Past the Wire

In an Eclipse Award ceremony that was a bit of a mockery of what the Eclipse Awards were at one time meant to be occurred at Santa Anita last night

The Eclipse Awards were singlehandedly turned into a bad joke

There were votes cast that made the vote for California Chrome for turf horse a few years ago seem good.

Eclipse Awards winners for 2021:

  • Two-Year-Old Male: Corniche
  • Two-Year-Old Filly: Echo Zulu
  • Three-Year-Old Male: Essential Quality
  • Three-Year-Old Filly: Malathaat
  • Older Dirt Male: Knicks Go (5)
  • Older Dirt Female: Letruska (5)
  • Male Sprinter: Jackie’s Warrior (3)
  • Female Sprinter: Ce Ce (5)
  • Male Turf Horse: Yibir (GB) (3)
  • Female Turf Horse: Loves Only You (JPN) (5)
  • Steeplechase Horse: The Mean Queen (IRE) (5)
  • Owner: Godolphin LLC
  • Breeder: Godolphin LLC
  • Jockey: Joel Rosario
  • Apprentice Jockey: Jessica Pyfer
  • Trainer: Brad Cox

NTRA, National Turf Writers And Broadcasters, and Daily Racing Form voter tallies:

Voter participation rate: 235/245= 95.9%

Horse of the Year (Name, First-Place Votes)– Knicks Go, 228; Letruska, 2; Loves Only You (JPN), 2; Essential Quality, 1; Lil Latigo, 1; Medina Spirit, 1.

Two-Year-Old Male  – Corniche, 214; Jack Christopher, 12; Modern Games (IRE), 2; Tiz the Bomb, 2; Frosty Storm, 1; Gunite, 1; Voter Abstentions, 3.

Two-Year-Old Filly – Echo Zulu, 233; Baytown Valleygirl, 1; Twilight Gleaming (IRE), 1.

Three-Year-Old Male – Essential Quality, 131; Medina Spirit, 84; Life Is Good, 18; Hurricane Nation, 1; Hot Rod Charlie, 1.

Three-Year-Old Filly – Malathaat, 227; Going Global (IRE), 3; Shantisara (IRE), 2, Bella Sofia, 1; Eida’s Storm, 1; Santa Barbara (IRE), 1.

Older Dirt Male – Knicks Go, 232; Maxfield, 2; Lil Latigo, 1.

Older Dirt Female – Letruska, 221; Marche Lorraine (JPN), 11; Damisela, 1; Gamine, 1; Monomoy Girl, 1.

Male Sprinter – Jackie’s Warrior, 110; Aloha West, 50; Flightline, 33; Golden Pal, 19; Dr. Schivel, 18; Extravagant Kid, 1; Life Is Good, 1; Voter Abstentions, 3.

Female Sprinter – Ce Ce, 136; Gamine, 97; Bella Sofia, 1; Voter Abstention, 1.

Male Turf Horse – Yibir (GB), 135; Domestic Spending (GB), 33; Space Blues (IRE), 33; Golden Pal, 14; Colonel Liam; 11; Smooth Like Strait, 6; Town Cruise, 1; Voter Abstentions, 2.

Female Turf Horse – Loves Only You (JPN), 136; War Like Goddess, 70; Santa Barbara (IRE), 10; Going Global (IRE) 6; Althiqa (GB), 5; Shantisara (IRE), 2; Con Lima, 1; My Sister Nat (FR), 1; Regal Glory, 1; Voter Abstentions, 3.

Steeplechase Horse – The Mean Queen (IRE), 210; Snap Decision, 2; Voter Abstentions, 23.

Owner – Godolphin LLC, 216; Klaravich Stables LLC, 7; End Zone Athletics Inc, 2; Korea Racing Authority, 2; Gary Barber, 1; Calumet Farm, 1;  LNJ Foxwoods, 1; St. George Stable  LLC, 1; Voter Abstentions, 4.

Breeder – Godolphin LLC, 205; Calumet Farm, 8; Angie Moore, 7; Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, 6; Gail Rice, 3; Nick Alexander, 1; Fred W. Hertrich III and John Fielding, 1; Spendthrift Farm LLC, 1; Voter Abstentions, 3.

Trainer – Brad Cox, 189; Steve Asmussen, 33; Charlie Appleby, 3; Bob Baffert, 2; Chad Brown, 2; Karl Broberg, 1; Michael McCarthy, 1; Todd Pletcher, 1. Voter Abstentions, 3.

Jockey  – Joel Rosario, 213; Irad Ortiz Jr., 17; Paco Lopez, 1; Flavien Prat, 1; Luis Saez, 1; Voter Abstentions, 2.

Apprentice Jockey – Jessica Pyfer, 156; John Hiraldo, 46; Charlie Marquez, 12; Voter Abstentions, 21.

Award of Merit – Ambassador Earle I. Mack received the Eclipse Award of Merit for lifetime achievement

Horseplayer of the Year – Justin Mustari was presented an Eclipse Award as the 2021 Horseplayer of the Year.

Media Eclipse Awards – Media Eclipse Awards also are given in the categories of photography, audio and multi-media Internet, news/enterprise writing, feature/commentary writing, television–feature, and television–live racing programming to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The 2021 Media Eclipse Awards winners, determined by a judges’ panel for each category and previously announced, are:

Feature/Commentary Writing – Sandra McKee, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred“A Jockey’s Life. Baltimore’s Adams Set Riding Record in 1930,” June 2021.

News/Enterprise Writing – Eric Mitchell, Bloodhorse.com, “Tracks Join Rallying Cry to End Cargo Shipping,” Aug. 24, 2021.

Television – Live Racing Programming – NBC Sports, “The Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Nov. 6, 2021 on NBC; Billy Matthews and Lindsay Schanzer, Producers.

Television – Features – NBC Sports, “Hot Rod Charlie,” April 30, 2021 on NBCSN; Sam Flood, Executive Producer; Rob Hyland, Coordinating Producer; Jack Felling, Coordinating Producer; David Picker, Senior Feature Producer, and Annie Koeblitz, Producer.

Audio/Multi-Media Internet – Attheraces.com, “Breeders’ Cup Magical Moments,” Oct. 25, 2021; Matthew Taylor, Director of New Media and Innovation; Peter Fornatale, writer and interviewer, and Naomi Tukker, interviewer.

Photography – Jeff Faughender, courier-journal.com (Louisville Courier-Journal); “Between the Shadows,” May 1, 2021.

The history of the Eclipse Award can be found HERE

DRF’s Jay Privman often one of the few voices of reason left in the sport had this to say in his article about the Eclipse Awards:

“The vote for Lil Latigo – a horse based in New Mexico and Arizona whose lone win in 27 starts last year came in a $3,500 claimer at Arizona Downs – was one of several odd, seemingly purposeful, choices made in a number of categories. Officials for the NTRA, which oversees the Eclipse Awards, on Thursday said the votes were cast by the same voter, a member of the NTWAB. The NTWAB has a policy of releasing the votes of its members after the Eclipse Awards are announced. The votes seemingly were for horses who made the most starts in that division, irrespective of accomplishment.”

Jay’s entire Eclipse article can be found HERE

It seems pretty obvious after about a five minute review of the votes what happened here. The Eclipse Awards as is much of the former Sport of Kings are not what they once were. The system in awarding them is seriously flawed and the sport and awards would be better served by having voters who actually bet and watch horse racing, and know what they are looking at, or understand their votes are a privilege.

If anyone cares, the rouge voter was Jeremy Balan. We think he made a statement, just not the statement he thinks he made.