LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, February 19, 2015) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters and Daily Racing Form today announced rules modifications and name changes in two Eclipse Awards categories. The Older Male category has been renamed Older Dirt Male and the Older Female category has been renamed Older Dirt Female.

Beginning with voting on the 2015 Eclipse Awards at the end of this year, criteria for the Older Dirt Male category, for horses 4-years old and older, will be limited to performances on dirt and main track surfaces in North American races, and the criteria for the Older Dirt Female category, for fillies and mares 4-years old and older, will also be limited to performances on dirt and main track surfaces.

In previous years, older male turf horses were eligible to win both the Champion Turf Horse honor and Champion Older Horse, and older female turf horses were eligible to win Champion Female Turf Horse and the Older Female Eclipse Awards.

“There has been a growing consensus among members of the three voting organizations to more clearly define the older horse categories in determining male and female champions on dirt and turf,” said Keith Chamblin, Senior Vice President of the NTRA and a member of the Eclipse Awards steering committee. “Older male and female turf horses will continue to compete for the turf championships in their gender divisions, while the older male and female dirt horses will compete strictly against horses on the dirt or main track surfaces in their respective divisions. All are eligible for the Horse of the Year category. ”

Races conducted on synthetic surfaces during the year will be considered as main track races in both Older Dirt Male and Older Dirt Female categories.

The Eclipse Awards honor excellence in Thoroughbred racing in 17 human and equine categories. The NTRA, the NTWAB and DRF comprise the three voting organizations of the Eclipse Awards.

The 17 equine and human categories for 2015 are as follows:  2-year-old Male, 2-year-old Filly, 3-year-old Male, 3-year-old Filly, Older Dirt Male, Older Dirt Female, Male Sprinter, Female Sprinter, Male Turf Horse, Female Turf Horse, Steeplechase Horse, Horse of the Year; Owner, Breeder, Trainer, Apprentice Jockey and Jockey.

About The Eclipse Awards

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. The Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories. Those awards are voted by NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB). Eclipse Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. An Eclipse Award is also presented to the Handicapper of the Year.

About the NTRA

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, NTRA.com, the Eclipse Awards, the National Handicapping Championship, NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program, and HORSE PAC, a federal political action committee. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).