01/08/2014 12:51PM

Wise Dan named a finalist in three Eclipse Award categories

Barbara D. Livingston
Wise Dan, shown scoring a repeat win in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Nov. 2, is a finalist for Eclipse Awards in the categories of Horse of the Year, champion older horse and champion male turf horse. He won all three of those awards for 2012.

Wise Dan, who last year became the first horse since John Henry in 1981 to win three Eclipse Awards in the same year, has a chance to do the same thing again this year, having been named a finalist for Horse of the Year, champion older horse, and champion male turf horse – the three categories he won a year ago – when the finalists in all Eclipse Award divisions for 2013 were announced Wednesday.

Wise Dan, who completed his 2013 campaign with a repeat win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, is expected to repeat as Horse of the Year. The other finalists are Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge, the first and second finishers from the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Wise Dan and Mucho Macho Man also square off in the older male category, whose other finalist is Game On Dude, who last year swept the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic.

For turf male, a category in which Wise Dan also is favored to repeat, the other finalists are Magician, the Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, and Point of Entry, who was fourth in the BC Turf but won his two other starts, both Grade 1 races.

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 is used to determine the three finalists in every division, but the winner is strictly the one who receives the most first-place votes.

The winners will be announced at the 43rd Eclipse Awards dinner Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park.

[Profiles of 2013 Eclipse Award finalists]

Wise Dan won six times in seven starts in 2013, including victories in four Grade 1 races, all 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. He finished second to Silver Max.

Wise Dan was bred and is owned by Morton Fink, who is a finalist for champion breeder along with Ken and Sarah Ramsey and the Adena Springs operation of Frank Stronach.

Fink was not among the finalists for owner, which will be decided among the Ramseys, the Juddmonte Farms of Prince Khalid Abdullah, and the Midwest Thoroughbreds stable of Richard and Karen Papiese.

The Ramseys are favored to win both champion owner and breeder.

Charles LoPresti, the trainer of Wise Dan, was not among the finalists in his division, which will be decided among Bob Baffert, Bill Mott, and Todd Pletcher, who is favored to win based on his leading the nation in both purse earnings and Grade 1 wins in 2013.

While Will Take Charge is considered an underdog to Wise Dan for Horse of the Year, he is favored to be named champion 3-year-old male, a division whose other finalists are Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner, and Palace Malice, the Belmont Stakes winner.

Several categories are considered close. Beholder, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner, and Princess of Sylmar, who won the Kentucky Oaks, are the leading contenders for champion 3-year-old filly, a division whose other finalist is Close Hatches.

Similarly, New Year’s Day, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, and Shared Belief, the undefeated winner of the CashCall Futurity, are the top contenders for champion male 2-year-old, whose other finalist is Havana.

Male sprinter is seen as a close call between Points Offthebench, a two-time Grade 1 winner who died in his final work for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and Secret Circle, who won the BC Sprint. The other finalist in that category is Sahara Sky, whose biggest win of 2013 came in the Met Mile.

She’s a Tiger is favored to be named champion 2-year-old filly despite losing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies via disqualification. Ria Antonia, promoted via the disqualification, and Chriselliam, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, are the other finalists. Not making the cut was Streaming, the unbeaten winner of the Hollywood Starlet, whose past performances were not included in the original supplemental material sent to voters.

Similarly, the omission of Authenticity’s past performances from the candidates for champion older female left her out of the top three in a category in which Royal Delta is heavily favored to beat fellow finalists Joyful Victory and Tiz Miz Sue. If Royal Delta wins, it would mark her third Eclipse Award.

Also expected to repeat as champion is Groupie Doll, who won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint for the second straight year. Her fellow finalists for female sprinter are Dance to Bristol and Mizdirection, who won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint against males.

Mizdirection also is a finalist for champion female turf horse, a category in which Dank, the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner, is a heavy favorite. The other finalist in that category is Laughing, who tragically died Tuesday from colic.

Voters had some surprising omissions in voting for champion jockey. Neither Mike Smith, who won more Grade 1 races than any other jockey last year, nor John Velazquez, the regular rider for Wise Dan, is among the finalists for champion jockey, a category in which Gary Stevens is favored to add to his already-gaudy comeback tale. The other finalists are Javier Castellano, who won more money than any other rider in 2013, and Joel Rosario, who won the Kentucky Derby.

The finalists for champion apprentice jockey are Victor Carrasco, Manuel Franco, and Edgard Zayas.

Steeplechase champion will be decided among Divine Fortune, Gustavian, and Italian Wedding.

In addition to those awards, the Eclipse dinner will feature presentations to winners, all previously announced, of media Eclipse Awards, the Eclipse Award of Merit, and a Special Eclipse Award. The Handicapper of the Year and the NTRA Moment of the Year also will be acknowledged.

Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
How about we don't give out Horse of the Year this year since nobody really deserves it. If I had to give it to someone though, it would be Wise Dan although he doesn't really have a true HotY resume this year
Héctor Lebrón More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan should only win ONE-turf horse of the year, that's it!
noalaistoday More than 1 year ago
The Eclipse voters and the baseball Hall of Fame voters can be lumped into on big pile with a banner in the middle labeled MORONS!!!
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
Message to Ms. Diana Levy: Ms. Levy I replied to you by placing a link to the DRF article. It placed a message of "your comment is awaiting moderation" and now that message has been eliminated. DRF MODERATORS: YOU GUYS ARE ABSOLUTE IDIOTS! If you guys had done your work CORRECTLY, you all would have answered Ms. Levy's implicit request for the news on Laughing's demise. Instead, you eliminate a comment meant to assist her and to cover your own ineptitude. Why is that? Or is it that you need to be signed up to DRF MINUS in order to get any type of assistance on your website?
Hail No More than 1 year ago
I replied to her post, too, that I had seen it earlier on here, but it's a no show, RIP Beautiful Girl..
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
I received an email from mr Mark Simon, the Editorial Director for DRF, in which he explained the reason for the elimination of the post. I am including his email thusly: Regarding your comment: The spam filter software we use on comments automatically blocks comments that include website urls and someone has to override it to get it out of the trash. It was not blocked by DRF staff first. Thanks for visiting the site. Mark Simon Editorial Director DRF ************************************************ Mr. Simon; I appreciate your email and the information included.I apologize for the "absolute idiots" comment since now it has been made clear to me that your moderators were not involved in striking down my reply to Ms. Levy. I do find it strange that my comment was eliminated, yet I see a bunch of comments for "making money" with links to other urls in many of the stories I get to read. By the way, now that I have gotten your attention would you please assist in reversing, or at least easing, the content within the DRF Plus decisión that has affected so many of your loyal readers
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Personally,i could care less who wins the HOY,because the only reason theyre picking one is because they have to.there is no clear cut impressive winner.off all the posts the last month ,i hear more reasons against(distance,surface,competition)than positive reasons for.crown someone and move on to 2014 and hopefully a true star everyone can get behind.
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
Mr. Baker, Have you not seen the HOY debates of the last 5 years? Not since Curlin has there been something remotely resembling a "true star everyone can get behind" HOY winner. Deserving HOY Rachel Alexandra (Zenyatta) in 2009, Zenyatta (Blame) in 2010, Havre De Grace (NO ONE) in 2011, and Wise Dan (Ft. Larned) in 2012 were all bombarded with arguments as to why they shouldn't be selected instead of why they SHOULD be chosen. It's a sign of the times that in almost every endeavour, negative comments would be more prevalescent than positive comments. Wise Dan is completely deserving of the HOY because he was consistent, didn't duck ANY challengers in his specialty and he ran like the wind. Nothing more and nothing less should be expected from your CHAMPION!
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
You just described Beholder
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
I agree with you Mr. Baker, in that Beholder should have been a contender for HOY.
B More than 1 year ago
I totally agree with you. None of the three candidates deserve to named HOY, particularly WTC. In each category, voters should have the choice of picking "no one horse proved worthy of this award this year". We have seen in the past some mighty undeserving winners, much worse than this year, but they for some reason feel they must choose one no matter how little they have done or how silly their names appear on a list of true champions.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
No baseball player elected to the HOF last year
seattle More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan, back to back HOY
Jacob Gabbani More than 1 year ago
He will win again
jttf More than 1 year ago
Get the broom out. Dude and macho man can only win grade one races in California. This trend sure does happen an awful lot in tbred history.
Don Wildermuth More than 1 year ago
I'm a NYRA/East coast guy and am kind of shocked that Johnny V isn't even in the running, but I'm actually more surprised that Mike Smith isn't in contention. Mike = Money Love JJC but given the finalists it seems like Stevens is the winner - Congrats Gary!
jake More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan all three awards
Zee Man More than 1 year ago
Saw Wise Dan run at in the Woodbine Mile. Broke track record without even trying. He is one awesome horse and it was a pleasure watching him run.