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Jan 06, 2006

Finalists announced for 2005 Eclipse Awards


New York, NY (Sports Network) - Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex and Breeders' Cup Classic champion Saint Liam headline this year's finalists for the 2005 Eclipse Awards.

The Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in thoroughbred racing, are voted on and presented by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association.

Afleet Alex is a finalist for champion three-year-old male and will have competition from Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and Wood Memorial winner Flower Alley.

Saint Liam is a finalist in the older male category. He is joined by Borrego, winner of the Jockey CLub Gold Cup, and Rock Hard Ten, who captured the Santa Anita Handicap.

Afleet Alex and Saint Liam are also considered strong candidates for Horse of the Year, which will be announced at the end of the Eclipse Award ceremony on January 23 in Beverly Hills.

Ashado, 2004 champion three-year-old filly, is a finalist for older female. Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Pleasant Home and millionaire Stellar Jayne are also finalists.

The top three finishers in the 2005 Breeders' Cup Juvenile are the finalists for champion two-year-old male. They are Juvenile winner Stevie Wonderboy, runner-up Henny Hughes and third-place finisher First Samurai.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Folklore is a finalist for champion two- year-old filly. Wild Fit, second behind Folklore, is a finalist along with multiple stakes winner Adieu.

The finalists for champion three-year-old filly are Mother Goose winner Smuggler, Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly and Round Pond, winner of the Acorn Stakes.

Three-year-old Lost in the Fog is the favorite for 2005 champion sprinter. He is a finalist along with Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Silver Train and millionaire Saratoga County.

The finalists for champion male turf are Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, Mile runner-up Leroidesanimaux and Breeders' Cup Turf winner Shirocco.

Intercontinental, winner of the 2005 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, is a finalist in the female turf category. She is joined by Megahetz, winner of the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, and American Oaks winner Cesario.

The three finalists for champion steeplechaser are Hirapour, McDynamo and Sur La Tete.

Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey is a finalist for champion jockey. Bailey is a seven-time Eclipse Award winner. John Velazquez, last year's winner, is a finalist along with Edgar Prado. Velazquez broke Bailey's 2003 earnings mark last year. For the year Velazquez won more than $24 million in purses. Prado finished second with more than $18.6 million.

In the champion trainer category, record-holder Todd Pletcher is joined by Steve Asmussen and Bobby Frankel. Pletcher, the 2004 winner, set a new record for earnings by a trainer in 2005 when he posted more than $20 million in winnings. Frankel is a four-time Eclipse Award winner, and Asmussen is consistently one of the winningest trainer in North America.

The three finalists for champion apprentice jockey are Channing Hill, Justin Stein and Emma-Jayne Wilson.

The finalists for champion owner are Michael Gill, Live Oak Plantation and Melnyk Racing Stables.

In the champion breeder category the finalists are Adena Springs, Edward P. Evans and Live Oak Stud.

The Eclipse Awards for 2005 will be hosted for the second straight year by actor Jerry O'Connell. The TVG channel will televise the program live, beginning at 8:00 p.m. (et).

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