01/15/2015 12:58PM

Suspense surrounding Horse of the Year will end Saturday night

Susie Raisher
Bayern is a finalist for champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Bayern, California Chrome, and Main Sequence will be the focus of attention at the 44th annual Eclipse Awards on Saturday night here at Gulfstream Park, as they will vie for Horse of the Year and are in line for divisional titles, too.

Bayern and California Chrome are two of the finalists for champion 3-year-old male, and the winner of that division could very well secure Horse of the Year, too. Shared Belief is the other finalist for champion 3-year-old male.

Main Sequence will be trying to emulate Wise Dan, who in both 2012 and 2013 won three Eclipse Awards – Horse of the Year, champion older male, and champion male turf horse. Main Sequence is the heavy favorite to be champion male turf horse, a category in which Wise Dan is a finalist. Wise Dan also is a finalist for champion older male.

:: 2014 ECLIPSE AWARDS: Watch Saturday’s ceremony live at 8 p.m.

All three candidates for Horse of the Year had worthy campaigns.

Bayern beat California Chrome in two of their three meetings, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which was his second Grade 1 win of the year. He won graded stakes ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/4 miles while winning 6 of 10 starts from January through November.

California Chrome, racing’s most popular runner, won four Grade 1 races, including the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He won 6 of 9 starts and concluded his year with a victory on turf in the Hollywood Derby. He is the only Horse of the Year finalist with victories on both turf and dirt.

Main Sequence had a perfect year, winning all four of his starts, all Grade 1 races, all on turf, including the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

:: 2014 ECLIPSE AWARDS: Full list of finalists and profiles

Winners in all categories are determined by first-place votes from the 265 voters from among Daily Racing Form , the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which includes members of Equibase.

The Eclipse Awards dinner will be televised live by HRTV beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. Jeannine Edwards of ESPN is the master of ceremonies.

Earlier Saturday at Gulfstream, retired announcer Tom Durkin, retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, and Michael Blowen will sign autographs from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. to raise funds for racing-related charities, including Old Friends, which Blowen founded. The suggested donation is $10.