The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced this evening that California Chrome, winner of the Dubai World Cup and the TVG Pacific Classic, and North America’s all-time leading money earning Thoroughbred, was voted as Horse of the Year, an honor which he also won in 2014, at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
The Eclipse Awards, honoring excellence in North American Thoroughbred racing, presented by The Stronach Group, Daily Racing Form and the Breeders’ Cup, are voted on by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB).
California Chrome becomes the first two-time Horse of the Year to win the honor in non-consecutive years since John Henry achieved it in 1981 and 1984. Owned by California Chrome LLC of Perry Martin and Taylor Made Farm, and trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome received 202 first-place votes for Horse of the Year. Juddmonte Farms’ 3-year-old Arrogate, who was named Outstanding 3-year-old Male, finished second with 40 votes; Fox Hill Farms’ 3-year-old filly Songbird finished third with five votes and Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Highland Reel (IRE), received one vote. Songbird was voted the unanimous winner of the 3-Year-Old Filly Eclipse Award earlier this evening.
California Chrome, who was also named the unanimous winner of the Older Dirt Male award, won 7 of 8 starts in 2016, including dominant victories in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and the TVG Pacific Classic, and propelled him to become the all-time leading North American money earner with $14,502,650.
Arrogate was spectacular in securing the 3-year-old title under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. A son of former 2-year-old champion Unbridled’s Song, Arrogate won the Travers Stakes by 13 ½ lengths, in 1:59.36, the fastest time in the 147-year history of the race. Eight weeks later he wore down California Chrome to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Arrogate is the seventh Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old trained by Baffert.
Songbird, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, won seven of eight starts last year on her way to Champion 3-Year-Old Filly title. Among her wins were grade one victories in the Santa Anita Oaks, the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Cotillion Stakes. She lost the only race of her career when defeated a nose to the champion Older Dirt Female winner Beholder in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
The complete list of 2016 Eclipse Awards winners and vote totals appears below:
(Horse ages in parentheses where applicable; Country codes indicate a foreign breeding designation)
Two-Year-Old Male: Classic Empire
Two-Year-Old Filly: Champagne Room
Three-Year-Old Male: Arrogate
Three-Year-Old Filly: Songbird
Older Dirt Male: California Chrome (5)
Older Dirt Female: Beholder (6)
Male Sprinter: Drefong (3)
Female Sprinter: Finest City (4)
Male Turf Horse: Flintshire (GB) (6)
Female Turf Horse: Tepin (5)
Steeplechase Horse: Rawnaq (IRE) (9)
Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Inc.
Breeder: WinStar Farm LLC
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Apprentice Jockey: Luis Ocasio
Trainer: Chad Brown
The Eclipse Awards
Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon the Thoroughbred horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective divisions. 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.
In voting that concluded January 3, 2017, Eclipse Awards voters cast their ballots to rank the top three horses and individuals in each Championship division on a 10-5-1 point system basis. This voting established the top three finalists in each division, whose names were released on Jan. 5, 2012. The tallies below represent only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities, NTRA, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters. The votes were tabulated and certified by Strothman and Company.
Voter participation rate: 248/264= 93.94%
Horse of the Year (Name, First-Place Votes)
California Chrome, 202; Arrogate, 40; Songbird, 5; Highland Reel, 1.
Classic Empire, 248.
Champagne Room, 202; New Money Honey, 21; Lady Aurelia, 11; Pretty City Dancer, 5; Shane’s Girlfriend, 3; Abel Tasman, 2; Miss Sky Warrior, 2; Victory to Victory, 1; Voter Abstentions, 1.
Arrogate, 243; Exaggerator, 2; Nyquist, 2; Gun Runner, 1.
Older Dirt Male
California Chrome, 248.
Older Dirt Female
Beholder, 246; Stellar Wind, 2.
Drefong, 199; Lord Nelson, 29; A.P. Indian, 20.
Finest City, 185; Haveyougoneaway, 20; Paulassilverlining, 13; Taris, 12; Carina Mia, 11; Constellation, 2; Lightstream, 1; Songbird, 1. Voter Abstentions, 3.
Male Turf Horse
Flintshire (GB), 137; Highland Reel (IRE), 76; Tourist, 32; Da Big Hoss, 1. Voter Abstentions, 2.
Female Turf Horse
Tepin, 225; Found (IRE), 11; Queen’s Trust (GB), 7; Lady Eli, 2; Miss Temple City, 2; Catch a Glimpse, 1.
Rawnaq (IRE), 171; Top Striker, 31; Special Skills, 2; Bob Le Beau (IRE), 1; Portrade (IRE), 1. Voter Abstentions, 42.
Juddmonte Farms, Inc., 134; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 45; Klaravich Stables, Inc., and William Lawrence, 17; Spendthrift Farm, LLC, 17; California Chrome, LLC, 16; Reddam Racing LLC, 4; Fox Hill Farms, Inc. 3; John Oxley, 3; WinStar Farm, 2; End Zone Athletics, 1 Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., 1. Voter Abstentions, 5.
WinStar Farm, LLC; 164; Clearsky Farms, 62; Juddmonte Farms, Ltd., 4; Darley, 3; Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, 3; Adena Springs, 2; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 1; Machmer Hall, 1. Voter Abstentions, 8.
Chad Brown, 208; Bob Baffert, 21, Mark Casse, 11; Art Sherman, 3; Steve Asmussen, 2; Karl Broberg, 1; Todd Pletcher, 1. Voter Abstention, 1.
Javier Castellano, 146; Mike Smith, 44; Jose Ortiz, 41; Florent Geroux,12; Irad Ortiz, Jr., 2; Julien Leparoux, 1. Voter Abstentions, 2.
Luis Ocasio, 182; Lane Luzzi, 34; Eric Cancel, 1; Ashley Castrenze, 1. Voter Abstentions, 30.
Award of Merit
The recipients of the Award of Merit, voted on by a panel of representatives from the three presenting organizations and previously announced, are Andrew Beyer and Steven Crist. The Award of Merit is presented to honor outstanding lifetime achievement in the Thoroughbred industry.
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, national television–feature and national television–live racing programming to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The 2016 Media Eclipse Awards winners, determined by a judges’ panel for each category and previously announced, are:
Live Racing Programming – NBC Sports – “2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Billy Matthews, producer; November 5, 2016.
Television Features – ESPN – E:60; “Barnyard Buddies,”. Megan Anderson, Heather Lombardo, Tonya Malinowski and Mike Johns, producers; May 3, 2016.
Audio/Multi-Media and Internet – Daily Racing Form – “Time Bandits,” Jay Hovdey (writer), Barbara Livingston (photographer) and Molly McGill (videographer); June 6, 2016.
Writing – News/Enterprise – Natalie Voss “’Something’s Wrong With My Brain’ – The Lurking Danger of Concussions for Jockeys,” Paulick Report. December 30, 2015.
Writing – Feature/Commentary – John Scheinman “Andrew Beyer: Rebel with a Cause,” Paulick Report. November 12, 2016
Photography – Tod Marks – “George & John Sloan Hurdle,” Chronicle of the Horse, Untacked; May 14, 2016.