43rd eclipse awards
43rd 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)


Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey


Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey


Todd Pletcher


Javier Castellano

Apprentice Jockey

Victor Carrasco

Eclipse Award of Merit

D. Wayne Lukas

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News