01/08/2009 2:01PM



The three finalists for the 16 divisional Eclipse Awards were announced about an hour ago. In alphabetical order, they are:

* Two-Year-Old Male: Midshipman, Old Fashioned, Vineyard Haven

* Two-Year-Old Filly: Dream Empress, Maram, Stardom Bound

* Three-Year-Old Male: Big Brown, Colonel John, Raven's Pass

* Three-Year-Old Filly: Eight Belles, Music Note, Proud Spell

* Older Male: Commentator, Curlin, Einstein (BRZ)

* Older Female: Cocoa Beach (CHI), Ginger Punch, Zenyatta

* Male Sprinter: Benny the Bull, Midnight Lute, Street Boss

* Female Sprinter: Indian Blessing, Intangaroo, Ventura

* Male Turf Horse: Conduit (IRE), Einstein (BRZ), Grand Couturier (GB)

* Female Turf Horse: Cocoa Beach (CHI), Forever Together, Goldikova (IRE)

* Steeplechase Horse: Be Certain, Good Night Shirt, Sovereign Duty

* Owner: Godolphin Racing, IEAH Stables, Stronach Stables

* Breeder: Adena Springs, Stonerside Stable, WinStar Farm

* Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Richard Dutrow, Jr., Bobby Frankel

* Jockey: Robby Albarado, Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez

* Apprentice Jockey: Inez Karlsson, Pascacio Lopez, Abel Mariano

Eclipse4 The three finalists for Horse of the Year won't be announced until just before the award is presented at the Eclipse Dinner Jan. 26, but if you can get 1-to-10 on a Big Brown-Curlin-Zenyatta tri box, take it.

The only real surprise was that Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable was not a finalist for the owners' Eclipse, given how much support he seemed to be getting from voters who published their ballots and cited him for racing Curlin as a 4-year-old in 2008. I personally tilted toward IEAH Stables for their breadth of accomplishment, but still thought Jackson would be one of the top three.

Here's my ballot column: Download Column010409


fred More than 1 year ago
Andy Beyer is 200 percent right about the rogue trainers. In Europe any horse which makes such phenomenal improvement would cause the trainer to have to explain to the stewards and they would monitor the next race of the horse. In the States, the trainers do not have to answer to anyone..or so it seems
rags More than 1 year ago
Goldikova was a three year old filly who stormed past older boys in the BC Mile. No Lasix, either. She's another Miesque, would love to see her return next year.
Jeff More than 1 year ago
Regarding the 2008 Turf Awards article I mentioned earlier; Brisnet changed the link right after I posted my comment. New link is: http://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/editorial/article.cgi?id=13751 Must read for anyone interested in turf racing.
Jeff More than 1 year ago
For those of you into turf racing, check out the 2008 Turf Awards piece written by Kellie Reilly in today's (January 10) Handicapper's Edge on Brisnet. Very well written and entertaining. Scroll down near the bottom of the page in the link below to find it. Steven, I think you would especially enjoy the writing. http://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/editorial/full_edition.cgi
E. Abraham More than 1 year ago
If I was a horseman I would know that unbalanced Thoroughbred Racehorses breakdown. I would look at finish line videos and see that almost every American trained Thoroughbred Racehorse runs slightly slanted to the left, unbalanced in its action and stride. If I was a horseman I would know or learn how to balance a racehorse. I would know that it is impossible to produce balanced racehorses training and racing left-turn only. If I was a horseman I would not allow exercise riders or jockeys to ride acey-ducey; putting their weight slightly off center on my racehorses back, adding to unbalancing my Thoroughbred Racehorses. Nor would I allow exercise riders to hold a neck strap or martingale (bib) and a rein in one hand pulling my racehorse’s heads unnaturally to one side contributing to unbalancing my racehorses. If I was a horseman I would know that the Seven (7) minutes maximum the average American Thoroughbreds racehorse spends on the training track is not enough training time for developing the bone, ligament, tendon densities plus heart and lung strength necessary to withstand racing’s pressures. If I was a horseman I would know or learn what type of track work is needed to develop the correct bone, ligament, tendon densities plus heart and lung development that produces sound, non-bleeding racehorses able to withstand racing’s pressures. I would study the training schedules of old-time trainers during the days of America’s drug free iron racehorses who raced every 7 to14 days, started 20 times as 2yo’s and stayed sound for an average 100-plus lifetime starts who breezed their horses 2 or 3 times per week and I would study the training charts of modern leading Australian trainers who breeze their racehorses 2 or 3 times per week, sometimes their full race distance. I would know that breezing only once a week does not provide enough race specific exercise to keep my horse’s race-fit, sound and not bleeding. I would know that harmful unnecessary, legal race day drugs like lasix (salix), glenbuterol, bute, injecting joints with steroids are negatively affecting my racehorses health and racing longevity plus these destructive drugs allow non-caring owners and trainers to run half-fit, unsound racehorses instead of turning them out letting nature heal them as nature intended. If I was a horseman I would walk my horses for 15-30 minutes BEFORE they go on the training track starting a correct and necessary warm up process. If I was a horseman I would slow jog my racehorses for at least a half-mile before they workout to continue a correct and necessary warm up process and I would slow jog my racehorses for a mile AFTER they workout, providing a correct and necessary lactic acid flush of their musculature systems. If I was a horseman I would sand roll my racehorses after every workout, before they are hosed off or washed so that they would not roll in their stalls, casting and injuring themselves unnecessarily? If I was a horseman I would hot-walk my racehorses to the left on the day they worked right turn and I would hot-walk my racehorses to the right on the day they worked left turn to help prevent arthritic back and neck conditions that affect far too many left-turn only American Thoroughbred Racehorses. If I was a horseman I would know that tree-less exercise saddles cause the sore backs prevalent in far too many American Thoroughbred Racehorses. I would know that when a rider stands up in the stirrups for slow gallops he or she is forcing my Thoroughbred Racehorses to work off the forequarter (pounding the ground), that if the riders sit down in the saddle (as they do in South America) they would help my Thoroughbred Racehorses work off their hindquarter, developing more driving power and helping to keep them sound. If I was a horseman I would know that a horse (or human) standing unnaturally still and stiff in a tight space (racetrack stall) for 23 hours per day is susceptible to arthritic conditions. I would know that a horse needs an hour afternoon walk in the sun to keep it limbs mobile and to receive some of the vital natural vitamin-D that helps keep racehorses sound and healthy. If I was a horseman I would provide small sun-yards for my racehorses so that weather permitting they would spend a second hour in the sun, receiving more vital natural vitamin-D that definitely helps keep my racehorses sound, healthy, not-bleeding and helps keep racehorses horses from suffering the terrible boredom of 23 hours locked in far too small unventilated racetrack stalls continually breathing in virus and bacteria laden air. If I was a horseman I would not overfeed and under work my racehorses. If I was a horseman I would provide good clean dust free hay, clean water and fresh-cut green-chop for my racehorses. If only I was really a horseman??? E. Abraham Ola olae@bellsouth.net Florida Farm Owner and International Racing Consultant
Tim More than 1 year ago
Midnight Lute being a finalist off of one single victory and a total of two races (the other race was an utter mess up the track finish) shows you just how watered down this division has gotten the last few years. It also shows you how hard it is for a sprinter to stay sound versus a turf router. Benny the Bull would get my vote easily. He has multiple victories over different tracks, most that dont favor closers! Who cares if they were or werent grade 1's. He was the best sprinte from Jan to Dec hands down.
don auld More than 1 year ago
Steve: Need to take a look at the takeouts published in the daily for GP, seems to me the takeout has been raised. It is easily seen when the fields are smaller
Larry Thiel More than 1 year ago
I still don't think Jackson had pure reasons for racing Curlin for another year. He's still hoping to get rid of his partners with a low-ball payoff, and then sell Curlin's breeding rights for an astonomical amount that only he gets.