Havre de Grace, winner of the the Azeri, Apple Blossom, Obeah, Woodward and Beldame during a fantastic 2011 racing season, became the third consecutive filly to be named Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards. Rachel Alexandra was named Horse of the Year in 2009, followed by Zenyatta in 2010. Havre de Grace was also named Champion Older Filly at this year's Eclipse Awards.
Havre de Grace, a daughter of Saint Liam out of a Carson City mare (Easter Bunnette), is owned by Fox Hill Farms and trained by Larry Jones.
Below are all the winners of the 2011 Eclipse Awards, as voted on by the Daily Racing Form, NTRA and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association.
Horse of the Year: Havre de Grace
Older Male: Acclamation
Older Female: Havre de Grace
3YO Male: Animal Kingdom
3YO Female: Royal Delta
Male Turf: Cape Blanco (IRE)
Female Turf: Stacelita (FR)
Male Sprinter: Amazombie
Female Sprinter: Musical Romance
2YO Male: Hansen
2YO Female: My Miss Aurelia
Steeplechase: Black Jack Blues
Trainer: Bill Mott
Breeder: Adena Springs
Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
Apprentice Jockey: Kyle Frey
Award of Merit: Cot Campbell
Special Eclipse Award: Rapid Redux
Photography: Bob Mayberger, Sports Illustrated Snapshot
Writing - Feature: Claire Novak, ESPN.com
Writing - News: Jennie Reese, Louisville Courier-Journal
Television - Live Racing: ESPN, The Breeders' Cup Classic
Television - Feature: HRTV, Inside Information/Randy Romero
Audio and Multi-Media Internet: Thoroughbred Times
Some thoughts on tonight's winners below the jump.
- Animal Kingdom edged out Caleb's Posse by three votes (114 to 111) to win Champion Three-Year-Old of 2011, carrying on a tradition that rewards horses that win a Triple Crown race. I noted a couple of months ago that 2011 looked like it would be only the eighth time in 51 years that a horse that didn't win a Triple Crown race would be named the top three-year-old in the country (Caleb's Posse). After all, Caleb's Posse won the Breeders' Cup Mile, the King's Bishop, the Amsterdam, and the Ohio Derby. That, to me, is enough to overcome Animal Kingdom's Derby and Spiral Stakes. Apparently, it wasn't enough for the voters.
- I thought that the juvenile male category would be fairly close but Hansen ran away from Union Rags, winning by a final score of 194 to 52. Secret Circle garnered one vote.
- My Miss Aurelia win in the juvenile fillies category was almost unanimous. Almost. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner received 247 votes. Stephanie's Kitten received one.
- Another category that I thought would be closer was the Eclipse Award for Female Sprinter battle between Musical Romance, Hilda's Passion and Sassy Image. In the end, the voting wasn't that close; Musical Romance bested Hilda's Passion by a 131 to 52 count. Sassy Image pulled in 46 votes.
Top three voting, via the Daily Racing Form:
|Horse of the Year||Havre de Grace||166||Acclamation||26||Game On Dude||10|
|2YO Male||Hansen||194||Union Rags||52||Secret Circle||1|
|2YO Female||My Miss Aurelia||247||Stephanie's Kitten||1|
|3YO Male||Animal Kingdom||114||Caleb's Posse||111||Shackleford||12|
|3YO Female||Royal Delta||243||Awesome Feather||2||Plum Pretty||2|
|Older Male||Acclamation||95||Game On Dude||70||Tizway||52|
|Older Female||Havre de Grace||245||Blind Luck||2||Awesome Maria||1|
|Male Turf||Cape Blanco (IRE)||172||Acclamation||55||St Nicholas Abbey (IRE)||16|
|Female Turf||Stacelita (FR)||158||Perfect Shirl||28||Never Retreat||25|
|Male Sprinter||Amazombie||201||Caleb's Posse||42||Regally Ready||2|
|Female Sprinter||Musical Romance||131||Hilda's Passion||53||Sassy Image||46|
|Steeplechase||Black Jack Blues (IRE)||137||Tax Ruling||80||Decoy Daddy (IRE)||1|
|Trainer||Bill Mott||83||Bob Baffert||60||Todd Pletcher||57|
|Owner||Ken & Sarah Ramsey||66||Midwest Tbreds||60||Team Vaor||25|
|Breeder||Adena Springs||151||Ken & Sarah Ramsey||62||Ocala Stud||5|
|Jockey||Ramon Dominguez||197||John Velazquez||30||Javier Castellano||14|
|Apprentice||Kyle Frey||77||Ryan Curatolo||57||Rossario Montanez||19|