Hollywood, FL (Sports Network) - Mineshaft was a runaway winner as Horse
of the Year and Funny Cide edged Empire Maker for top three-year-old
honors, as the 2003 Eclipse Awards were presented on Monday.
Seven victories in nine starts made Mineshaft the easy choice for Horse
of the Year. The four-year-old finished his career in style, winning the
Suburban Handicap, Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup, before being retired
because of an ankle injury.
Mineshaft, the son of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, was also awarded the
Older Male honor. He received 209 votes for Horse of the Year, easily
outdistancing Congaree, who finished second with 11.
The three-year-old race was a tight one between Funny Cide and Empire Maker,
but Funny Cide received 150 votes to 92 for Empire Maker.
Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but was a beaten third
in the Belmont as Empire Maker's victory denied the first Triple Crown since
Affirmed in 1978.
Empire Maker won two of the three head-to-head starts against Funny Cide, also
winning the Wood Memorial by a half-length in April. But Funny Cide won the
big race three weeks later, beating Empire Maker by nearly two lengths at the
The two won't meet again because Empire Maker was retired last September.
Empire Maker's trainer, Bobby Frankel, won his fifth Eclipse Award and fourth
in a row. He set a record for Grade 1 stakes victories with 25 in 2003.
Jerry Bailey, who rode Empire Maker, also won his fourth straight Eclipse
Award, and seventh overall, as top jockey.
Azeri, the 2002 Horse of the Year, took the Eclipse Award for top