November 9, 1998 |
Even if Fiji misses the $700,000 Matriarch on Nov. 29 at Hollywood Park, which is a possibility, the Eclipse award as the nation's top female turf performer should belong to her. Making her first start since an Aug. 1 defeat in the Ramona Handicap at Del Mar, the 4-year-old Rainbow Quest filly sealed her claim to the title with a two-length victory in the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita.
January 9, 1998 |
The contentious horse-of-the-year battle was narrowed to two candidates Thursday with the Eclipse Awards announcement that Favorite Trick and Skip Away had won divisional championships. In the vernacular of the track, Favorite Trick was much the best in the voting for top 2-year-old male and Skip Away was all out to hold off Gentlemen for the older male title.
January 3, 1998 |
The Eclipse award voting for 1997 is so tricky that five of the seven winners on Breeders' Cup day could be shut out when the divisional champions are announced next Thursday. Favorite Trick and Countess Diana, who won the Breeders' Cup races for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park, are shoo-ins for Eclipses, but the others may be caught in tight votes. Consider: * Skip Away, winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic, has been denigrated by some voters because he was beaten in seven of 11 starts.
November 30, 1997 |
Trainer James Toner has been in this position before. A year ago, the Eclipse award for the nation's top female turf horse was up for grabs before the $700,000 Matriarch and a win by his Memories Of Silver might have won her the title. But she ran third, behind Wandesta and Windsharp, and Wandesta wound up winning the Eclipse. Toner, 57, will be hoping for a reversal of fortune in today's Matriarch at Hollywood Park.
November 28, 1997 |
Having recently stated the case for Favorite Trick as horse of the year, here are one man's selections for the rest of the Eclipse awards: * 2-year-old--Favorite Trick. The son of Phone Trick did everything asked of him in 1997, winning all eight of his starts at four tracks. And the way he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, at 1 1/16 miles, suggests he will be able to cope with longer races. * 2-year-old filly--Countess Diana.
February 5, 1997 |
A career that soared reached yet another lofty plateau Tuesday night with the Eclipse Award announcement that Cigar had been voted horse of the year for 1996. Cigar is the first winner of consecutive awards since Affirmed in 1978 and '79. The only others were Forego, the lone three-time winner, in 1974, '75 and '76, and Secretariat, who won titles in 1972 and '73. Cigar, a 6-year-old in 1996, was the oldest horse-of-the-year winner since John Henry, who was a 9-year-old in 1984.
January 17, 1997 |
Is this something that happens every eight years? Trainer Wayne Lukas wins more big races than anybody, leads the country in purses and doesn't win an Eclipse Award. It happened in 1988, and it has happened again in 1996. When the voting results for last year were announced last Thursday, Lukas had finished a close second to Bill Mott, who repeated as the winner of the training award. This time, in what might have been the tightest trainer vote, Mott outpolled Lukas, 123-112 1/2.
January 10, 1997 |
The 1996 Eclipse Awards had a familiar ring: Cigar was voted best older male horse again, and the horsemen behind him--owner Allen Paulson, trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey--were also repeat winners. Another Eclipse sweep by this quartet is likely Feb. 4, when horse of the year for '96 is announced. In the announcement of all the other awards Thursday, Cigar collected 289 of the 294 votes cast by the Daily Racing Form, National Turf Writers Assn.
November 26, 1996 |
By popular demand--OK, one person asked--here is one man's opinion on the 1996 Eclipse Awards: 2-YEAR-OLD--Boston Harbor. He won six of seven starts for Wayne Lukas and convinced some of his skeptics--including this one--with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. But don't look for Boston Harbor in the winner's circle after the 1997 Kentucky Derby. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY--Storm Song.
August 9, 1996 |
In the summer of 1975, trainer Jack Van Berg was trying to win the Omaha Gold Cup at Ak-Sar-Ben with Gray Bar. The horse to beat was Master Derby, who had won the Preakness that year. Final preparations called for Van Berg's young exercise rider to gallop Gray Bar two miles in what horsemen call two-minute licks--brisk gallops at two minutes a mile. The rider came back to Van Berg after circling the Nebraska track twice.