01/21/2017 10:23PM

2016 Eclipse Awards Winners


Winners for the 2016 Eclipse Awards, selected by voters from Daily Racing Form, the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Click on a winner to read DRF's profile. Winners were announced Jan. 21 at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Main Sequence

Horse of the Year
California Chrome

The Sunshine State became the Golden State on Saturday night at the 46th annual Eclipse Awards dinner, as California Chrome made off with the golden statuette as Horse of the Year for the second time and led a parade of California-based connections who won divisional titles.

California Chrome outpolled Arrogate for Horse of the Year after both won divisional titles earlier in the evening. California Chrome was the unanimous choice among the 248 voters as champion older dirt male, while Arrogate captured the title as champion 3-year-old male.

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Voting: California Chrome, 202; Arrogate, 40; Songbird, 5; Highland Reel, 1.

Main Sequence

3-year-old male

Arrogate came far and fast in 2016. He did not make his debut until 20 days before the Kentucky Derby, did not get his first win until 15 days after the Preakness and six days before the Belmont Stakes, and did not run in a stakes race until the Travers.

But his record-setting performance in the Travers, followed by his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic against top older horses such as California Chrome, has left him as the champion 3-year-old male against two other finalists – Nyquist and Exaggerator – who won Triple Crown races. View Full Profile »

Voting: Arrogate, 243; Exaggerator, 2; Nyquist, 2; Gun Runner, 1.

Main Sequence

3-year-old female

It’s difficult to find more superlatives to describe Songbird. The filly has already run through most standard descriptors. Songbird will continue to shine brightly in 2017 as she moves into the older female division. View Full Profile »

Voting: Songbird, 248.

Main Sequence

Older male
California Chrome

California Chrome was a slam-dunk choice in the Eclipse Award category of champion older dirt male because he fulfilled a carefully crafted 2016 campaign that was purposely aimed at the highest levels of the game, and came within a few feet of absolute perfection. View Full Profile »

Voting: California Chrome, 248.

Main Sequence

2-year-old male
Classic Empire

In a span of 65 days, Classic Empire gave trainer Mark Casse one his most impressive wins and one of his most bizarre moments in racing. In the end, Classic Empire gave his trainer an Eclipse Award as well. View Full Profile »

Voting: Classic Empire, 248. 

Main Sequence

2-year-old female
Champagne Room

Now that the dust has settled – and, after more than two months, the dust has indeed settled – it doesn’t really matter that Champagne Room was 33-1 when she won the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. The only thing that REALLY matters is, Champagne Room won the Juvenile Fillies. And with the Juvenile Fillies being the biggest, most important event in the 2-year-old filly division, Champagne Room’s victory makes her not only a thoroughly deserving divisional Eclipse Award winner, but also squarely the one to beat among 2-year-old fillies. View Full Profile »

Voting: Champagne Room, 202; New Money Honey, 21; Lady Aurelia, 11; Pretty City Dancer, 5; Shane’s Girlfriend, 3; Abel Tasman, 2; Miss Sky Warrior, 2; Victory to Victory, 1; Voter Abstentions, 1.

Main Sequence

Older female

Beholder carried a lot of history into 2016 – she had campaigned four years already, earned three championships, won nine Grade 1s including two Breeders’ Cups, and had won 15 of 20 starts while earning more than $4 million.

On the racetrack, what more could she accomplish? Beholder’s final season was outstanding – six starts, three wins, three seconds, and a thrilling victory over previously undefeated Songbird in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff to cap a spectacular career for Beholder, an Eclipse Award as 2016 champion older dirt female. View Full Profile »

Voting: Beholder, 246; Stellar Wind, 2.

Main Sequence

Chad Brown

Horses trained by Chad Brown don’t seem to bounce, nor do the trainer’s statistics. In 2016, he continued his string of ascending yearly earnings since beginning his career in 2007, leading all trainers with more than $23.1 million in North American purse money. Brown was nearly $2 million ahead of Todd Pletcher, who had held the money-won crown from 2010-2015.

Browns also was tops in other key categories. He won 42 graded stakes, again surpassing Pletcher, who had been the leading graded-stakes-winning trainer since 2015, and he edged Bob Baffert for the lead in Grade 1 victories by a 12-11 margin. View Full Profile »

Voting: Chad Brown, 208; Bob Baffert, 21; Mark Casse, 11; Art Sherman, 3; Steve Asmussen, 2; Karl Broberg, 1; Todd Pletcher, 1. Voter Abstention, 1.

Main Sequence

Javier Castellano

Javier Castellano won his fourth consecutive Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey after leading all North American-based riders in both mount earnings and graded stakes wins in 2016. Castellano’s year included a Longines Kentucky Oaks victory with Cathryn Sophia, a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf win with New Money Honey, and a standout turf mount in Flintshire. View Full Profile »

Voting: Javier Castellano, 146; Mike Smith, 44; Jose Ortiz, 41; Florent Geroux,12; Irad Ortiz, Jr., 2; Julien Leparoux, 1. Voter Abstentions, 2.

Main Sequence

Male turf

Trainer Chad Brown’s stable already was loaded with high-class turf horses when Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms told Brown early in 2016 that it was sending him another star. Flintshire’s world travels twice had brought him to the United States for single races. Now, he would be spending the entire 2016 season with Brown. Flintshire, a Juddmonte homebred by Dansili and out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Dance Routine, became the best grass horse in North America. He wasted little time proving it, and even before lining up for his first start of the season, Flintshire had made an impression on Brown. View Full Profile »

Voting: Flintshire (GB), 137; Highland Reel (IRE), 76; Tourist, 32; Da Big Hoss, 1. Voter Abstentions, 2.

Main Sequence

Female turf 

Rare feats will define Tepin’s racing career. In 2015, Tepin became the first female to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile in five years. In 2016, she reached a unique milestone – the first American-based horse to win the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting in England.

No wonder Tepin is again the Eclipse Award recipient as the nation’s outstanding turf female of 2016, a title she won in 2015. View Full Profile »

Voting: Tepin, 225; Found (IRE), 11; Queen’s Trust (GB), 7; Lady Eli, 2; Miss Temple City, 2; Catch a Glimpse, 1.

Main Sequence

Male sprinter

For Drefong, 2016 was one long holiday weekend. In four starts, he won first- and second-level optional-claiming races at Santa Anita on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, the King’s Bishop at Saratoga on Travers Day, and the Sprint on Breeders’ Cup Saturday. His efforts gave him the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top male sprinter. View Full Profile »
Voting: Drefong, 199; Lord Nelson, 29; A.P. Indian, 20.

Main Sequence

Female sprinter
Finest City 

As the 2016 Breeders’ Cup approached, Finest City was barely on the radar screen for a divisional Eclipse Award. But one sensational run in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint changed all that. View Full Profile »

Voting: Finest City, 185; Haveyougoneaway, 20; Paulassilverlining, 13; Taris, 12; Carina Mia, 11; Constellation, 2; Lightstream, 1; Songbird, 1. Voter Abstentions, 3. 

Main Sequence

Apprentice jockey
Luis Ocasio

Luis Ocasio’s life has changed in many ways during the past year, and now he finds himself the Eclipse Awards winner for the leading apprentice rider of 2016. View Full Profile »

Voting: Luis Ocasio, 182; Lane Luzzi, 34; Eric Cancel, 1; Ashley Castrenze, 1. Voter Abstentions, 30.

Main Sequence

Juddmonte Farms, Inc.

Prince Khalid bin Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms has developed into a global superpower over the course of four decades and arguably had North America’s most electrifying runners on dirt and turf in 2016. View Full Profile »

Voting: Juddmonte Farms, Inc., 134; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 45; Klaravich Stables, Inc., and William Lawrence, 17; Spendthrift Farm, LLC, 17; California Chrome, LLC, 16; Reddam Racing LLC, 4; Fox Hill Farms, Inc. 3; John Oxley, 3; WinStar Farm, 2; End Zone Athletics, 1; Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., 1. Voter Abstentions, 5.

Main Sequence

WinStar Farm LLC

Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm has accomplished more in the past 16 years than operations several times older achieve over the span of their existence. Last year was one of the best yet for the Versailles, Ky., farm, highlighted by a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners and the most wins and earnings by a North American breeder.

WinStar Farm finished the year with 238 winners and combined earnings of $10,503,297 in 2016, making it the only operation to surpass the $10 million threshold. View Full Profile »

Voting: WinStar Farm, LLC; 164; Clearsky Farms, 62; Juddmonte Farms, Ltd., 4; Darley, 3; Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, 3; Adena Springs, 2; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 1; Machmer Hall, 1. Voter Abstentions, 8.

Main Sequence

Steeplechase horse

In 2016, Rawnaq turned out to be a more than adequate replacement for his stable’s star horse. Rawnaq went 2 for 2 during the spring, romping by 15 lengths in the Grade 3 Temple Gwathmey going 2 1/2 miles despite conceding 14 pounds to runner-up Scorpiancer, and prevailing by a neck in the Grade 1 Iroquois at three miles, facing a strong field that included a pair of highly regarded European shippers, Shaneshill and Nichols Canyon. View Full Profile »

Voting: Rawnaq (IRE), 171; Top Striker, 31; Special Skills, 2; Bob Le Beau (IRE), 1; Portrade (IRE), 1. Voter Abstentions, 42.