Eclipse Awards: Of course, Flightline is '22 horse of the year

Eclipse Awards: Of course, Flightline is '22 horse of the year
Photo: National Thoroughbred Racing Association

Palm Beach, Fla.

He raced only three times last year. But he won them all. With a combined victory margin of 34 lengths, Breeders' Cup Classic winner Flightline was an easy choice to be named horse of the year Thursday night at the Eclipse Awards for 2022 at The Breakers Palm Beach.

"I hope it brings unity to the industry," trainer John Sadler said about the punctuation mark on the event. "It's great to see everybody here. Let's all push forward and bring the industry up, like it should be."

The other finalists were Life Is Good and Malathaat.

Flightline also was named the top older dirt male of 2022.

These were the totals of first-place votes:

Participation rate: 246 of 258, 95.3 percent.

Horse of the year. Flightline 239, Country Grammer 1, Life Is Good 1, Malathaat 1, abstentions 4.

2-year-old male. Forte 243, Cave Rock 2, Victoria Road 1.

2-year-old filly. Wonder Wheel 240, Hoosier Philly 3, Meditate 2, Julia Shining 1.

3-year-old male. Epicenter 155, Taiba 66, Modern Games 18, Cyberknife 4, Rich Strike 1, abstentions 2.

3-year-old filly. Nest 238, Tuesday 4, Echo Zulu 2, Secret Oath 1, abstention 1.

Older dirt male. Flightline 240, Country Grammer 1, Jackie’s Warrior 1, Life Is Good 1, Olympiad 1, abstentions 2.

Older dirt female. Malathaat 241, Clairière 2, Goodnight Olive 2, Letruska 1.

Male sprinter. Elite Power 108, Cody’s Wish 70, Jackie’s Warrior 62, Jack Christopher 4, Flightline 1, Golden Pal 1.

Female sprinter. Goodnight Olive 228, Caravel 12, Echo Zulu 2, Matareya 2, Kimari 1, Wicked Halo 1.

Male turf horse. Modern Games 189, Rebel’s Romance 50, Nations Pride 2, Casa Creed 1, Classic Causeway 1, Golden Pal 1, Gufo 1, Shirl’s Speight 1.

Female turf horse. Regal Glory 96, In Italian 51, War Like Goddess 47, Tuesday 40, Caravel 6, Bleecker Street 3, Gina Romantica 1, Spendarella 1, abstention 1.          

Steeplechase horse. Hewick 113, Snap Decision 88, Down Royal 15, Howyabud 1, abstentions 29.

Owner. Godolphin 195; Peter Brant 20; Hronis Racing, Sienna Farm, Summer Wind Equine, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing 11, Klaravich Stables 6, Repole Stable 5, End Zone Athletics, 2; Charles Fipke, 1; Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, 1; Winchell Thoroughbreds, 1; Voter Abstentions, 4. 

Breeder. Godolphin 182, Summer Wind Equine 30, Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings 16, Calumet Farm 11, Ashview Farm and Colts Neck Stables 4, abstentions 3.  

Trainer. Todd Pletcher 108, Chad Brown 95, John Sadler 16, Steve Asmussen 12, Bill Mott 6, Brad Cox 4, Mark Casse 1, Phil D’Amato 1, abstentions 3. 

Jockey. Irad Ortiz Jr. 218, Flavien Prat 24, Jose Ortiz 1, Joel Rosario 1, Luis Saez 1, abstention 1.            

Apprentice jockey. Jose Antonio Gomez 112, Vicente Del-Cid 91, Jeiron Barbosa 18, Kylee Jordan 4, Marshall Mendez 1, Madeline Rowland 1, abstentions 19.

Eclipse Awards voting was conducted by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Daily Racing Form. The Eclipse Awards ceremony is produced by the NTRA.

Following was the live blog chronicling the 52nd annual awards.

7:40 p.m. The victory by Cody's Wish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile was honored as the moment of the year. Teenager Cody Dorman, for whom the winner was named, provided a video message of thanks for the honor. Dorman suffers from Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. On a Make-a-Wish tour of Godolphin's Gainsborough Farm, Dorman bonded with Cody's Wish. He was trackside for the Breeders' Cup victory.

7:44 p.m. Flightline was named the older male dirt champion. Life Is Good and Olympiad were the other finalists. Co-owner Kosta Hronis accepted the award.

7:46 p.m. Malathaat, who scored a thrilling victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, was crowned the champion older dirt female. Clairiere and Goodnight Olive were other finalists. Shadwell Farm executive Jonny Smyth accepted the award.

7:53 p.m. Media Eclipse Awards winners Wendy Wooley, Tom Law, NBC Sports, Horse Racing Radio Network and Tim Layden were recognized in a recorded video feature with the winners, who were announced in advance, offering their gratitude.

7:55 p.m. The 7-year-old Hewick, who was bred in Ireland, was honored as the best steeplechase horse of 2022. Trainer Shark Hanlon accepted the trophy. Down Royal and Snap Decision were the other finalists.

7:59 p.m. Forte, who won 4 of 5 starts including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was honored as the top 2-year-old male. Owner Mike Repole spoke on behalf of the winners. The other finalists were Cave Rock and Victoria Road.

"We went to the sales, and this team picked out two Violence colts," Repole said. "One for $1 million and one for $100,000. The team did such a good job the $100,000 became Forte. The $1 million horse is in Central Park now."

8:03 p.m. Wonder Wheel, who went 4-for-5 in 2022 with a three-length win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, was voted the top 2-year-old filly. D.J. Stable general manager Jonathan Green accepted the award. The other finalists were Leave No Trace and Meditate.

8:07 p.m. Godolphin was named the best owner for the sixth time. Bloodstock director Michael Banahan accepted both the breeder and owner trophies. Peter Brant and Klaravich Stables also were finalists.

8:11 p.m. Make it back-to-back victories for Godolphin. Minutes after being named the champion owner, it also was announced as the top breeder of 2022. Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and Summer Wind Equine were the other finalists. Godolphin has doubled as the champion owner and breeder the last two years.

8:13 p.m. The in-memoriam video was introduced by Britney Eurton with a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

8:19 p.m. For the fourth time, Irad Ortiz Jr. was voted the champion jockey. He concluded his thank yous by saying, "Hopefully, I'm back here again." Flavien Prat and Joel Rosario were the other finalists.

8:22 p.m. José Antonio Gómez was announced as the champion apprentice jockey over fellow finalists Jeirón Barbosa and Vicente Del-Cid. Gómez reminded the audience that he came back from an injury to complete his successful season. "It's not about how you start," he said. "It's about how you finish."

8:26 p.m. Todd Pletcher, who trained Grade 1 winners Malathaat, Forte, Nest, Life Is Good and Mo Donegal, won his record eighth Eclipse Award as the top trainer. Steve Asmussen and Chad Brown also were finalists.

"In 2022 our team accomplished something I thought was impossible," Pletcher said. "On June 11, after watching his horses in his silks finish first and second in the Belmont Stakes, we momentarily left Mike Repole speechless."

8:30 p.m. Nest, a three-time Grade 1 victor last year, was voted the top 3-year-old filly. Owners Mike Repole and Aron Wellman accepted the award. The other finalists were Secret Oath and Tuesday.

8:39 p.m. Jay Privman, who retired last fall from Daily Racing Form, was honored with a special award for his nearly four decades of turf writing.

8:45 p.m. Epicenter emerged in what may have been the most contentious category to win the championship in the 3-year-old male division. Owner Ron Winchell accepted the award, which was won over the other finalists Modern Games and Taiba.

8:48 p.m. David Harrison, the winner of the 2022 National Horseplayers Championship, was formally honored with the Eclipse Award for the champion horseplayer.

8:53 p.m. Regal Glory was announced as the top female turf horse of 2022. Owner Peter Brant collected the trophy. The other finalists were In Italian and War Like Goddess.

8:57 p.m. Breeders' Cup Mile winner Modern Games, the England-based winner of three Group and Grade 1 races in 2022, was named the top male turf horse. Godolphin homebreds comprised all the finalists, including Nations Pride, and Rebel’s Romance. Godolphin USA chief operating officer Dan Pride collected the award.

9:01 p.m. Goodnight Olive, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, was voted the champion female sprinter. Flanked by a big group of fellow owners and families, lead partner Steve Laymon accepted the honor. Caravel and Echo Zulu also were finalists.

9:05 p.m. Elite Power, who finished first in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, was crowned the top male sprinter of 2022. Juddmonte stallion manager Scott Walker collected the trophy. Cody’s Wish and Jackie’s Warrior were the other finalists.

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