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Jan 09, 2009

Curlin, Big Brown and Zenyatta among Eclipse Award finalists


 Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin, Kentucky Derby champ Big Brown and Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic winner Zenyatta top the list of finalists for the 2008 Eclipse Awards.

The Eclipse Awards ceremony will be held January 26 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel.

Curlin is a finalist for Champion Older Male, along with Commentator and Einstein. In addition to being named 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin was voted Champion three-year-old. He won the Dubai World Cup in 2008 and became the first North American horse to exceed $10 million in career earnings. Commentator won the Whitney and Massachusetts Handicaps, and Einstein is also a finalist for male grass horse.

The three finalists for Champion three-year-old are Big Brown, Colonel John and Raven's Pass. Big Brown not only won the Run for the Roses, but also captured the Preakness Stakes and Haskell Invitational. Colonel John won the Santa Anita Derby and Travers Stakes, and Raven's Pass took the Breeders' Cup Classic in his only North American start.

Zenyatta is a finalist for Champion Older Female, along with Ginger Punch and Cocoa Beach. Zenyatta was undefeated in her career, going 9-for-9 with more than $2 million in earnings. In 2008 she was perfect in all seven starts. Ginger Punch, the 2007 Eclipse Award winner as Older Female, won the Sunshine Millions Distaff and Personal Ensign, while Cocoa Beach was second to Zenyatta in the Ladies Classic and earlier won the Beldame over Ginger Punch and is a finalist for Champion Female Turf Horse.

The three finalists for Horse of the Year will be announced at the awards ceremony. Curlin, Big Brown and Zenyatta are expected to be the finalists for the top honor.

Here is the complete list of Eclipse Award finalists in both the thoroughbred and human categories:

Two-Year-Old Male: Midshipman, Old Fashioned, Vineyard Haven.

Two-Year-Old Filly: Dream Empress, Maram, Stardom Bound.

Three-Year-Old Male: Big Brown, Colonel John, Raven's Pass.

Three-Year-Old Filly: Eight Belles, Music Note, Proud Spell.

Older Male: Commentator, Curlin, Einstein.

Older Female: Cocoa Beach, Ginger Punch, Zenyatta.

Male Sprinter: Benny the Bull, Midnight Lute, Street Boss.

Female Sprinter: Indian Blessing, Intangaroo, Ventura.

Male Turf Horse: Conduit, Einstein, Grand Couturier.

Female Turf Horse: Cocoa Beach, Forever Together, Goldikova.

Steeplechase Horse: Be Certain, Good Night Shirt, Sovereign Duty.

Owner: Godolphin Racing, IEAH Stables, Stronach Stables.

Breeder: Adena Springs, Stonerside Stable, WinStar Farm.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Richard Dutrow Jr., Bobby Frankel.

Jockey: Robby Albarado, Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez.

Apprentice Jockey: Inez Karlsson, Pascacio Lopez, Abel Mariano.

The Eclipse Awards are presented by the NTRA, the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form in recognition of excellence in Thoroughbred racing.

Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of thoroughbred racing.

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