By Gene Kershner
While he got the best of the big mare on the track in November at Churchill Downs in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Blame could do no better than runner-up to Zenyatta in the final vote tally for Horse of the Year. After finishing second in consecutive Horse of the Year votes to Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, respectively, the distaffer carted off the sport’s biggest award Monday night at the 40th annual Eclipse Awards.
Both Zenyatta and Blame won their respective divisions of older female and older male, respectively. The Horse of the Year vote was close, Zenyatta edging out Blame 128-102, with third place finisher Goldikova receiving 5 votes. Goldikova was awarded champion female turf horse earlier in the evening.
Zenyatta retired after losing the Classic to Blame after 19 consecutive victories including a Classic victory at Santa Anita in 2009. The Classic marked her only loss after five Grade I victories against restricted company. She is currently at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky where she will start her next career as a broodmare.
Todd Pletcher took home his fifth Eclipse winning the Outstanding Trainer award after winning his first Kentucky Derby during 2010 as well as three Breeders’ Cup races. He trains the 2-year old male champion Uncle Mo, the early favorite for the 2011 Derby, who won his category receiving all but two votes en route to his Eclipse award.
WinStar Farm won an Eclipse for Outstanding Owner after winning both the Kentucky Derby (Super Saver) and Belmont (Drosselmeyer) in one of the closest votes of the night (100-81) over Zenyatta’s owners, Jerry and Ann Moss.
The 3-year old Male Eclipse went to Preakness and Haskell champion Lookin at Lucky. The award was his second after garnering the 2-year honors in 2009.
New York-based rider Ramon Dominguez won his first Eclipse Award as Outstanding Jockey amassing 369 wins during 2010 and over $17million in mount earnings.
In a vote that was much wider than projected, Big Drama won the Eclipse for Male Sprinter over Majesticperfection (170-61). He’s started 2010 right where he left off, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint champ set the track record for six furlongs on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Kentucky Oaks champion Blind Luck won the 3-year old Filly Eclipse in a landslide receiving all but one of the 238 votes cast.
With the Eclipse Awards in the books for 2010, Post Time will turn our attention towards the Triple Crown trail and start analyzing who has a chance to win on the first Saturday in May.
Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer, handicapper and member of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance who blogs at equispace.blogspot.com and tweets @EquiSpace.