Led by Horse of the Year candidates Authentic, Improbable and Monomoy Girl, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) on Saturday announced the finalists for the 2020 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing.
Winners in 17 horse and human categories will be announced on TVG, and other outlets, during a virtual ceremony of the 50th annual Eclipse Awards, presented by Spendthrift Farm, on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET.
Authentic is the frontrunner for Horse of the Year honors among the three finalists. The Bob Baffert trainee won six of his eight starts in 2020. The colt capped off his season by beating older in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 7.
Improbable was the runner up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Baffert trainee won three of five starts last year, all Grade 1 victories. He won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, Whitney and Awesome Again.
Monomoy Girl is the third finalist for Horse of the Year. She was perfect in 2020 in four starts. She won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland in her last outing. She is a lock to win the Eclipse Award for Older Dirt Female.
Of the 249 eligible voters represented by the NTRA, consisting of member racetrack racing officials and Equibase field personnel, the NTWAB, and Daily Racing Form, 238 (95.58%) took part in the voting. Finalists were determined in each category by voters’ top three selections, using a 10-5-1 point basis. Eclipse Award winners are determined solely by first-place votes.
The 2020 Eclipse Awards finalists
Two-Year-Old Male: Essential Quality, Fire At Will, Jackie’s Warrior
Two-Year-Old Filly: Aunt Pearl (IRE), Dayoutoftheoffice, Vequist
Three-Year-Old Male: Authentic, Nadal, Tiz the Law
Three-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 (GB), Serengeti Empress
Male Turf Horse: Channel Maker, Order of Australia (IRE), Zulu Alpha
Female Turf Horse: Audarya (FR), Rushing Fall, Tarnawa (IRE)
Steeplechase Horse: Moscato (GB), Rashaan (IRE), Snap Decision
Owner: Godolphin LLC; Klaravich Stables Inc.; Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, and Starlight Racing
Breeder: Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds LLC, Calumet Farm, WinStar Farm LLC
Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, Brad Cox
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr., Joel Rosario, John Velazquez
Apprentice Jockey: Luis Cardenas, Yarmarie Correa, Alexander Crispin
In addition to honoring the 17 winners in the horse and human categories, Thomas Goldsmith will receive the Eclipse Award as the 2020 Horseplayer of the Year. Members of the media will be honored for outstanding coverage in six categories.
Eclipse Awards voting is conducted by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), and Daily Racing Form. The Eclipse Awards ceremony is produced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
The Eclipse Awards are sponsored by Spendthrift Farm, Keeneland, Racetrack Television Network, Four Roses Bourbon, Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup, FanDuel Group, The Stronach Group, TVG, Dean Dorton, Stonestreet Farm, Jackson Family Wines, Florida HBPA, Runhappy, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Hallway Feeds and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.