01/08/2013 7:45PM

2012 Eclipse Awards: Todd Pletcher


Todd Pletcher’s position as an Eclipse Award finalist for North America’s outstanding trainer can be described in three words: familiar but fitting.

Although his presence among the final trio is certainly nothing new, it is deserving. Pletcher, a five-time Eclipse Award winner, leads North American trainers with his horses having earned more than $20 million and having won 42 graded stakes.

No other trainer came within $5 million of Pletcher’s earnings total in 2012.

Pletcher also won the 3,000th race of his training career in 2012 on Feb. 11, when Spring Hill Farm won the third race at Gulfstream Park – an almost unheard of accomplishment for a trainer who was only 44 at the time.

Beyond his gaudy statistics in 2012, it was his development of Shanghai Bobby that further positioned him as an Eclipse finalist.

Shanghai Bobby successfully debuted April 19 at Aqueduct and maintained top form under Pletcher throughout the year while gradually being stretched out in distance. By year’s end, he had won all five of his races, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to culminate a perfect 2-year-old campaign.

Such a year all but assures Shanghai Bobby will become champion juvenile of 2012, which would increase Pletcher’s tally of Eclipse Award winners to 10.

Pletcher, now 45, trained eight horses to Grade 1 victories in 2012, with Love and Pride and Shanghai Bobby winning a pair apiece.

His final Grade 1 victory of 2012 came in a thrilling renewal of the Cigar Mile, when Stay Thirsty closed his career by catching Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll.