Led by Horse of the Year candidates Accelerate, Justify, and Monomoy Girl, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) today announced the finalists for the 2018 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing. Winners in 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 48th annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group on Thursday evening, January 24, at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Of the 271 eligible voters representing the NTRA, the NTWAB and Daily Racing Form, 249 (91.88%) took part in this year’s 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.
Triple Crown winner Justify is the frontrunner for Horse of the Year honors. The Bob Baffert trainee is up against Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Accelerate and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Monomoy Girl.
The 2018 Eclipse Award finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
Horse of the Year: Accelerate, Justify, Monomoy Girl
Two-Year-Old Male: Game Winner, Improbable, Knicks Go
Two-Year-Old Filly: Bellafina, Jaywalk, Newspaperofrecord (IRE)
Three-Year-Old Male: Catholic Boy, Justify, McKinzie
Three-Year-Old Filly: Midnight Bisou, Monomoy Girl, Rushing Fall
Older Dirt Male: Accelerate, City of Light, Gun Runner
Older Dirt Female: Abel Tasman, Marley’s Freedom, Unique Bella
Male Sprinter: Imperial Hint, Roy H, Stormy Liberal
Female Sprinter: Finley’sluckycharm, Marley’s Freedom, Shamrock Rose
Male Turf Horse: Expert Eye (GB); Glorious Empire (IRE), Stormy Liberal
Female Turf Horse: A Raving Beauty (GER), Enable (GB), Sistercharlie (IRE)
Steeplechase Horse: Jury Duty (IRE), Optimus Prime (FR), Zanjabeel (GB)
Owner: Peter Brant; Hronis Racing LLC; WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners
Breeder: Mike Abraham, John D. Gunther, WinStar Farm, LLC
Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, Chad Brown
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr., Jose Ortiz, Mike Smith
Apprentice Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez, Weston Hamilton, Edgar Morales
Harper to Receive Eclipse Award of Merit
In addition to honoring the 17 winners in the horse and human categories, Joe Harper, Chief Executive Officer of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, will receive the Eclipse Award of Merit in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement in the Thoroughbred industry. Chris Littlemore will receive the Eclipse Award as the 2018 Horseplayer of the Year. Members of the media will be honored for outstanding coverage in six categories.
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. The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories.
Eclipse Awards tickets are available for $425 each or $4,000 for a table of 10. Additional details can be found on the NTRA website at NTRA.com/eclipse-awards.
The “black-tie optional” Eclipse Awards is part of a full week of events that will culminate with the third running of the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the inaugural running of the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, on Jan. 26. Separate tickets to the Pegasus World Cup are available on the Gulfstream Park website at pegasusworldcup.com.
Tickets to the Eclipse Awards also include an invitation to a spectacular Friday night, Jan. 25, party in the Gulfstream Park walking ring on the eve of the Pegasus.
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 and presented by the Breeders’ Cup, Daily Racing Form and The Stronach Group.
Official Partners of the Eclipse Awards include The Stronach Group, Breeders’ Cup, Daily Racing Form, Keeneland, Florida HBPA, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Red Brand, Roberts Communications, The Jockey Club, Dean Dorton, WinStar Farm, EquiLottery Win Place Show, IOA Insurance, Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, Hagyard, Hallway Feeds, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, New York Racing Association, LUXAIR Jets, Jackson Family Wines, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Indiano Tequila. The official charity of the Eclipse Awards is the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).