The Eclipse Awards are set to be announced Jan. 28 in a virtual ceremony beginning at 8 pm ET. It is one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in horse racing for North American Thoroughbred racehorse champions, as well as a horse’s connections.
The champions are determined based on a voting system involving members of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
There were a total of 238 voters, and they used a 10-5-1 point system to determine the finalists for each category, and the winners are determined by first-place votes.
Top Horses and Awards
The list of finalists for the 2020 Eclipse Awards is headed by Authentic, who was the winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He is the current favorite to take home the title of Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male honors.
Authentic was 5-for-7 in 2020. Besides his big wins, he also took second in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
He is up against WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing’s Improbable in the Horse of the Year category. Improbable took three grade 1 events in 2020, and he is also a contender for champion older dirt male honors.
Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Monomoy Girl is also fighting for the Horse of the Year award. She is a finalist in the older dirt female category. Monomoy Girl raced for Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables in 2020.
In the 3-year-old male division, Authentic is rivaled by his stablemate Nadal, who had a perfect 4-for-4 record in 2020. Nadal is owned by George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman, and Mark Mathiesen. He was retired following an injury in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law is also on that list. Trained by Barclay Tagg, the New York-bred runner scored three grade 1 races in 2020, including the Belmont Stakes.
Categories for Connections
The Eclipse Awards are not only about the horses, as owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys, and other connections are also recognized.
Authentic’s team is up for many categories. The partnership of Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables, and Starlight Racing is a finalist for outstanding owner in a division. It is up against Godolphin and Klaravich Stables.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who is responsible for Authentic and Nadal, is a finalist for outstanding trainer. He is going against Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox.
The outstanding jockey category is being led by Hall of Famer John Velazquez. Velazquez is up against Irad Ortiz Jr. and Joel Rosario. Ortiz Jr. scored the 2018-19 award.
Improbable and Monomoy Girl’s connections are finalists as well. Improbable’s co-owner WinStar Farm, as well as Calumet Farm and Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, are in the outstanding breeder category.
Complete List of Finalists
- Horse of the Year: Authentic, Improbable, Monomoy Girl
- 2-Year-Old Male: Essential Quality, Fire at Will, Jackie’s Warrior.
- 2-Year-Old Filly: Aunt Pearl, Dayoutoftheoffice, Vequist
- 3-Year-Old Male: Authentic, Nadal, Tiz the Law
- 3-Year-Old Filly: Gamine, Shedaresthedevil, Swiss Skydiver
- Older Dirt Male: Improbable, Maximum Security, Vekoma
- Older Dirt Female: Midnight Bisou, Monomoy Girl, Serengeti Empress
- Male Sprinter: Vekoma, Volatile, Whitmore
- Female Sprinter: Gamine, Glass Slippers, Serengeti Empress
- Male Turf Horse: Channel Maker, Order of Australia, Zulu Alpha
- Female Turf Horse: Audarya, Rushing Fall, Tarnawa
- Steeplechase Horse: Moscato, Rashaan, Snap Decision
- Owner: Godolphin, Klaravich Stables, and the partnership of Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables, and Starlight Racing
- Breeder: Calumet Farm, Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, WinStar Farm
- Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, Brad Cox
- Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr., Joel Rosario, John Velazquez
- Apprentice Jockey: Luis Cardenas, Yarmarie Correa, Alexander Crispin
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