Less than two weeks before he begins a defense of his title, Invasor was named horse of the year for 2006 at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner held Monday night at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
A winner of four of five starts last year for Shadwell Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Invasor wrapped up the honor with a win over Bernardini and Lava Man in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. Invasor was also voted top older male and was the third consecutive Breeders' Cup Classic winner -- joining Saint Liam and Ghostzapper -- to be named horse of the year.
Invasor, whose only loss in nine career starts came against the unbeaten Discreet Cat in the United Arab Emirates Derby last March 25 in Dubai, is scheduled to begin his 5-year-old campaign in the $500,000 Donn Handicap on Feb. 3 at Gulfstream Park.
The first Argentine-bred to win horse of the year, Invasor was one of six Eclipse winners -- along with Street Sense, Dreaming Of Anna, Thor's Echo, Miesque's Approval and Ouija Board -- who were successful in the Breeders' Cup.
Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, were given a special Eclipse Award along with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at New Bolton Center for "their achievements and contribution to the sport of thoroughbred racing." The Jacksons also tied for top owner with Darley Stable. Each received 110 first-place votes.
Edgar Prado was voted top jockey over Garrett Gomez, although Gomez had more wins and led the nation in purse earnings in 2006. Julien Leparoux was top apprentice jockey.
For the third year in a row, Todd Pletcher was voted top trainer. Frank Stronach's Adena Springs was top breeder.