Horse Of The Year, Eclipse Award Finalists Announced

by | 01.05.2017 | 11:40am

Led by Horse of the Year candidates Arrogate, California Chrome, and Songbird, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) today announced the finalists for the 2016 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing. Winners in 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 46th annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders' Cup and The Stronach Group on Saturday evening, January 21, at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Of the 264 eligible voters representing the NTRA, the NTWAB and Daily Racing Form, 248 (93.94%) took part in this year's voting. Finalists were determined in each category by voters' top three selections, using a 10-5-1 point basis. Eclipse Award winners are determined solely by first place votes.

The 2016 Eclipse Awards finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

Horse of the Year: Arrogate, California Chrome, Songbird

Two-Year-Old Male: Classic Empire, Not This Time, Practical Joke

Two-Year-Old Filly: Champagne Room, Lady Aurelia, New Money Honey

Three-Year-Old Male: Arrogate, Exaggerator, Nyquist

Three-Year-Old Filly: Cathryn Sophia, Queen's Trust, Songbird

Older Dirt Male: California Chrome, Frosted, Lord Nelson

Older Dirt Female: Beholder, Cavorting, Stellar Wind

Male Sprinter: A.P. Indian, Drefong, Lord Nelson

Female Sprinter: Finest City, Haveyougoneaway, Paulassilverlining

Male Turf Horse: Flintshire, Highland Reel, Tourist

Female Turf Horse: Lady Eli, Miss Temple City, Tepin

Steeplechase Horse: Rawnaq, Scorpiancer, Top Striker

Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Inc., Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey, Spendthrift Farm LLC

Breeder: Clearsky Farms, Darley, WinStar Farm, LLC

Trainer: Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Mark Casse

Jockey: Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, Mike Smith

Apprentice Jockey: Kevin Gomez, Lane Luzzi, Luis Ocasio

In addition to honoring the 17 winners in the horse and human categories, Andrew Beyer, journalist, author and creator of the Beyer Speed Figures, and Steven Crist, racing writer and publisher, will both receive the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of achievement in the Thoroughbred industry. Paul Matties will receive an Eclipse Award as the 2016 Horseplayer of the Year. Members of the media will be honored for outstanding coverage in six categories.

  • nodouble

    Mark Casse trainer of the year…no discussion.

    • Marilyn Shively

      absolutely agree

    • SPA

      No discussion?? Wow, Chad Brown in half as many starts had $5 million more in earnings. He had 16 more graded stakes wins than Casse and was in the money with 53% of his graded stakes starters. Casse had a very good year, Brown had a great year.

      • Jockey63

        I agree with you on this as I feel that Chad brown should win.

  • MaiyaDay

    My picks:

    Horse of the Year: California Chrome
    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
    Older Dirt Female: Beholder
    Male Sprinter: A.P. Indian
    Female Sprinter: Paulassilverlining
    Male Turf Horse: Highland Reel
    Female Turf Horse: Tepin
    Trainer: Mark Casse

    • Poweshow

      Only changes I would make are:

      Male Sprinter: Lord Nelson
      Male Turf: Flintshire
      Trainer: Chad Brown
      and you left off jockey which I would go: Jose Ortiz

      • Nayrod

        I have a feeling Javier C will win again. He’s smokin hot right now.. (winnings/earning) lol.

      • Jockey63

        Male sprinter: A.P. Indian and jockey : Castellano

      • john

        NO way… AP Indian all the way!

    • Mary Jo Forrest

      Agreed except I pick Flintshire.

    • Ida Lee

      You picked a great group …. I agree with you in all but maybe one…Male Turf Horse…I pick Tourist …. for sentimental reasons… and Female Turf Horse…I would love to give it to Lady Eli, also for sentimental reasons, but how can the Eclipse not go to the Turf Queen herself….Tepin ???

    • Molly Julia

      May – Looks Like All Your Picks Are Great – Except For Chad Brown In A Hand Ride?

  • SPA

    Complete joke that Klaravich Stables are not a finalist for owner of the year.

  • Ida Lee

    My mind is exploding … I hate to have to choose among so many excellent competitors in each category. I’m passing on this for a while… I do love the Eclipse Awards though…they’re great fun to watch….My favorite was in 2009 when Rachel won HOTY instead of Zenyatta and Jerry Moss turned to stone right before our eyes when Rachel’s name was called…I can’t believe we have to choose among the likes of Chrome, Songbird and Arrogate for HOTY …. !!!!

    • Gflores007

      Great year for horses!

    • MMZ

      Jerry Moss turning to stone, as you call it, was your idea of fun? That’s most peculiar. Zenyatta should have won Horse of the Year that year, of course.
      Were you also delighted the next year when Seth Hancock’s face turned to stone when Zenyatta’s name was (rightfully) called?

      • Ida Lee

        You do know I’m referring to the Eclipse Awards right? … an award show for horses ? Lighten up MMZ ….I’ll let you know when we start commenting on the meaning of life or a cure for cancer OK ? …. Now as to Rachel and Zenyatta … it wasn’t even close … Rachel won in ’09 and she deserved it … Zenyatta won in ’10 and yes …. she should have won ….If you’re interested in the specifics of why Rachel got the award in ’09, I can tell you but I won’t …. look it up ….

  • Cherie

    When will we be able to vote for a horse and/or trainer that does NOT use steroids? Hmmm?

    • Nayrod

      Keep waiting! lol Well, if Art was elected, that would be the one.

      • Always Curious

        Art should have been nominated!

        • MMZ

          Why would Art be nominated? He has one good horse.

      • Cherie

        Problem is…these horses and trainers, including the favorites, give steroids a few hours after the race. Then in 30 days they don’t test. Horses, including my own, should be tested anytime through the month.

      • Mr J

        Didn’t he get suspended before. I read it somewhere

      • Mr J

        Art has had 8 violations and a 10 day suspension reduced from 30. Liar,liar pants on fire!

    • Always Curious

      Art is a member of the Water, Hay Oats Alliance if I remember correctly. He doesn’t use Salix anymore either. Art is clean and he should be nominated for Trainer of the year.

      • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

        Nothing against Art Sherman, whom I admire, but you are woefully misinformed when you say “He doesn’t use Salix anymore either.” Saiix = lasix, and CC ran on lasix in all of his races except those which took place in Dubai where it is not allowed.

      • Mr J

        Did he join on Jan 1,2017?

    • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

      So by implication you are suggesting that every nominated horse has been given steroids? Care to back up that claim with some evidence?

      • Cherie

        It’s coming. All in due time. Test each horse one week out from their race.

        • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

          Supposition is not evidence.

          It is reckless to imply that all trainers are cheating and that all nominated horses have been given steroids. That said, I’m certainly in favor of more out-of-competition testing.

          • Cherie

            Did not say all. But all should be tested and not just after the race.

      • Michael Castellano

        Every seasoned gambler knows there are more than a few cheats in the business. The failure to adequately police the industry creates even more momentum in that direction. It taints every one in the industry, whether they are cheating or not. Rather than demand proof of corruption, we should demand that integrity be restored to racing. The really big gambling money comes from Asia. We will not see much of those dollars as long as our racing is so poorly policed.


    California Chrome should be the winner of both of the awards he is nominated for. True Arrogate beat him in the Classic, but Chrome has shown more during the 2016 year than Arrogate. Also, I would have to think that money earned should be the greatest factor in this case. As for trainer of the year, any of the other two should walk away with that award. We all know what time Baffert shows up for work, his asst. should win it before Bob.

    • Jockey63

      I think that you are correct.

    • Arrogate

      I doubt you know what time anyone shows up for work. And as long as it “works” it doesn’t matter.

      • Charles Smith

        I agree Baffert should win the Eclipse this year, but since Baffert”s health issue in Dubai, Jimmy Barnes has had increased responsibilities in the Baffert barn. Baffert is still calling the signals, regardless of what time he gets to work.

    • Mr J

      What a stupid post about Baffert showing up for work. Do you even work,Anton ?

  • Charles Smith

    Chrome was beaten fair and square by Arrogate in the BCC, but based on his body of work for the 2016 campaign, CC is HOY. Speaking frankly, as highly as I think of California Chrome, seems to me he has nothing coming against Arrogate in the Pegasus World Cup. Chrome is still a wonder horse, and I think he will be a very successful stallion.

  • Tiznowbaby

    If Songbird is not the unanimous 3YO filly choice, I’m going to be deeply annoyed. I’m sure some person voted for Frosted for older dirt male, so there’s no point in hoping that’s unanimous for Chrome.

  • john

    Beholder should have made horse of the year choice with her win over Songbird in BC Distaff,,,,

  • Always Curious

    Art should have been nominated! No one has accomplished what he did for CC. The elite trainers with big stables did not do what Art accomplished with this horse. It’s more than the number of horses trained, or who then has the most stakes wins. He did a better job with this one horse than all the other trainers. He has kept CC in top physical condition, in training and racing all year long, beginning with that big win in Dubai. What a feat! Did anyone else keep just 1 horse in shape and race like he did with CC? And he is 80 years old. What a shame.

    • SPA

      Nobody else had a California Chrome in their barn either. Art is an excellent horsemen but to say the elite trainers with big stables did not do what Art did is more of an endorsement for California Chrome as HOY than anything else.

    • Gflores007

      Asleep at the wheel or paid off.

    • Mr. Blues

      And rubber necking..Art all the way

  • Nucky Thompson

    I am hoping that the 16 eligible voters who failed to vote have this privilege withdrawn next year. Also find it surprising that Lady Eli gets the nod over Found in the Female Turf Horse category. Then again Found only ran against males and won the most prestigious turf race in the World last year.

    • Judoon

      Why would Found be strongly considered? These are not international awards. She ran only one race in the US in 2016, finishing third. That’s hardly an Eclipse-winning resume. In three US starts, Lady Eli won a GI and was second twice (once in a BC race). She won’t win the Eclipse, but at least she won in this country.

      • Nucky Thompson

        So on that basis California Chrome’s Dubai World Cup win and Tepin’s Royal Ascot win should not be taken into account either. Fair enough. How then do you justify Lady Aurelia’s nomination ? Her only win in the US was a MSW at Keeneland !

    • Virginia Lawler

      I, too, believe that any eligible voter who failed to vote should have that high privilege withdrawn next year

  • J


    • Gflores007

      American Pharoah won for 2015. He is all I can remember. :)

      • Ida Lee

        I remember going back to Curlin 07 & 08, Rachel 09, Zenyatta 10, Havre de Grace 11, Wise Dan 12 & 13, Chrome 14 and Pharoah 15. It’s hard to keep track but the last 10 years have been easy for me to remember since all the winners are my favorite all-time TBs.

  • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    The biggest thing for me is that Beyer and Crist are getting their due.

    Also, Drefong was fun to watch
    Cathryn Sophia had a day in the sun, but it will be Songbird who wins
    Don’t know much about Queen’s Trust

    Lastly, Songbird also has a good a chance as any to take home the Horse of the Year
    I would be down with that.

  • MMZ

    Arrogate should be Horse of the Year. He won the Travers in track record time and by 13-1/2 lengths, no less! He beat California Chrome rather handily. He won two grade 1’s from two attempts. There you have it!
    California Chrome won two Grade 2’s – San Pasqual and San Diego – and two Grade 1’s – the Pacific Classic and the Awesome Again. He won in Dubai, but that’s not within the borders of the USA, so although it’s a great accomplishment it shouldn’t come into consideration for an award given for American performances.

    Arrogate is your Horse of the Year.

    • Molly Julia

      mmz – Victor Espinoza Made Arrogate Win The Race?

  • Molly Julia

    California Chrome – 2016 Horse Of The Year – Victor Espinoza Gets A Special Award For Looking Back?

  • Chloe

    I think a filly should win horse of the year so I am picking songbird because you need to look at her too and see on what she has done she tried her best to beat beholder and also songbird had a heck of a year. I know chrome had one to but you really need to also look at the other horses except chrome and arrogate

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