Wise Dan took home the most hardware at the Eclipse Awards on Saturday, taking down top honors for older male, turf male and Horse of the Year, becoming the first horse in history to win three awards in consecutive years.
The Charles LoPresti trainee was perfect in six starts on turf in 2013, his lone loss coming in the off-the-turf Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland, a race contested on polytrack.
The voting for Horse of the Year was not close, with Wise Dan garnering 208 first place votes, with Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victor Mucho Macho Man second with 21 votes.
It was chalk throughout, with the only close vote coming in the two-year-old male division where CashCall Futurity (G1) winner Shared Belief won with 115 votes over Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year’s Day with 99 votes.
While the winners were logical, some of the votes were not. I previously wrote that the Eclipse Awards voting should be opened up to fans and horseplayers, particularly since 23 of the voters did not even bother to submit a ballot this year.
There were several mystifying ballots cast, including one voter who thought Brandys Secret was the top older female, a division in which Royal Delta repeated after she won three of seven starts including a pair of Grade 1 wins in the Delaware Handicap and the Personal Ensign Handicap. She was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in her last start. She earned $1,107,275 in 2013.
Brandys Secret meanwhile won six of her 11 starts in 2013 and earned $187,182. She lost her last four starts in 2013 and all of her victories came in starter company, three of the wins coming at Parx Racing.
Whomever it was that voted for the mare should have his or her voting privileged revoked and perhaps given an IQ test.
Tamarando had a solid year, winning the Del Mar Debutante (G1), and one voter thought he was deserving for top two-year-old despite getting beaten seven lengths by Shared Belief in the CashCall Futurity (G1).
Verrazano received a vote for top three-year-old despite checking in 14th in the Kentucky Derby and losing his last three starts of 2013. He did win the Wood Memorial (G1) and the Haskell Invitational (G1), but it is tough to argue that he was better than Will Take Charge.
Dreaming of Julia turned heads winning the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) back in March, but it was her only win in 2013. Yet she got a second place vote over either Princess of Sylmar or Beholder?
Obviously and Point of Entry each got a vote for top turf male over Wise Dan, likely to scribes that were critical over the Horse of the Year’s “unchallenging schedule.”
Alterite won the Garden City (G1) and one race overseas, but it is tough to make an argument she was better than Dank, who won the Grade 1 Beverly D. and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Flat Out won three of eight in 2013 but just one Grade 1 race, the Cigar Mile, yet he received two votes for top older male. If a voter does not want to vote for a turf horse (Wise Dan) for top older horse, he or she had two pretty good options in Game On Dude and Mucho Macho Man.
Javier Castellano had a record year and Gary Stevens came back from his seven-year retirement to win the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Classic, yet somebody voted for Corey Nakatani?
Todd Pletcher was a no brainer for top trainer, although D. Wayne Lukas had a quite a year. I just do not understand voting for Ollie Figgins, David Jacobson or Dale Romans.
Was Dank or Royal Delta deserving of Horse of the Year honors? They both got one vote.
Let’s finally do the right thing, make all ballots public, and involve the fans and horseplayers in the voting.
2013 Eclipse Award Winners:
Horse of the Year: Wise Dan
Voting: Wise Dan, 208, Mucho Macho Man, 21, Will Take Charge, 15; Others: Dank (GB), 1; Princess of Sylmar, 1; Royal Delta, 1, abstentions, 2.
Older Male: Wise Dan
Voting: Wise Dan 123, Mucho Macho Man 93, Game on Dude 31, Others: Flat Out 2
Older Female: Royal Delta
Voting: Royal Delta 234, Joyful Victory 3, Tiz Miz Sue 2, Others: Dank 5, Dance to Bristol 1, Laughing 1, Brandy’s Secret 1, abstention 1, no vote 1
Turf Male: Wise Dan
Voting: Wise Dan 243, Magician 4, Point of Entry 1, Others: Obviously 1
Turf Female: Dank (GB)
Voting: Dank 229, Laughing 8, Mizdirection 8
Sprinter Female: Groupie Doll
Voting: Groupie Doll 192, Mizdirection 45, Dance to Bristol 5, Others: Cluster of Stars, 7
Sprinter Male: Points Offthebench
Voting: Points Offthebench 125, Secret Circle 70, Sahara Sky 45, Others: Justin Phillip 4, Private Zone 2, Immortal Eyes 1, Strapping Groom 1, abstention 1
3YO Male: Will Take Charge
Voting: Will Take Charge 231, Orb 15, Palace Malice 1, Others: Goldencents 1, Verrazano 1
3YO Female: Beholder
Voting: Beholder 207, Princess of Sylmar 42, Close Hatches 0
2YO Male: Shared Belief
Voting: Shared Belief 115, New Year’s Day 99, Havana 24, Others: Honor Code 5, Outstrip 4, Tamarando 1, No vote 1
2YO Female: She’s A Tiger
Voting: She’s a Tiger 212, Chriselliam 15, Ria Antonia 10, Others: Sweet Reason 3, Stopshoppingmaria 3, Streaming 3, My Conquestadory 2, Artemis Agrotera 1
Steeplechase horse: Divine Fortune
Voting: Divine Fortune 112, Italian Wedding 27, Gustavian 25, Others: Alajmal 21, Mr. Hot Stuff 12, Abstentions 52
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Voting: Todd Pletcher 183, Bill Mott 7, Bob Baffert 5, Others: D. Wayne Lukas 21, Jerry Hollendorfer 9, Charles LoPresto 6, Shug McGaughey 6, Steve Asmussen 3, Chad Brown 2, Kathy Ritvo 2, Ollie Figgins 1, David Jacobson 1, King Leatherbury 1, Dale Romans 1, abstention 1
Breeder: Ken & Sarah Ramsey
Voting: Ken and Sarah Ramsey 221, Adena Springs 17, Morton Fink 4, Others: Darley 1, WinStar Farm 1, abstentions 1
Owner: Ken & Sarah Ramsey
Voting: Ken and Sarah Ramsey 235, Midwest Throughbreds 4, Juddmonte 0, Others: Morton Fink 3, Gary and Mary West 2, Jungle Racing 1, Maggi Moss 1, abstentions 3
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Voting: Javier Castellano 134, Gary Stevens 65, Joel Rosario 21, Others: Mike Smith 19, John Velazquez 8, Corey Nakatani 1, abstention 1
Apprentice Jockey: Victor Carrasco
Voting: Victor Carrasco 172, Edgard Zayas 18, Manuel Franco 13, Others: Emmanuel Esquivel 8, Jose Ortiz 4, Dylan Davis 3, Trevor McCarthy 2, Voter abstentions 29
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