01/19/2007 12:00AM

Barbaro an Eclipse theme


Invasor is expected to be named Horse of the Year at the 36th annual Eclipse Awards dinner on Monday night at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., and though many divisional winners are fairly obvious, the evening should have plenty of drama and emotion because several divisions are up for grabs, and the saga of Barbaro will be a major theme.

Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner, is one of the finalists for champion male 3-year-old. His owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, are finalists for both champion owner and champion breeder. Barbaro's team will receive a special Eclipse Award for their perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds following his catastrophic injury in the Preakness Stakes. And Barbaro's recovery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center on Friday was named as by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as its "Moment of the Year" in an online poll.

Barbaro's jockey, Edgar Prado, is up for champion jockey in one of the more competitive divisions. Both Prado and Garrett Gomez, who led the nation in purse earnings and Grade 1 victories, had championship-caliber seasons.

Another division in which the winner's name is not a fait accompli is male turf horse, where English Channel, Miesque's Approval, and The Tin Man are the three finalists in an inscrutable division in which there were several other worthy contenders, such as Aragorn.

The black-tie dinner will be televised live by TVG beginning at 5 p.m. Pacific, with actor Jerry O'Connell the master of ceremonies for the third straight year.