HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Eclipse Awards...Part Two

I know I can ramble on and on, but for something to take me two blogs to cover goes to show just how complicated a certain a matter has become. This year’s Eclipse Awards are of that complicated nature, which is why I decided to split what would be a blog of epically long proportions into two separate pieces. Earlier this week I gave you the first half of my thoughts on the year end awards and now, after long endless hours of contemplation, I give you Eclipse Awards … Part Two.

Champion Sprinter:
Earlier this year this award seem to be quite clear, only having two or three main contenders, however, now it has become like most of the others…blurry. Your top three nominees will probably be Caleb’s Posse, Amazombie, and Trappe Shot, but that is far from a certainty. While both Amazombie and Trappe Shot have been models of consistency I can’t help but think this should go to Caleb's Posse. He is unbeaten in sprints, won the ONLY grade one for three year old sprinters, beating Flashpoint and Uncle Mo, two very fast brilliant colts. His other Grade one came in the Dirt Mile, where he beat Shackleford, The Factor, and Trappe Shot himself. His list of fallen foes is indeed impressive, and lends credence to his claim on Champion Sprinter.

Champion Female Sprinter:
The division is completely muddled after the Breeders Cup. Turbulent Descent looked to be the big horse going in, and would be a huge choice to win the award had she won this award, but that is not the case, as she faded badly in the stretch. She still may, and probably will get the title, but Dead Heat Debates thinks Hilda’s Passion should take it. She did lose three, but two of those were seconds, one was coming off a layoff, the other a close second to Churchill specialist Sassy Image.  Other than that she was brilliant in winning the Inside Information, Vagrancy, and Ballerina. Yes, her season was cut short by a career ending injury, but up to that point there was no doubt about it. Hilda’s Passion was the fastest filly sprinter running.

Champion Turf F/M:
In a relatively mediocre bunch, only two fillies rise to the top of the division, Stacelita and Winter Memories. The grey blur has a recorded four wins in six starts, but only has one grade one to her credit. Another negative, all her wins, while in graded stakes, were against only three-year-olds. This fact gives the edge to her older rival Stacelita. In four American starts she has recorded two grade one wins and ran third against colts in the United Nations. Her lone bomb was in the Breeders Cup, not a good place to throw a cluncker, but she had a brutal trip and can be forgiven. When it comes right down to it, she may have only four American starts with only two wins, but Stacelita showed in those two wins that she is your Champion Turf Mare.

Champion Older Female:
While many would like to believe this award will be another smack down between Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, there really is no doubt about it, Havre de Grace will be your Champion by a landslide. She has two losses, one against males, and one to Blind Luck. However, her score against that rival is 1-1 this year, so in a neutral stance, the advantage goes to the horse with the best year and that was clearly Havre de Grace.

Champion Older Male:
Can I wait until after the Clark to make my decision here? This division has no leader at all. One could make a strong case for Tizway who has two Grade ones, one in the Met Mile and the other in the Whitney, but what about Game on Dude? The horse only won the Big Cap and the Goodwood, while running second in the Hollywood Gold Cup and Breeders Cup Classic. Well if you think he’s the one then you can’t forget Acclamation, who blew his doors off in the Pacific Classic, before winning two grade ones on turf. And we can’t leave out Flat Out, who was runner up in the Whintey and Woodward, won the Suburban and Jockey Club Gold Cup. As of now I would say it’s between Tizway and Game on Dude, with my first choice being Game on Dude. However, that is subject to change since the Clark may attract the Dude, Flat Out, and Classic winner Drosselmeyer. If any of those three take home the prize that day it will move them into the driver’s seat.

Now, do not crucify me, but I’m going to make you all wait before I reveal my Horse of the Year. One I like the suspense it builds and most importantly I still have not decided yet. However, here are your final Eclipse predictions, now have at it.


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Older Comments about Eclipse Awards...Part Two...

Mike what exactly are we supposed to consider mile races? They aren't taken seriously as routes and there is no award for best miler. People look at them more like sprints and they should. Is it an elongated sprint yes it is, however it is a sprint. It is not middle distance, it's not a long distance it is a sprint.
Amazombie, by finishing the year with big wins in the Ancient Title and BC Sprint is a no brainer for the Sprint Champion Eclipse. It won't even be close. There's no way 7F and 8F wins will be rated higher than those two wins at the "traditional" sprint distance of 6F. Caling Flashpoint "brilliant" is also a bit of a stretch, I think.
annmatt, HDG could get 10f plenty fine, and I'm sorry, BL was not even close to a shoe in after her last race, and would not have been because of her two losses prior. FO who won at 10f finished behind HDG in the Classic, and I heard people just yelling about the fact that with one extra furlong he would catch did that work? HDG does not seem to run her best over Churchill. She did not have an overly impressive work over the track this year and still finished well. Trying to say what could have been will drive anyone mad. BL is a great horse, but did not have it this season plain and simple. HDG should not get a minus becase her two losses to BL at 10f were by a neck and a whisker. You don't take off because she beat her at a shorter distance. If you do that then you might as well take off BL for beating her at a distance longer than 9f. The score was 1-1, even. It goes to the horse who did the most, Grace.
It really is a shame that Blind Luck wasn't able to complete the season. She was a shoe-in to win the Ladies' Classic, and with HdG's 4th in the Classic, I believe BL would have been Older Female and with no outstanding male, she had a shot at HOY. Her spectacular career, unfortunately, spanned more than this year....her amazing feat of 13-14 races in 15 months, 36,000 miles of travel to different tracks and distances, it will be a long time before any horse -- male or female -- top that! She competed at nine different racetracks in seven states at distances from 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. BTW, I don't think it's simply a matter of the BL / HdG rivalry being 1 for 1 this year. Blind Luck won at the Classic distance of 1 1/4 mi - twice - something that HdG has never been able to do. HdG's Woodward against the males was at the shorter distance, but she is given pts for taking on the males, I get that. Not disputing that HdG is a class filly, but, it really is a shame Blind Luck was not in the final runup to the end of year honors. She was a class act, to be sure.
Since there is no clear cut favorite for Champion Older Male, I think the award should be a dead heat between 2 or 3 horses. Or perhaps since every horse beat every horse at one time of the year, the crown should be given to the BC Classic winner.......after all he did beat everyone except Tizway.....just give it to Drosselmeyer!
I would love to see Drosselmeyer blow the doors off in the Clark. It would make the race for HOY more interesting
steve then what is it? It's not a route. If you want it to be a seperate division then they should make one for it. If not then it should be viewed as a sprint.
  • stevebiscuit · If a mile is a sprint, then Goldikova should have been in the running for champion female sprinter from 2008-2010. I've been against the addition of BC races for this very reason. I see the Dirt Mile as a simple escape route for horses who can't handle the pace pressure of a REAL sprint, and can't carry their speed the Classic distance. The race shouldn't even exist, but since it does there should be a separate division. Either that or they should eliminate a few of these new BC races before the fields become any more watered down. · 2198 days ago
I'd say hdg. Is h.o.y. As of today
Last time I checked, Caleb's Posse won the BC Dirt Mile which, though it's one turn, isn't a sprint. Amazombie is clearly champion sprinter. If Game On Dude wins the Clark, the HOTY race is between he and Acclamation alone. Havre De Grace would be HOTY to me had she shown that she belonged with the best older males. Kudos to her connections for running in the Classic, but her non-threatening 4th place finish confirmed my belief that the Ladies Classic was where she truly belonged.
I don't know about Caleb's Posse for Champion sprinter, I guess it depends if you consider a one turn mile a sprint. If you just count the traditional 6-7 furlong or shorter races as sprints, then I think Amazombie is the Champion.
What about Never Retreat in the Female Turf division (see Adam's article) and Musical Romance in the Female Sprint division?

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track,, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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