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2011 Eclipse Awards Finalists

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Today, the NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced the top three finalists for the Eclipse Awards.The awards ceremony will take place on January 16th in Beverly Hills, California.

The finalists for Horse of the Year will not be announced until the night of the awards ceremony.

Award Finalists
2YO Colt Creative Cause Hansen Union Rags
2YO Filly Grace Hall My Miss Aurelia Stephanie's Kitten
3YO Colt Animal Kingdom Caleb's Posse Shackleford
3YO Filly It's Tricky Plum Pretty Royal Delta
Older Male Acclamation Game On Dude Tizway
Older Female Awesome Maria Blind Luck Havre de Grace
Male Sprinter Amazombie Caleb's Posse Regally Ready
Female Sprinter Hilda's Passion Musical Romance Sassy Image
Male Turf Acclamation Cape Blanco (IRE) St Nicholas Abbey (IRE)
Female Turf Dubawi Heights Perfect Shirl Stacelita (FR)
Steeplechase Black Jack Blues Decoy Daddy Tax Ruling
Owner Midwest Thoroughbreds Ken & Sarah Ramsey Team Valor
Breeders Adena Springs Brereton C. Jones Ken & Sarah Ramsey
Trainer Bob Baffert Bill Mott Todd Pletcher
Jockey Javier Castellano Ramon Dominguez John Velazquez
Apprentice Ryan Curatolo Kyle Frey Rosario Montanez

The finalists are determined by voters assigning various points (10, 5, 1) to three horses in each category. The winner is determined by first place votes only.

There are a few slam dunks among the contenders, and several categories where it's really hard to separate the top three. In fact, I think this is one of the more difficult years that we've seen in quite some time.

Below are my Eclipse Award votes (if I had one):

2YO Colt: Hansen
2YO Filly: My Miss Aurelia
3YO Colt: Caleb's Posse
3YO Filly: Royal Delta
Older Male: Tizway
Older Female: Havre de Grace
Male Sprinter: Amazombie
Female Sprinter: Musical Romance
Male Turf: Cape Blanco (IRE)
Female Turf: Stacelita (FR)
Steeplechase: who knows
Owner: Ken & Sarah Ramsey
Breeder: Ken & Sarah Ramsey
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Apprentice: whomever hasn't killed me in a race lately.

The most difficult categories for me are Older Male, Female Sprinter, and 2YO Colt.

Older Male: Really, really tough. Acclamation has a nice string of Grade 1 wins during the year, but I like Tizway's wins just a little bit better than Acclimation's. Game On Dude needed another win on the year to get over the edge in my eyes.

Female Sprinter: I have even less of an opinion in this category and sort of defaulted to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner, Musical Romance.

2YO Colt: Union Rags certainly had a tough trip in the Juvenile, a trip that probably cost him the race, but Hansen got it done and in a manner that was very difficult to pull off. I give Hansen the edge although I believe that Union Rags is probably the more talented of the two. Still, the name of the game is winning and Hansen got in done when he faced off against Union Rags.