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Jan 24, 2014

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-ECLIPSE AWARDS

By: JOE GIRARDI


               The Eclipse Awards for the 2013 racing season were announced on January 18th at the 43rd annual Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream Park.

               The two year old male award went to Shared Belief, a two year old who came on the scene late in the year breaking his maiden on October 19th at Golden Gate. He went on to win the Hollywood Prevue at Hollywood Park scoring by more than seven lengths and then followed that up with an easy win in the Cash Call Futurity winning by over five lengths. All three of his wins were in dazzling fashion and have many excited to see how he moves forward as a three year old.

               The two year old female went to She’s A Tiger who had four wins and two seconds from six tries but she was D’Q from one of those wins, the most important race of the year, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She won that race by a nose but was taken down for coming out in the lane, however she was still voted the top two year old filly and rightfully so.

               The top three year old male went to Will Take Charge who finished the season with 5 wins from 11 starts with two second place finishers. He didn’t run well in the Triple Crown races finishing 8th, 7th and 10th in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont respectively. However, his second part of the year was great with wins in the Grade I Travers, Grade II Pennsylvania Derby, Grade I Clark and just missed by a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This well-bred runner should have a great four year old season.

               The top three year old filly went to Beholder who finished the year with five wins and two seconds from seven tries. She finished off the year with a huge win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff scoring by more than four lengths. This filly by Henny Hughes loves Santa Anita and is the early favorite for next year’s Distaff which will be run at Santa Anita again this year.

               The older male division went to Wise Dan who won six out of seven races with one second and another win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He earned over $2.7 million dollars for the year.

               The older female award went to Royal Delta who by her standards didn’t have the greatest year as she went 3 for 7 with two second place finishes for just over $1.1 million dollars in earnings. She didn’t run well in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff a race she was trying to win three years in a row as she checked in a well beaten fourth behind Beholder. However, with that being said she was clearly the best older female in the country and the voting proved that out.

               The male turf award went to who else but Wise Dan, his dominant season was too much for anyone else in that division.

               The female turf award went to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Dank, she was 4 for 5 on the season but her two starts in the United States were both Grade I wins, she easily scored in the Beverly D. at Arlington Park and followed that up with the Breeders’ Cup win.

               The male sprinter went to the ill-fated Points Offthebench. He was 4 for 5 in 2013 with wins in the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar and in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Unfortunately, Points Offthebench broke down in his final workout for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

               The female sprinter award went to Groupie Doll who sealed it with her win on the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, that win gave her back to back wins in that race. She only have two wins on the season from five tries but she got the most important win in the Breeders’ Cup.

               The top Steeplechase Horse award went to Divine Fortune. His big win in the Grade I Grand National is what helped him to the win.

               The top trainer award went to Todd Pletcher. His stable earned more than $25 million in earnings more than $10 million more than the second place trainer. He won 13 Grade I races on the year and 48 Graded stakes races throughout the year. He trained some of the top horses in the game in 2013 and will be tough to deny in 2014 as well.

               The top jockey went to Javier Castellano. He set a single season earnings record for the year and he won 24 graded stakes races. He was steady throughout the year and was a convincing winner over the comeback jockey of the year in Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, Joel Rosario finished third in the voting.

               The top apprentice went to Victor Carrasco. He led all apprentice jockeys in both wins and earnings. He was a clear winner over second place finisher Edgard Zayas.

               The top owner and breeder award was awarded to the same entity, Ken and Sarah Ramsey. It seemed if you were watching a stakes race the winner would be owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and would be out of Kitten’s Joy, their stallion. They amassed more than $12 million in earnings more than $5 million more than the second place finisher.

               The top handicapper award went to Jim Benes who took down the $750,000 first place prize and was the handicapper of the year for 2013.

               And the Horse of the year goes to, yes, Wise Dan, won that award two. That was his second Horse of the Year award and he made it back to back wins. It will be interesting to see if he can make it three in a row and hopefully will make an appearance on conventional dirt in 2014.

              

 



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