01/06/2016 11:46AM

2015 Eclipse Awards: Found

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Nikki Sherman

A season that began in disappointment ended in brilliance for Found, a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the outstanding turf female of 2015.

After losing her first three starts of the year, Found ended the season with a flourish, starting in three Group 1 races in three countries in October. The series of starts in world-class races ended with an outstanding victory against males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland on Oct. 31.

Racing against the best was common for Found throughout the year.

Bred in Ireland by Coolmore-associated Roncon, Wynatt, and Chelston, Found was considered the leading 3-year-old filly prospect in England and Ireland last winter, earning the role of future-book favorite for the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. She missed training in the month before the 1000 Guineas with an elevated temperature and was withdrawn from consideration during race week.

Instead, Found opened her 2015 season with a second in the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at The Curragh in Ireland in early May and followed with a narrow loss at that racecourse in the Irish 1000 Guineas on May 24. The string of tough losses continued when Found was second in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, one of Europe’s top races for the 3-year-old filly division.

:: 2015 Eclipse Awards: Finalist profiles

Two months later, Found won the Group 3 Royal Whip Stakes at The Curragh in what was the start of an intense late-summer and autumn campaign. The rest of her races were at the Group 1 or Grade 1 level. She was second to Golden Horn, the winner of the English Derby, in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Sept. 12 but was only ninth behind Golden Horn in the $5.6 million Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Oct. 4.

Two weeks later, Found was a game second to Fascinating Rock in the $2.09 million Champion Stakes against males at Ascot.

Found was not done. She thrived on the activity. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has a brilliant record with runners in the BC Turf and nominated Found in something of a surprise decision. His team of male runners at 1 1/2 miles was not as strong as in past years, but Found was more than a suitable candidate.

Ridden by top European jockey Ryan Moore, Found ran the race of her life in the BC Turf. Closing from seventh in a field of 12, Found rallied wide to be third with a quarter-mile remaining. She closed steadily to lead in the final furlong and held off rival Golden Horn to deny him a historic victory.

Found, by Galileo, ended the year by winning the richest turf race in North America. She won 2 of 8 starts and earned $2,603,260 during the season. Remarkably, she was second in four European Group 1 races for the Coolmore partnership of Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith.

The season may not have started as expected, but it finished in an ideal way.