02/16/2002 12:00AM

Eclipse presentation Monday


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Point Given, Tiznow, and Johannesburg are the finalists for the 2001 Horse of the Year, which, along with all other divisional winners, will be announced at a black-tie dinner Monday night at the Fountainbleu Hilton Hotel in nearby Miami Beach.

Point Given, who was previously announced as the unanimous choice for champion 3-year-old colt, is considered the favorite to be named Horse of the Year. But Tiznow, who last year won the Breeders' Cup Classic for the second straight time, has garnered plenty of support from voters representing the National Turf Writers Association, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and Daily Racing Form.

Many of the divisions have clear-cut favorites, such as Tempera for champion 2-year-old filly, and Fantastic Light for champion male turf horse. But three categories are judged to be so close that there should be some dramatic moments at the awards ceremony.

The finalists for champion 3-year-old filly are Exogenous, Flute, and Xtra Heat, none of whom is considered to have an edge over the other. Xtra Heat and Squirtle Squirt are two of the three finalists for champion sprinter, and the vote is expected to be close between those two, even though Squirtle Squirt won their lone head-to-head match.

The other contentious division is champion older filly or mare, in which Gourmet Girl, Spain, and Tranquility Lake are the finalists in a wide-open category.

Kenny Mayne of ESPN is the master of ceremonies for the dinner. Among those scheduled to present Eclipse Awards is New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.