01/18/2014 10:32PM

Eclipse Awards: Wise Dan repeats as Horse of the Year

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Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan was named Horse of the Year for the second consecutive year Saturday at the Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – For Wise Dan, winning Eclipse Awards is as easy as one, two, three.

Wise Dan completed an unprecedented trifecta Saturday night, becoming the first horse to win three Eclipse Awards in consecutive years by making off with titles as 2013 Horse of the Year, champion older male, and champion male turf horse – the same categories he swept in 2012 – at the 43rd annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park.

Wise Dan won Horse of the Year over fellow finalists Will Take Charge, who was named champion 3-year-old male, and Mucho Macho Man, who finished second to Wise Dan in voting for champion older male. Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge finished one-two, in that order, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Wise Dan won 6 of 7 starts last year, including a repeat victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. All his wins were on turf. His only loss came in his only start on a synthetic surface, in the Shadwell Turf Mile, which was rained off the grass at Keeneland.

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 three finalists in every division – which were announced earlier this month – but the winner is strictly the one who receives the most first-place votes.

Wise Dan received 208 first-place votes for Horse of the Year to 21 for Mucho Macho Man and 15 for Will Take Charge. Others receiving votes were Dank, Princess of Sylmar, and Royal Delta, who each received one vote. Two voters abstained.

[Eclipse Awards: Winner profiles and vote totals]

Other equine Eclipse Award winners announced Saturday night were Shared Belief (2-year-old male), She’s a Tiger (2-year-old filly), Beholder (3-year-old filly), Royal Delta (older female), Points Offthebench (male sprinter), Groupie Doll (female sprinter), Dank (female turf), and Divine Fortune (steeplechaser).

The victory by Will Take Charge was the record 25th Eclipse Award claimed by a trainee of D. Wayne Lukas, who was honored Saturday night with the Eclipse Award of Merit.

Beholder, Groupie Doll, and Royal Delta – like Wise Dan – all were Eclipse Award winners last year. Beholder in 2012 was the champion 2-year-old filly. She became the first filly to win titles at ages 2 and 3 since Silverbulletday in 1998-99.

Groupie Doll and Royal Delta both repeated in the same divisions as 2012. For Royal Delta, it was her third straight Eclipse Award. She was the champion 3-year-old filly of 2011.

The Eclipse Award winners among the humans were Todd Pletcher (trainer), Javier Castellano (jockey), Victor Carrasco (apprentice jockey), and Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who won as both champion owner and champion breeder.

For Pletcher, it was his record sixth training title. Castellano picked up his first Eclipse Award. Both men led their brethren in earnings restricted to starts in North America last year. Neither Pletcher nor Castellano had any horses they trained or rode win an Eclipse Award.

In similar incongruity, the trainer of Wise Dan, Charles LoPresti, only finished in a tie for fifth in his division, and Morton Fink, who bred and owns Wise Dan, finished a distant third in first-place votes for both champion breeder and champion owner.

Most of the categories were lopsided, but two were relatively close. The unbeaten Shared Belief outpolled Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day by 115-99 in voting for champion 2-year-old male. And in voting for champion older male, Wise Dan received 123 first-place votes to 93 for Mucho Macho Man.

The three blocs split their votes for 2-year-old male. The NTRA went for New Year’s Day by 38-30, but Shared Belief was preferred by both the DRF (31-25) and NTWAB (54-36).

Wise Dan was first among all three blocs for older male.

Wise Dan was a runaway winner as champion male turf horse. He received 243 votes to 4 for second-place Magician.

Dank was an easy winner for champion female turf horse, with 229 votes to 8 for Laughing and Mizdirection, who finished in a tie for second. But voters did not embrace Dank for older female as they did Wise Dan for older male. Royal Delta got 234 votes for champion older female, with Dank second with just 5 votes.

The Breeders’ Cup Distaff proved pivotal in deciding champion 3-year-old filly, with the victorious Beholder outpolling Princess of Sylmar by 207-42.

Groupie Doll parlayed her repeat win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to her title. She received 192 first-place votes to 45 for Mizdirection, who repeated in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

The late Points Offthebench won the male sprint championship with 125 votes to 70 for Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle.

Will Take Charge easily outpolled Kentucky Derby winner Orb for champion 3-year-old male, 231 votes to 15.

She’s a Tiger’s body of work made up for her disqualification in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and she easily won her division with 212 votes to 15 for Chriselliam, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, and 10 for Ria Antonia, who was promoted to first on the disqualification of She’s a Tiger in the Breeders’ Cup.

Pletcher was an easy winner as champion trainer, with 183 votes. Lukas was second with 21.

Castellano received 134 first-place votes to win champion jockey. Gary Stevens, whose brilliant comeback year included victories in the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Breeders’ Cup Distaff, was second with 65.

The Ramseys were overwhelming winners as owner – in which they received 235 of the 249 votes – and breeder, in which they received 221 votes.

Carrasco received 172 votes to easily win the apprentice title.

Divine Fortune beat second-place Italian Wedding by 112-27 for champion steeplechaser.

Also Saturday night, a Special Eclipse Award was presented to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Mucho Macho Man’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was acknowledged as the NTRA Moment of the Year, and media Eclipse Awards were presented to Marty McGee of Daily Racing Form (feature writing), Marcus Hersh of Daily Racing Form (news writing), Jamie Radosevich-Hernandez (photography), NBC (live television), HRTV (television feature), and The New York Times (multi-media).

rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
I believe Wise Dan deserved Horse of the Year. But I will say this the BC sprint is also an original Breeders Cup race. By voting for Wise Dan you are setting up a time where a six furlong sprinter will win horse of the year. Something we should all think about, can a sprinter win Horse of the year? Is there a seven race campaign good enough for horse of the year? Could an undefeated sprinter win horse of the year last year?
mikey More than 1 year ago
The truth is that is all we are breeding....sprinters!! just look at the last 5 hoty...none ever won a 2 turn open G1 at 10 furlongs or longer...these are no thoroughbreds...these are quarterhorses.....some can just sprint longer but that distance is getting shorter and shorter...that is why there keep shortening races... take out the drugs, I would be surprised if they can even run 6 furlongs....What is baffling is who are buying these fragile short career genetically drugged horses?.... it will eventually fail because the breeding sucks....although the industry wants to hoodwink you that these horses are all that.....take out the casino's subsidy and more than half these tracks would be closed....
degeneratevern More than 1 year ago
Fittingly the Eclipse fiasco has become as boring as the game itself. Stick a fork in it!
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
so much ignorance. WISE DAN was voted horse of the year because he was the best horse last year. Next year it will probably be between MUCHO MACHO MAN and WILL TAKE CHARGE .unless they get injured and retire early in which case if WISE DAN comes back and wins 4 gr1 races again in easy fashion he will take it again.
Mark D More than 1 year ago
They have SEPERATE catagory for Older Turf Male. Which to me means Older Male is for Dirt. Why couldn't MMM or Game on Dude won older Male and Wise Dan still won Older Turf and Horse of year???
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Touche. Agree
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Because the voters have their heads stuck !
tyc More than 1 year ago
IF Wise Dan is so good then let him compete with MMM.
Bently Michaels More than 1 year ago
Dah, look at the age of the Horses...do your homework!
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
One year difference in age . DO YOUR HOMEWORK !
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
That will never happen !
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan is a good horse but his consecutive HOY honors are not fully up to the high standard set by other' previous winners; nor was his win as older male horse. W.D. had no real competition in the turf grass mile. Most likely he has distance limitations and would not have beaten a few at the longer distance. He will need to do more than rest on the laurels of the Eclipse. Anyone else outside the beltway may have seen on the Eclipse show a few good things about horse racing but mostly what is wrong. Excluding Lukas, Stevens, and a few others, who are national figures in the sport, the Eclipse show seemed to be one long promo for Gulfstream Race Track, DRF, and a few other sponsors. Some of the announcers sounded obsequious in the way they spoke. They no doubt recognize that the ones that run the horse racing industry are a handful, including the handful of sponsors of the Eclipse and its dreary, outdated show. Any other sport, for example, baseball, basketball, etc., would have tried to at least give the appearance that the Eclipse Awards and its show and announcers, etc. are not beholden to the ones that pay their bills. The bottom line is that the East Coast bias is still very much in play. Especially in bestowing three Eclipse awards to Wise Dan. Someone voted for Royal Delta and even Princess of Sylmar as HOY. Even though Beholder beat both of them in head on competition. Hovdey who was so quick to criticize the last call by Stauffer at Hollywood Park, where are his comments about the Eclipse Show; but he works for DRF.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Let me just say that you cannot take away what Wise Dan has accomplished. Absent any classic distance main track or even on the turf, Wise Dan is a fair choice for HOY. I do not see any difference between him and Frankel. Would Frankel won europe's HOY if Sea The Stars was showing the world was a great true thoroughbred he was. Doutbful. and for those who believes that Frankel is superior to Wise Dan, let me just say they both beat Excalibration at their best distance. Of course, there were excuses for Excalibration like the long trip in europe and his inability to run the turns (just like Frankel imo) but hey if Excalibration won, the Brits would blow that Frankel horn much loader. lmfao!!!
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
In the Breeder's Cup Classic, Wise Dan beat Grade II turf runners, including Za Approval and Silentio. He did it at the mile, barely winning the race. He lost when a race was moved off the turf, showing he needs to win under his conditions. Wise Dan did not compete at the classic route distances. He got a freebie HOY. Wise Dan is no doubt a good horse, but the greatness of the horse is judged by who their competition is. He would not be able to beat Goldikova in her prime. I would need to see who Frankel ran against but most in the U.S. agree that when the Europeans bring their horses to run against U.S. runners in the U.S., even their second string horses trounce the better American runners. Your comparing him to Frankel seems way out of proportion. Maybe the owners of Wise Dan should ship Wise Dan to Europe to see how he runs against the best turf runners in Europe. Then you can better gage his level. Wise Dan took no risks this year; he did not go longer or try other surfaces. If his connections thought he could run against top quality classic distance runners on the dirt they would have run him. In the U.S. classic distance dirt runners are usually considered the highest level since the bias is for dirt runners, not turf or even synthetic runners.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
It's amazing how this Frankel ran against the best turf runners in Europe is used to validate Frankel when he definitely is the dominant miler at the time he was running. He never took any risk either, never traveled and never even attempted any of europe's great prestigious classic 12 furlongs races because he would have lost ( that is me contradicting those who believes that he would have won at 12 furlongs easily lol). If his connections thought he could run against top quality classic distance runners in europe they would have run him. Both his owner and trainer has reapeatedly and adamantly stated on video that Frankel is not a 12 furlongs horse. WIse Dan and Frankel are both specialist, they are basically both great milers. IMO, Wise Dan showed more versatility running in different surfaces and distances. I never really understood the Frankel noise. Sea The Stars run a faster mile than Frankel did for the 2000 Gieneas and proceeded to win 6 group 1 in 6 months and won a bunch of the greatest races in europe Epsom, Eclipse, Irish Derby and the Arc and set a track record in the International against very good thoroughbred. Has Frankel ever set a track record? I am just pointing this out because imo there is too much Frankel hysteria and people get taking in by the media when Sea The Stars accomplishment was superior to Frankel and yet some man made calculation made Frankel the greatest ever? um sorry.. I believe Frankel and WIse Dan are comparable. I think the Frankel place in history is way out of proportion.
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
I don't disagree with some of your views on Frankel. I don't follow European racing and respond based on what I read and the few runners that come here. Dank, for example, was a good turf horse in Europe but she comes here and blows away our best female turf runners here; she won the female turf Breeder's Cup at the longer distance. But your comments get to larger points on the U.S. HOY, as seen through the tainted lens of the Eclipse. Both Wise Dan and Frankel basically made their reputations running on the turf at the limited mile distance. In previous HOY's, a turf grass miler usually will not be given the HOY. They did it I think for LURE, but I recall he was an exceptional runner, most likely running against better turf milers in those days. Wise Dan, on the other hand, beat Grade II horses like Za Approval and Silentio. You can run just in your own division, and especially if your own division is not that competitive, making it easier to get the Grade I's. But W.D. this year seemed to not compete against top level horse and his victory in the Breeder's Cup Turf was far from dominating against Grade II horses. Normally the Eclipse using other criteria except when their preferred horses are not likely to win HOY. Misdirection was undefeated on the grass sprint; Beholder was in the division with the most competition and she truly dominated Royal Delta, a current Eclipse winner, as well as Princess Sylmar, a near Eclipse winner. Yet she was not even one of the finalists for HOY. Ridiculous and without consistent application of logic or based on what the horse has done on the track. The main criteria putting W.D., Mucho Macho Man, and Will Take Charge, is that they all were based and ran most of their races on the East Coast. Another example of the East Coast bias kicking in. If someone can explain using common sense why Beholder was not HOY or even a finalist, I would like to read it.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Richard, what I was trying to convey is there is no more logic to the voting! it's a free for all. The biggest reason for this fiasco is because there aren't any dominant main track routers anymore. There is no way a Wise Dan or a Frankel would win HOY if there was a Forego, Bid, Ribot or Sea The Stars. The classic distance thoroughbreds would take first spot over any sprinter or miler. But since the industry DO NOT BREED these THOROUGHBREDS anymore, they (racing media, breeding industry) will promote THE TYPE OF HORSES THEY ARE CURRENTLY BREEDING. They have no choice. That is why you see the racing media put Wise Dan's name in the same sentence as John Henry or Frankel's next to Ribot. Even if some believed like yourself that WD did not do anything extraordinary this year to get HOY, the industry BELIEVES it is better off promoting WD. I disagree, promoting sprinters and milers is the biggest reason why this industry continue to fail and IMO the industry knows it but that is what they keep on breeding. WHY? because if a short distance speed horse can win one watered down G1, then they are in as a stud. IMO, those buying these horses are also looking for the quick $. Nobody wants to breed a Secretariat or a Forego anymore. If there is a potential for that kind of tb, they sell them to Japan, That is why the racing over there is much much more successful. They breed great thoroughbreds and sends them all over the world to compete. Of course this is just my 2 cents! :)
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
as great a horse as WISE DAN is and i believe he is a very special horse he would never beat FRANKEL.i have read a lot of nonsense about FRAKEL not staying beyond a mile and that he really did not beat much and the exellebration loss to WISE DAN in the breeders cup etc .its all nonsense first FRANKEL won going longer than a mile and did it easily on heavy ground suggesting he could easily do 1 1/8 mile at least and he beat some 16 gr1 winners including a champion in cirrus de angles and st nicholas abbey amongst others so much for the not beating anybody part.as for Exellebration lets not forget the fact that he had a tough season running many times all over europe and had raced just 2 weeks prior to shipping halfway around the world to face WISE DAN in the breeders cup the fact that he ran as well as he did shows you that he is a classy animal.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Let me just say this Ray, Frankel won one race past a mile and that was when he was older and stronger. I do not see anything special about that but somehow that is some accomplishment. The racing media went googoo over that one? I find that puzzling. If he would have tried the Epsom at 3, we wouldn't even talking that much about him. I believe he was a Dawn Approach clone but at least DA connections wanted to find out if he was a classic distance horse to their credit. Beating 16 gr1 winners is great but he beat them mostly at his wheelhouse of a mile. Now take Sea The Stars who beat a plenty of G1 winners from 8f to 12f at europes greatest races and I know who is the superior thoroughbred. Since the breeding seems to be shifting to 10f over there, I understand the publicity. hehehehe. Oh btw, the Brit now has a end of season championship meet and their premier race is 10 furlongs I believe. hmmmmm.....
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Zenyatta beat more than 30 Grade I winners of more than 50 Grade I races.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan, Frankel, Black Caviar..... Wise Dan, great horse first, great miler Frankel, great horse first, great miler Black Caviar, great horse first, great sprinter Wise Dan is now being compared to legends like Forego, Kelso, John Henry, Affirmed, Secretariat, Curlin etc etc because of the FACT that he has won back to back HOY. Frankel to legends like Ribot, Dancing Brave, Sea The Stars, Mill Reef etc etc Black Caviar to Makybe Diva, Phar Lap. Sometimes the facts obscure the truth! The aim of breeding a Thoroughbred (use to be anyways) is to hopefully breed a HORSE with both speed and stamina. Capable of beating sprinters sprinting AND stayers staying. The truth is that the staying part that is the most difficult to attain. The DNA shift is towards speed over shorter distances. The breeding for the last decade or so have lessen to produce the ideal type of thoroughbred and that is why we have more sprinting and mile races and the exposure of mediocre stayers in ever declining numbers of staying races. The truth is sprinting and miling is not what the THOROUGHBRED was meant to be. We are now breeding towards quarterhorses, paying premium $$s for horses that can run fast 1 furlongs at stock sales. Breeding world class stayers is paramount if we want true THOROUGHBREDS.
Tim Berry More than 1 year ago
I think Wise Dan could win at 10 furlongs but couldn't touch the most recent superstar, Sea the Stars, at 12 furlongs. I don't think Frankel could win at 10 furlongs. But they were the best at winning in the years they ran and the thing that's still true about horse racing is the winning thing.....My favorite horse not mentioned in your very complete list is Animal Kingdom..........
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Whether Wise Dan could win at 10 furlongs or Frankel could win at 12 furlongs to me is irrelevant. What I do not get is how these two milers are constantly compared to past great classic distances thoroughbreds. Now if winning is the only thing, there are quarterhorses who have won more in one year than than both Wise Dan or Frankel in their careers and these quarterhorses can sprint faster than Wise Dan or Frankel or even Black Caviar. The truth is that we are not breeding great thoroughbreds anymore except maybe for the Japanese as a group. As far as Animal Kingdom or any of the latest so called star we have had lately, how can they be compared to thoroughbreds like say Forego who have won sprinting at G1 and won at 2 miles carrying 130+ pounds and raced in more than 50+ races. No, the horses today cannot be compared to past great thoroughbreds. We now breed a completely different animal.
Tim Berry More than 1 year ago
I agree, racing IS different, but it's not going to go back the way it used to be. The main race seems to be the race to the breeding shed. That's why I'm heartened to see geldings and mares still racing while the talented young stock are raced to the breeding shed. So the best we can do is celebrate those older horses who may not all run the classic distances but at least they are still racing and winning..............
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
I agree and you have a good point that at least these geldings and mares are still racing but let's not kid ourselves, IT IS THE BIGGEST REASON FOR THE DECLINE of this industry. The breeding has not done a good job of filtering out bleeders. Their careers would be much shorter if they are not prop up by drugs. With shorter careers meant less traction of building up a new fan base who are mainly recruited by attendance in a racetrack that are now more filled with empty seats. The great classic distance races prestige has gone away from the Santa Anita Handicap to the Handicap triple. These are the races that kept the industry in the headlines. I adore Wise dan but it is NOT "Wise Dan at the Firecracker" that got the mainstream headlines, it is the "John Henrys at the Arlington Million". It is not "Frankel at Queen Anne" but it would have been "Frankel at the Arc de Trioumphe" but we already know they are not bred for those distances but the racing media somehow wants us to believe it. IMO hehehe
Tim Berry More than 1 year ago
All great points, nice talking to you............I'm chuckling at the picture in my mind of Frankel at the Arc...I see him finishing out of the money...........
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
A BIG congrats to Wise Dan and his tremendous year. Now Mr.Fink. Go for the F**KING Arlington Million this year!!!!.
Mike C. More than 1 year ago
There is no need to run in the F*KING Arlington Million, the horse is a true miler! He did fine in 2012 & 2013 sweeping all the awards!
Wabstat More than 1 year ago
You're right. Wise Dan was rewarded for beating second stringers all year. We all know that Wise Dan is the best miler in America, big deal. Go across the pond and win a real G1 or try the 10F Arlington Million. Wise Dan is a champion grass horse, but no way he deserves to be included in the multiple HOY club.
Mike C. More than 1 year ago
So the BC Mile Turf is not a real G1 race? Who does he need to beat to get respect from you doubters? And the voters, I guess they much be a bunch of morons for awarding him the trifecta back to back years. Some people are never satisfied. BTW being the best turf miler is a big deal.......
Christopher Clark More than 1 year ago
Too comment is almost a waste of time, regardless i have enjoyed wasting my time to call you an idiot. I guess Frankels accomplishments are lessened by his infrequent visits to America? Sounds as retarded as having Wise Dan go to limeyville...
Tim Berry More than 1 year ago
So glad you mentioned "across the pond" where they have the world thoroughbred rankings and Wise Dan is number two in the world.................
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Its just another awards show of the season...The SAG awards were last nite also
Jay Stone More than 1 year ago
Nice show, very professionally done by HRTV. The two most poignant highlights of the show were the much deserved award by the deceased sprinter Points and Pletcher's well timed words of loss for the passing of Caixa Electronica. The veteran sprinter personified the game. The show also will serve as a preclude to Willis Horton's second career as a stand up comic or reality show star.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
CE also won the Gr.2 Charles Town Classic.