The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters announced the finalists for the 2013 Eclipse Awards today, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing. Winners will be announced at the Eclipse Awards dinner on January 18 at Gulfstream Park.
From America’s Best Racing, the nominees are…
Horse of the Year: Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge, Wise Dan Wise Dan won HOTY last year, and will probably repeat again. He was beaten once this year (off-the-turf at Keeneland), but his victories were dominating, including defending his title in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. This year, that should be enough to win again. Mucho Macho Man won the BC Classic, but otherwise has been a bit inconsistent. Will Take Charge has had an excellent end to the 2013 racing year, but doesn’t have quite enough record to beat out Wise Dan for Horse of the Year.
Three-Year-Old Male: Orb, Palace Malice, Will Take Charge. Will Take Charge’s strong finish this fall, including second in the BC Classic, and a win against older horses in the Grade I Clark Handicap, should make him the favorite for 3-year-old Male.
Female Sprinter: Dance to Bristol, Groupie Doll, Mizdirection Mizdirection won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, while Groupie Doll won the Filly & Mare Sprint on dirt. Both repeat BC victories, but I’ll give the edge to Groupie Doll, despite her fourth place finish in the Cigar Mile.
Steeplechase Horse: Divine Fortune, Gustavian, Italian Wedding
Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Midwest Thoroughbreds, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey I think this one’s a no-brainer. The Ramseys have won just about everywhere this year with their herd of Kittens, an Eclipse Award would just be icing on the cake.
Jockey: Javier Castellano, Joel Rosario, Gary Stevens Joel Rosario had an outstanding spring season, when seemingly every horse he touched turned to gold. But Gary Stevens made a miraculous story-book comeback…will that sway the hearts of voters? All three jockeys are deserving of the win, you could make a case for any of them.
Apprentice Jockey: Victor Carrasco, Manuel Franco, Edgard Zayas
In addition to honoring the 17 winners in the horse and human categories, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will receive the Eclipse Award of Merit and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance will be recognized with an Eclipse Special Award.