01/16/2014 12:17PM

Eclipse Awards: Wise Dan favored to repeat as Horse of the Year

Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan is a finalist for three Eclipse Awards, including Horse of the Year.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Wise Dan is favored to be named Horse of the Year, and could again take home three year-end titles, when the winners of the 2013 Eclipse Awards are announced at the 43rd annual dinner Saturday night at Gulfstream Park.

Last year, Wise Dan became the first horse since John Henry in 1981 to win three Eclipse Awards in the same year. In addition to Horse of the Year, Wise Dan won both champion older male and male turf horse, divisions in which he is again a finalist this year.

[Eclipse Awards 2013: Watch Saturday's Eclipse Awards dinner live]

Mucho Macho Man, another finalist for champion older male, and Will Take Charge, favored to be named champion 3-year-old male, are the other finalists for Horse of the Year, but Wise Dan is thought to be an overwhelming favorite to repeat. Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge finished one-two in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Wise Dan one race earlier defended his title in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The top three finalists in all divisions – both human and equine -- were announced earlier this month. The Eclipse Awards are voted on by members of Daily Racing Form , the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, whose bloc includes racing secretaries and employees of Equibase. There were 272 eligible voters, and 249 returned ballots. The votes of all three blocs are pooled. A point system was used to determine the three finalists in every division, but the winner is strictly the one who receives the most first-place votes.

Jeannine Edwards of ESPN, who has hosted the dinner the prior two years, is back for a third straight year.

The Eclipse Awards will be televised live on HRTV, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. The show also will be available via streaming video at DRF.com. The announcement of Horse of the Year is expected at approximately 10:30. Beginning at 11, HRTV will have a recap show of the Eclipse Awards.