Eclipse Awards

The Week in Review: Letruska Belongs in the Classic

Minutes after another easy win by Letruska (Super Saver), this time in the GI Juddmonte Spinster S. Sunday at Keeneland, trainer Fausto Gutierrez told reporters that the GI Breeders' Cup Distaff, and not the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, would be next for his 5-year-old mare. That was hardly a surprise. Gutierrez and German Larrea, the Mexican billionaire businessman who owns the horse, are looking to play it safe. Letruska is simply better than every other filly and mare in the sport and shouldn't have any problem winning the Distaff. The...

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Eclipse Awards Ceremony to be Held at Santa Anita Feb. 10

Next year's 51st annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, honoring Thoroughbred racing's champions of 2021, will be held at Santa Anita Park, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced Tuesday. Held in conjunction with the Stronach Group, the Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony at Santa Anita will take place Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, prior to the NFL's Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 13. Additional information will be announced in the coming weeks. The Stronach Group hosted the...

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Holthaus Wins Eclipse 50 Contest

Mary Holthaus was selected as the winner of the NTRA Eclipse 50 Contest, which asked fans to choose their top 10 favorite Eclipse Awards champions, along with their favorite champion jockey and trainer, from the past 50 years. Holthaus, who resides in Easton, Maryland, was randomly selected from the participants who submitted a ballot. The longtime racing fan won a trip for two to Lexington to spend a day at the races at Keeneland, tour the Four Roses Bourbon Distillery and visit historic Spendthrift Farm. In the same contest, Secretariat...

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Godolphin Named Outstanding Owner

For the first time in nine years and for the third time overall, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum's Godolphin LLC was recognized at the Eclipse Award ceremonies as America's Outstanding Owner. Horses carrying Godolphin's royal blue colors got their pictures taken 80 times in 2020, good for a remarkable strike rate of 22.2%. The operation was represented by no fewer than a joint-best eight winners at the graded stakes level (tied with Gary Barber) for a broad swath of conditioners, highlighted by the Brad Cox-trained champion Essential Quality (Tapit),...

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Rushing Fall and Channel Maker Win Eclipse Awards in Turf Divisions

Second in the balloting for champion 2-year-old filly of her generation in 2017, 'TDN Rising Star' Rushing Fall (More Than Ready) joined the likes of former Chad Brown stablemates Lady Eli (Divine Park, 2017), Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}), 2018) and Uni (GB) (More Than Ready) to become the stable's fourth Eclipse Award-winning turf female in a row and second in succession for her legendary sire. To do so, she outpointed GI Breeders' Cup Turf heroine Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal) and Audarya (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), who defeated Rushing Fall by a...

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Gamine Easily Tops Female Sprinters, Whitmore Rides BC Win to Eclipse

'TDN Rising Star' Gamine (Into Mischief) proved the fleetest of the fleet among female sprinters in 2020, becoming the second consecutive of her all-conquering sire's daughters to take home the hardware in the Female Sprinter division (Covfefe, 2019). The $1.8-million sales-topper at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale easily outdistanced the hard-knocking, dual-division finalist Serengeti Empress (Alternation) and GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint victress Glass Slippers (GB) (Dream Ahead). Gamine was second to Swiss Skydiver for the 3-year-old filly Eclipse. A successful pinhook, having brought $220,000 as a Keeneland September yearling...

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Cox Earns First Eclipse Training Title

It's hard to believe that as of the morning of Apr. 7, 2018, Brad Cox had yet to garner his first Grade I win. Later that afternoon, the Cox-trained Monomoy Girl would win the GI Central Bank Ashland S., thus propelling her to wins in the GI Kentucky Oaks and GI Breeders' Cup Distaff, as well as a 3-year-old filly championship. Fast forward to 2020, the stalwart tempo continued with yet another championship run by the chestnut, who spent the entire 2019 season on the sidelines before mounting her epic...

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Irad Ortiz, Jr. Wins Third Straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey

It's Irad Ortiz, Jr.'s world and we're all just living in it. The 28-year-old from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico who has grown up into a superstar before the racing world's eyes continued his dominance in 2020, leading to a third consecutive Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. While his total earnings dipped over $10 million from his 2020 sum, that can be almost entirely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the cancellation of much of the racing calendar through March and April and dramatic purse cuts that plagued the...

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Vequist & Essential Quality Take Home Juvenile Championships
Vequist & Essential Quality Take Home Juvenile Championships

Vequist (Nyquist) cemented her status as the leader of what appeared to be an open division earlier in the fall with a decisive score in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 6. The dark bay finished second in her July 29 debut at Parx, but her connections clearly had plenty of faith in her after that effort, sending her to Saratoga for the GI Spinaway S. Sept. 6. She demolished the field that day, earning her diploma by 9 1/2 lengths and becoming her freshman sire's first Grade I...

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Swiss Skydiver and Authentic Top Sophomore Divisions

Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) dominated the 3-year-old filly division in 2020 and even defeated some of the top older males of her generation, making her the clear-cut choice for this award. Kicking off her sophomore season with a third in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. at Fair Grounds in February, the $35,000 KEESEP buy rebounded with a trio of decisive victories in the Mar. 28 GII Gulfstream Park Oaks, May 1 GIII Fantasy S. and June 6 GII Santa Anita Oaks. Trainer Ken McPeek tried his charge against males for the...

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Moscato Named Champion Steeplechaser

Moscato's perennial leading connections had a stranglehold on this year's steeplechase category, with Mike Hankin, Charlie Fenwick and Charlie Noell's Bruton Street-US owning all three finalists and Jack Fisher having also conditioned Rashaan (Ire) (Manduro {Ger}). Bruton Street and Fisher were also responsible for 2017 Eclipse winner Scorpiancer (Ire) (Scorpion {Ire}). Finishing behind Scorpiancer in both the GI Calvin Houghland Iroquois Hurdle S. and GI Grand National Hurdle S. in 2019, Moscato kicked off his championship campaign during a compressed steeplechase season with a dominant title defense in the GIII...

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Monomoy Girl and Improbable Crowned Champion Older Dirt Horses

Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) came into 2020 toting lofty expectations on top of an already gaudy record. After enjoying a truly spectacular sophomore year, annexing six of seven starts--five of them at the Grade I level--including the Longines Kentucky Oaks, Acorn S. and Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, she spent the entire 2019 season on the sidelines because of a mild case of colic followed by a hamstring injury. The half-sister to GII Risen Star S. winner Mr. Monomoy (Palace Malice) finally marked her long-awaited return in a May 16 optional claiming...

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