injury while prepping for the Filly & Mare Sprint.

There were no surprises in the male turf category, as Up to the Mark (Not This Time) became a second champion in two years and third overall for his rising stallion, having won Grade Is at a mile, mile and an eighth and mile and a quarter before finishing second to 'TDN Rising Star' Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf going 12 furlongs. While the voters did not go for the latter off his single American appearance, they did in large numbers for Inspiral (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who–in perhaps the evening's most surprising result–took home the hardware for turf female following her scintillating score in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. She is a first American champion for the Banstead Manor resident and his sixth all totaled.

Arcangelo (Arrogate) was much preferred to Auguste Rodin and became his much-missed sire's first champion in the 3-year-old male division, with victories in the GI Belmont S. and GI Travers S. Scratched on the eve of the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, the gray stands his first season at Lane's End in 2024.

Courtesy of his bounceback success in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 'TDN Rising Star' Fierceness also gave his sire City of Light a first champion in the 2-year-old male division. There was also little suspense in the 2-year-old filly ranks, as the undefeated GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine Just F Y I (Justify) became the first North American champion for her sire.

Merry Maker (Ire) (Malinas {Ger}), who won the G1-Stp Lonsome Glory H. at Aqueduct in September, was a relatively narrow winner of the Eclipse for champion steeplechase horse.

In the other human divisions, Irad Ortiz, Jr. won his fifth Eclipse in six years as outstanding jockey and Axel Concepcion was the runaway winner of the Eclipse for the country's top apprentice. Stuart S. Janney III received the Eclipse Award of Merit, broadcaster Tom Hammond the Special Eclipse Award for Career Excellence and Paul Calia for Horseplayer of the Year.

The TDN Writers' Room Podcast was among the media award winners recognized for the 'Wade and Carson Jost' episode from Sept. 20, 2023. On hand to accept the award were co-producer Anthony LaRocca, editor Alia LaRocca and podcast panelists Zoe Cadman and Randy Moss.

The Eclipse Awards are voted upon by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB). The votes are tabulated and certified by LBMC. Voters are asked to identify their top three candidates when submitting their ballots and the three finalists in each division were made public on Jan. 6. Eclipse Award winners are determined by first-place votes only. Of 250 eligible voters, 219 (88%) completed a ballot.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Arrogate Colt Assurbanipal, Full To Cave Rock, Impresses at Tokyo
  2. Camelot's Pensee Du Jour Wins The Corrida
  3. Blue Point's Tiego The First Surges to TDN Rising Stardom at Saint-Cloud
  4. 40th TDN Rising Star For Dubawi As Ancient Truth Fires
  5. Bolt d'Oro's Bolt d'Vine Strikes Fast, Cruises to 'TDN Rising Star'-dom

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.