Tonight's Eclipse Awards is airing live on HRTV beginning at 8:00pm Eastern (5:00pm for those of us out here on the Left Coast). ESPN's Jeannine Edwards will host the show from Gulfstream Park in Florida.
I'm gong to provide live, light-hearted commentary on the biggest awards show since the award show that was on TV most recently! Of course, it can't compare to today's Stretchies!
Among the awards on the schedule tonight: Horse of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Jockey of the Year, an assortment of divisional honors, the Handicapper of the Year award (given to the winner of last year's NTRA/DRF National Handicapping Tournament... and so much more!
We'll see how long I can hold out since I'm typically not much of an awards show person. There are some good college basketball games on tonight that might draw my eye from the excitement in Florida. But, regardless, let's get ready for the Eclipse Awards.
5:00pm: Here we go... feel the excitement. Let's hope there are no technical difficulties.
Jerry Bailey on stage to kick things off. 142nd Eclipse Awards... or maybe just 42nd. Jerry and his wife are doing a little stand-up comedy to kick things off. Sweet.
5:03pm: We're all winners... except for you losers that don't win.
5:05pm: Jeannine Edwards is in the house! And she's also doing some comedy.
Horse awards show banter -- you can't find this anywhere else. Do they do this in Europe for the Cartier Awards?
5:07pm: How about some Dutrow jokes!?! Come on, that would kill!
5:10pm: Jeannine should start ripping on ESPN for ditching horse racing. Too awkward? Nah.
Okay, first award: Juvenile Colt. This will be a shocker --
2YO COLT: Shanghai Bobby
5:15pm: I just noticed that this thing is supposed to go to 9pm my time. Really? Four hours? I'm not sure I can handle this for that long.
5:16pm: Juvenile Filly. This one is actually a little up in the air. Could be Beholder or Executiveprivilege. Could go either way but I think Beholder gets it.
5:18pm: And the winner is...
2YO FILLY: Beholder
5:20pm: They shouldn't gong winners for going over on their speeches, they should bring out the hook. You know, the hook? Does anybody do the hook anymore? Probably not.
5:21pm: Sweet, the media Eclipse Award. Video time.
5:22pm: Laffit Pincay III should be MCing everything to do with horse racing. He does such a smooth, professional job. Seriously, this guy is way underused.
5:23pm: Larry Collmus accepts a media Eclipse Award on stage and blinds the audience with his suit. And, yes, he's wearing a purple bow tie. That's... awesome.
5:26pm: I wonder what's on the menu. Steak? Fish? Chicken? Pasta?
5:30pm: Okay, on to the next category... Steeplechase. I don't even know what horses are nominated.
And the winner is...
STEEPLECHASE HORSE: A horse I can't spell... Pierrot Lunaire
And now top owner...
OUTSTANDING OWNER: Goldolphin.
Didn't see that one; thought Midwest or Reddam would win.
5:35pm: Do they do commercials during this thing? I gotta have a break at some point.
5:37pm: Paynter voted "Moment of the Year", which we were told several days ago. Paynter is back in training in Southern California. Pretty amazing recovery for the Haskell winner.
5:40pm: Oh, a commercial! Joe Theisman prostate? (Please, dear God, no!) Oh, that's right, the Joe T. commercial is a TVG staple.
5:445pm: Time for the Eclipse Award of Merit -- Nick Nicholson.
5:50pm: I've never met Mr. Nicholson, but he seems like a man that really loves the sport. And that's always nice to see.
5:55pm: Fravel and Gary Stevens at the podium. What's with the bow ties this year?
So, it's time for the turf awards for both female and male but giving props Black Caviar and Frankel.
FEMALE TURF HORSE: Zagora (FR)
Is Chad Brown the best turf trainer in the country right now? Got to be in the top three, at worst.
6:00pm: On to the award for male turf runner which is likely between Wise Dan and Little Mike.
MALE TURF HORSE: Wise Dan
6:01pm: Gonzaga and Butler about to tip off on ESPN. Time for some picture-in-picture action on the big screen.
6:03pm: Steve Crist now at the podium. I'm waiting for a rant on takeout and taxation.
This video of the tournament is awesome. I seriously don't know why they don't televise this thing anymore. Well, I know (money), but it's good TV... in my opinion.
Nice story about buying the horse that won the handicapper the contest and retired her "to a good home". Very nice.
HANDICAPPER OF THE YEAR: Michael Beychok
At next week's tournament he'll be donating 10% of his winnings to thoroughbred retirement. That's fantastic.
6:08pm: Jeannine is just killing! Okay, not so much. Sounds like a tough room.
Now on to the sprinters...
FEMALE SPRINTER: Groupie Doll
If this wasn't unanimous... well....
And on to male sprinter, which will probably be Trinniberg.
MALE SPRINTER: Trinniberg
Remember when Trinniberg was entered in the Kentucky Derby and couldn't get the lead from Bodemeister? Yeah, that was cool.
The kid is going to get crushed under that statue. Power up, kiddo.
Parhboo doesn't like the "shot clock". Tell it to the man. Tell it to the man.
6:18pm: Sounds like it's time for the breeder award. Here we go...
LEADING BREEDER: Darley
6:20pm: No way this thing goes for four hours. I'm guessing that HRTV is going to replay the whole thing right after. So that's good.
Time for the trainer award.
BEST TRAINER: Dale Romans
Oh, and Gonzaga? Any time you want to start defending the 3 tonight is fine by me.
6:30pm: Romans with a shot at the New York Times. Nice work, Dale.
6:35pm: Time for the 3yo categories.
Obviously, I'll Have Another is a lock. The female side is a little more open but Questing (GB) is the favorite in the clubhouse.
3YO COLT: I'll Have Another
3YO FILLY: Questing (GB)
6:40pm: So, we're getting down to it. What's left? Jockey, Apprentice Jockey and Horse of the Year. My vote for apprentice goes to Eliza Kubinova, a bug girl at Emerald Downs this year. She was awesome.
Oh yeah, the Laffits! Can't believe dad is 66. Wow. He must be doing something right.
Oh, I forgot older female and male. Okay, here we go...
OLDER FEMALE: Royal Delta
Hmm. I would have gone with Groupie Doll but Royal Delta is clearly deserving.
So, older male. Seems like the voters did some ticket splitting so perhaps Little Mike or Game On Dude wins this category over Wise Dan. The tension!!!!
OLDER MALE: Wise Dan
He might sweep all three of his categories. Well, he will now.
I'm guessing Mrs. Pincay is tall and blonde. Just a guess.
Holy cow, Gonzaga's 3-point D is atrocious. I don't know why that surprises me -- it's been atrocious going on a decade now.
6:51pm: I'm not sure how I feel about this podium they are using tonight.
Okay, Rashard Lewis time... with Jerry Bailey. Oh good lord. Ha, Bailey has a stool to stand on.
OUTSTANDING APPRENTICE JOCKEY: Jose Montano
Bug boys. Man, I can't stand bug boys!
Ah, Jose has an interpreter... Pincay, who purposefully mis-interpreted. A nice bit of humor.
OUTSTANDING JOCKEY: Ramon Dominguez
Great picture on stage -- Lewis, who is 6'11", surrounded by four jockeys. Somebody put that on Twitter.
7:00pm It's time for Horse of the Year, which is pretty much a formality at this point.
The NTRA's Alex Waldrop will present the final award of the evening.
2012 HORSE OF THE YEAR: Wise Dan
First horse since John Henry in 1981 to win Turf Male, Older Male and Horse of the Year. That's some pretty good company cause old John Henry was the man!
Congrats to Wise Dan and all the winners of this year's Eclipse Awards. And let's hope for an awesome 2013.
Time for dinner, basketball and beer!
Voting breakdown at the Louisville Courier-Journal.