2014 ECLIPSE AWARDS
Gulfstream Park | 17 January 2015
Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's dual Classic winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) was the big winner at Saturday night's 44th-annual Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream Park, defeating standout older horse Main Sequence (Aldebaran) and GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bayern (Offlee Wild) for Horse of the Year honours while also taking home the hardware for Champion 3-Year-Old Male.
The Art Sherman trainee kicked off his 2014 campaign with clear-cut victories in the Cal Cup Derby, GII San Felipe Stakes and GI Santa Anita Derby before justifying 5-2 favoritism to annex the GI Kentucky Derby by 1 3/4 lengths. He added the GI Preakness Stakes two weeks later, but settled for a dead-heat fourth in the GI Belmont Stakes when bidding to snap the Triple Crown drought. Sixth off a lay-off in Parx's GII Pennsylvania Derby September 20, the chestnut was a close third behind Bayern and Toast of New York (Thewayyouare) in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic November 1 and showed off his versatility to grab Del Mar's GI Hollywood Derby in his turf debut November 29. The Cal-bred earned $4,007,800 from a 9-6-0-1 record in 2014.
Flaxman Holdings homebred Main Sequence, a shoe-in for Champion Turf Horse thanks to a four-for-four Stateside campaign that included victories in the GI United Nations Stakes, GI Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes, GI Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes and GI Breeders' Cup Turf, also earned the Champion Older Horse award over Palace Malice (Curlin) 127-103.
Juddmonte Farms' Close Hatches (First Defence) was crowned Champion Older Female courtesy of scores in the GII Azeri Stakes, GI Apple Blossom Handicap, GI Ogden Phipps Stakes and GI Personal Ensign Stakes; while Winchell homebred Untapable (Tapit) was unanimously voted Champion 3-Year-Old Filly thanks to a six-for-seven campaign that included wins in the GI Kentucky Oaks, GI Mother Goose Stakes, GI Cotillion Stakes and GI Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Dayatthespa (City Zip) was named Champion Turf Female as expected after finishing off her campaign with tallies in the GI First Lady Stakes and GI Breeders' Cup F/M Turf.
One of the closer Eclipse races was for Champion 2-Year-Old Male, in which GI Del Mar Futurity Stakes and GI FrontRunner Stakes hero American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) prevailed over GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile romper Texas Red (Afleet Alex) 126-111. The Champion 2-Year-Old Filly award was far less contentious, with and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies upsetter Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) sealing the deal with front-running victories in the GIII Delta Downs Princess Stakes and GI Starlet Stakes.
Champion Male Sprinter went to GI Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Work All Week (City Zip), while GI Breeders' Cup F/M Sprint victoress Judy the Beauty (Ghostzapper) was a nearly unanimous winner of the corresponding category for the fairer sex. Demonstrative (Elusive Quality) was named Champion Steeplechase horse.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey took home Eclipse Awards for both top owner and top breeder for the second-straight year thanks in large part to homebreds by their stallion Kitten's Joy. Their colorbearers won 153 races in 2014 for earnings of $10,544,148. Ramsey-breds earned $10,412,411. The Ramseys were also named outstanding owners in 2004 and 2011.
Trainer Todd Pletcher received his seventh Eclipse Award, having amassed $22,476,736 in 2014 purse earnings with 240 wins from 999 starts; while Javier Castellano earned back-to-back outstanding jockey trophies. The Venezuelan native rode 315 winners from 1,365 mounts for $25,056,464 last season. California-based 20-year-old Drayden Van Dyke garnered the outstanding apprentice jockey distinction.
Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News/Baltimore Sun (p)