December 3, 2021

Wise Dan ranks among legends as repeat Horse of the Year

Last updated: 1/18/14 10:38 PM

Wise Dan is the only horse to
sweep the triple honors of Horse of the Year, champion turf male
and champion older male twice

(Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

Morton Fink’s homebred
burnished his Hall of Fame resume by winning his second straight Horse of the
Year title at Saturday night’s 43rd annual Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream Park in
Hallandale Beach, Florida. Moreover, the newly-turned seven-year-old gelding was
once again hailed as champion turf horse and champion older male, completing an
unprecedented repeat of his 2012 Eclipse Award treble.

Wise Dan joins the circle of legends who have earned consecutive Horse
of the Year titles. Since the advent of the Eclipse Awards in 1971, that list
comprises Secretariat (1972-73), Forego (1974-76), Affirmed (1978-79), Cigar
(1995-96) and Curlin (2007-08). Under the old voting system in place from 1936
through 1970, Hall of Famers Challedon (1939-40), Whirlaway (1941-42) and the
amazing Kelso (1960-64) were so honored.

But Wise Dan is the only Horse of the Year to
repeat purely because of his turf prowess. Although his 2013 campaign was
criticized in some quarters for sticking to the turf script, and not hazarding
any bold, new ventures, Wise Dan still stood tall as simply the best U.S.
Thoroughbred of the year. His connections’ methodical, stay-the-course approach
worked out well in the end, especially once his most dangerous challenger for
Horse of the Year, Game On Dude, torpedoed his own candidacy for the second
straight year by imploding in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Wise Dan is unique in another respect: no one in history had ever swept the
Horse of the Year, champion older male and champion turf male crowns twice. By
turning that triple in 2012, Wise Dan matched the feat of Hall of Famers Round
Table (1958), Dr. Fager (1968), Fort Marcy (1970) and John Henry (1981). By
doing it again in 2013, he surpassed them.

His historic accomplishment, however, is partly the result of an evolving
definition of “champion older male.” While traditionalists emphasize the
importance of form on dirt, the contemporary electorate has embraced a more
elastic notion.

That viewpoint led voters to prefer Wise Dan to the Breeders’ Cup Classic
hero for the past two years. Wise Dan was handed the 2013 champion older male
title over Mucho Macho Man by a tally of 123-93 (first-place votes). Last year,
Wise Dan had likewise bested Fort Larned by a 30-vote margin (139-109).

The vote for the turf title, on the other hand, was naturally a landslide,
with Wise Dan attracting 243 votes — just six away from unanimity. Four held
out for Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) victor Magician, while Obviously and Point of
Entry each received a single supporter.

Wise Dan concentrated on turf in 2013 for two principal reasons: Fink and
trainer Charles LoPresti were aiming for a perfect season for Wise Dan, but they
also wanted to keep him and his half-brother, multiple Grade 2 hero
Successful Dan, apart. Successful Dan had several major main-track objectives,
making it all the easier to let Wise Dan strut his stuff on turf.

Wise Dan’s gutsy victory in a rain-drenched Firecracker also produced the year’s Eclipse Award-winning photograph
(Jamie Radosevich-Hernandez/Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs)

Unlike in 2012, when Wise Dan opened his triple-Eclipse season with a track
record-setting rout in
the Ben Ali (G3) on Keeneland’s Polytrack, the reigning Horse of the Year
commenced 2013 in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) on the Keeneland turf. With jockey
Jose Lezcano taking over for the injured John Velazquez, the 2-5 favorite
comfortably dethroned defending champion Data Link by a length. California
shipper Silentio, who had just missed by a nostril in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile
(G1), trailed the short field of five, underscoring the extent of Wise Dan’s
dominance at the trip. Nine days later, Successful Dan represented the team in
the Ben Ali and claimed Wise Dan’s undefended crown.

Wise Dan next appeared in the 1 1/8-mile Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1)
on Kentucky Derby Day. Fans looked forward to a mouthwatering clash with Point
of Entry, the high-class turf marathoner who was coming off an upset of Animal
Kingdom in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) at this nine-furlong distance.
Unfortunately, rain turned the Matt Winn Turf yielding, and Point of Entry
scratched. The race was now reduced to a mere formality, and Wise Dan strode to an
effortless 4 3/4-length decision as the 3-5 choice.

With Successful Dan earmarked for the Stephen Foster H. (G1), Wise Dan
swerved another crack at that prize on the Churchill Downs dirt. He had suffered
his only loss of 2012 in the Stephen Foster — a tough-trip, near-miss to Ron
the Greek — but would not seek to correct the record. Nor did Successful Dan
strike a blow for his half-brother, for he wound up a distant fourth.

Instead, Wise Dan stayed on the grass for the June 29 Firecracker H. (G2) at
Churchill, the very race that marked his impressive turf debut back in the
summer of 2011. This time, however, Wise Dan had to tote the top weight of 128
pounds, conceding from 11 to 13 pounds to his four opponents. As had happened on
Derby Day, rain once again poured onto the course, and LoPresti thought
seriously of scratching him. But Wise Dan was allowed to take his chance on a
miserable night, and the stage was set for an instant classic. Now reunited with
a healthy Johnny V, Wise Dan bravely rallied in tight quarters on the inside,
despite being bumped hard into the hedge, and the 1-5 shot pulled away

For the remainder of the year, Wise Dan adhered faithfully to his 2012
itinerary, and mounted four consecutive title defenses. Next up came the August
10 Fourstardave H. (G2) at Saratoga, and a 129-pound impost. Ignoring the fact
that he was spotting 12 pounds to a loose-on-the-lead King Kreesa, the 2-5
favorite glided 1 1/4 lengths clear. Wise Dan was under no more than a hand ride
as he sped the mile on the good inner turf in 1:34, not far off the course mark
of 1:33 2/5 in less than ideal conditions.

Wise Dan smashed the course record while becoming the first two-time hero of the Woodbine Mile
(WEG/Michael Burns Photography)

In his return trip north of the border for the September 15 Woodbine Mile
(Can-G1), Wise Dan obliterated the course record without appearing to take a deep
breath. Hammered into 1-5 favoritism, he cantered 3 1/2 lengths ahead of a solid
yardstick in Za Approval, and the globetrotting Trade Storm, in a smashing 1:31.75. Wise
Dan also made history by becoming the first two-time winner of the Woodbine
Mile. That extended his winning streak to nine, dating back to the summer of

Wise Dan had overcome the elements and adverse circumstances a few times over
the course of 2013, but they finally conspired against him in the October 5
Shadwell Turf Mile. A torrential downpour transferred the race off the turf
and onto the Keeneland Polytrack. Ordinarily, a triple-surface threat like Wise
Dan would have taken it all in stride. But the rains were pelting the surface so
heavily that pools of standing water began to collect on the track. While Wise
Dan tried mightily to come to terms with the conditions, Velazquez reported that
he was all at sea. The 1-2 favorite had to settle for second to the
front-running Silver Max.

LoPresti didn’t want to blame the loss entirely on the last-minute surface
switch. Rather, he second-guessed himself for his training regimen, believing
that he should have breezed Wise Dan between the Woodbine and the Shadwell, as
he had done in 2012.

Wise Dan was “mad” following the lese majeste, and that was a bad omen
for his challengers in the November 2 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.
Not only was he returning to the scene of his brilliant victory in the 2012
Mile, accomplished in a stakes and course-record 1:31.78, but he was also
spoiling for a fight.

There was additional drama before the race: Velazquez suffered serious
injuries in a spill in the Juvenile Fillies (G1) earlier on the card. Rushed to
the hospital, the Hall of Fame rider was off all his mounts, and about to
undergo emergency surgery. Thankfully, Lezcano was available, and the super-sub
renewed his partnership with the 4-5 favorite.

After a stumbling start that caused Wise Dan to race farther off the early
pace than usual, Lezcano didn’t panic, but patiently allowed him to regroup and
gather himself in his own time. Wise Dan rewarded the confident handling,
motoring through the stretch to re-assert his superiority over Za Approval and
Silentio. European star Olympic Glory never factored in ninth.

Jose Lezcano was always the super-sub for the injured John Velazquez, most dramatically in the BC Mile
(Breeders’ Cup Ltd.)

Wise Dan thereby put himself in the league of Miesque, Lure and Goldikova as
a repeat winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Finishing the season six-for-seven,
and bankrolling $2,751,972 in 2013 alone, Wise Dan sports an overall mark of
27-19-2-0, $6,293,610.

Those eager for Wise Dan to explore new vistas can point to the remarkable
versatility he had shown earlier in his career. Unraced at two, Wise Dan
tipped his hand in his sophomore year. He broke his maiden by 15 1/4 lengths in
his second start on the Polytrack at Turfway Park, followed up promptly in an entry-level
optional claimer in the Churchill slop, and returned from a five-month layoff to
land the Phoenix (G3) at Keeneland in his stakes debut. Trying the 2010 Breeders’ Cup
Sprint (G1) in only his fifth lifetime start, he checked in a creditable sixth,
beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Big Drama.

Wise Dan took a few starts to get his act together in 2011, but the sleeping
giant woke up in the aforementioned Firecracker, and went on to add the Presque Isle Mile on Tapeta.
Although his progress was briefly halted when fourth to Gio Ponti in that fall’s Shadwell,
he soon resumed it with a
vengeance. Wise Dan ended that year with blowouts in Keeneland’s Fayette (G2) on
Polytrack and Churchill’s Clark H. (G1) on the dirt.

His success is a heartwarming tale. Fink co-owned his sire Wiseman’s Ferry, who captured the Lone Star Derby
(G3) and West Virginia Derby (G3) in 2002. He purchased Wise Dan’s dam, Lisa
Danielle, for $29,000 as a Keeneland September yearling in 1995. A daughter of
South African great Wolf Power, Lisa Danielle won only once from seven starts,
and didn’t stand out as a broodmare prospect. But Fink had named her after his
granddaughter, and so kept her.

Lisa Danielle rewarded him by producing three stakes winners — the filly Our
Royal Dancer, herself the dam of multiple Argentinean Group 2-placed Bailando
Voy; Successful Dan, who set a track record at Churchill Downs when winning the
2012 Alysheba (G2); and Wise Dan.

Lisa Danielle is in turn a half-sister to Grade 1-placed Carsona, who has
produced Grade 2 victor Siphon City. This is the family of German Group
1-winning highweight Scalo, and further back, French champion, classic winner
and noted sire *Val de Loir as well as dual classic heroine and Irish champion *Valoris

Wise Dan’s pedigree
features 5×4 inbreeding to Round Table and to Secretariat. Having emulated, and
then outstripped, Round Table’s triple championship season, Wise Dan has now
etched his name alongside Secretariat as a two-time Horse of the Year. As an
all-around marvel, he has done both of those ancestors proud, and one day, he
will assuredly join them in the Hall of Fame.

Currently enjoying his winter vacation at LoPresti’s farm near Lexington,
Kentucky, Wise Dan will return to his Keeneland headquarters and gear up for a
2014 campaign. Even a well-worn path looks exhilarating when Wise Dan is blazing
across it.

Macho Man
Will Take

Macho Man
Game On

Magician   4

Royal Delta earned her third straight Eclipse Award at Saturday night’s ceremony in Florida

(Eleanor Gustafson/Adam Coglianese Photography)

earned her third straight Eclipse Award on Saturday when the
six-year-old daughter of Empire Maker was honored as champion older female for
the second consecutive year. Her very first Eclipse came in 2011 when she was
named champion three-year-old filly.

Royal Delta put together a great career-ending season in 2013, racking up
$1,107,275 in earnings to go along with a 6-3-2-0 mark. Though she wasn’t able
to complete a three-peat in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 1, the dark
bay mare still managed to take down a pair of Grade 1s by big margins.

For 2013, trainer Bill Mott mapped out the same exact route that led to
Breeders’ Cup and Eclipse glory for Royal Delta in 2012.

The Kentucky-bred began the year at Gulfstream Park in mid-February and
managed to go one better than her previous campaign when taking the Sabin (G3)
by five lengths under regular rider Mike Smith. A trip to the Dubai World Cup
(UAE-G1) once again was in the cards following that score, but Royal Delta yet
again proved her dislike of the synthetic Tapeta surface at Meydan when tiring
to 10th as 2011 Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom raced on to victory in that
rich contest.

Given the rest of the spring off to recuperate from both the travel and her
loss, Royal Delta reappeared on June 15 at Churchill Downs for a title defense
run in the Fleur de Lis H. (G2). She showed the first chink in her armor when
unable to catch loose-on-the-lead Funny Proposition that day, settling for
second while five lengths behind the winner.

Royal Delta quickly made up for that puzzling loss a month later, though,
romping by 10 3/4 lengths in her second straight Delaware H. (G1) victory. Just
like in 2012, she would have two more races before the Distaff but reversed
decisions in each.

Instead of running second in the Personal Ensign H. (G1), as she had 12
months earlier, Royal Delta captured the 2013 edition by 4 1/2 lengths. Next out
in the Beldame Invitational (G1), in which she posted a 9 1/2-length romp in
2012, the dark bay mare was unable to muster more than a runner-up effort that

Royal Delta joined Bayakoa as the only back-to-back winners of the BC Distaff in 2013

(Breeders’ Cup Ltd.)

Despite her last-out defeat, Royal Delta was still sent off the favorite for
the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. It was the 11th straight time she garnered favoritism
in her stateside races, but the game mare showed her connections it was maybe
time for a new career in the breeding shed.

Authenticity led the way onto the backstretch with Royal Delta staying in
close contact to her outside through the first half-mile. Eventual winner
Beholder had taken up a waiting position while four wide to Royal Delta’s
outside and hit the front rounding the turn as her older rival began backing up.
Beholder kept motoring to score an easy win while Royal Delta faded to fourth on
the wire.

“She’s had three hard campaigns,” Mott declared following the Breeders’ Cup.
“I’ve been very blessed to have a lot of good horses and it’s difficult to have
more than two good campaigns with any horse. This mare has come back and won
Grade 1s this year and I see no reason why she wouldn’t be champion older mare.
She didn’t win the Breeders’ Cup, but she’s been good to us. She’s won two
championships and maybe three, and won a couple of Breeders’ Cups. It’s not a
bad career.”

Three weeks following the Breeders’ Cup came the announcement everyone was
expecting. Royal Delta had been retired from competition and would take up a new
career inside the breeding shed, visiting Galileo for her first cover.

“I’ve had many great moments in my life but the joy and pleasure that Royal
Delta has brought to me and my family is indescribable,” owner Benjamin Leon
stated at that time. “She offered us the opportunity to enjoy wonderful places,
people and experiences. She was a gift that allowed us many thrilling moments
and we will be forever grateful.

“Retiring her was a tough decision especially given the fact that she looks
as good as she does but we believe in doing what’s in her best interest. I would
like to give special thanks to her Hall of Fame trainer and my friend Bill Mott
who has guided her through such a successful racing career and also to my
friend, Mike Smith, her Hall of Fame rider. I am looking forward to our future
and the new chapter in her life.”

Royal Delta was campaigned by her breeder, Palides Investments N.V. Inc.,
through her first Breeders’ Cup triumph in the 2011 Ladies’ Classic, then passed
through the sales ring just three days after that score. She sold for a
sale-topping $8.5 million at the 2011 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale to
Leon’s Besilu Stables, which was the most ever paid for a horse in training at
Keeneland November and the most paid for any horse at the sale since broodmare
Playful Act brought $10.5 million in 2007.

Royal Delta has taken up a new career in the breeding shed

(Eleanor Gustafson/Adam Coglianese Photography)

“It’s a credit to Mr. Leon to run her not only after such a big purchase
price, but again this year for a second season,” Mott said. “Royal Delta will
always have a warm spot in my heart as I trained her grandmother and her mother
before her. It was special to get her back after the sale and it meant a great
deal to all of us.”

Royal Delta is descended from a black-type rich family as a daughter of the
A.P. Indy mare Delta Princess. That one would capture six stakes, including
three Grade 3 contests, during her time on track while racking up nearly
$750,000 in earnings. Royal Delta’s second dam is Group 2 victress Lyphard’s
Delta, who would go on in the breeding shed to produce Grade/Group 1 winners
Biondetti and Indy Five Hundred.

Lyphard’s Delta is herself a daughter of Proud Delta, who was honored as
champion handicap mare in 1976, and counts as a full brother Grade 3 hero and
sire Proud Debonair.

Royal Delta has more than continued the championship tradition of her family.
The dark bay earned three straight Eclipse Awards — four shy of being the
unanimous three-year-old filly champ, taking 231 first-place votes for her 2012
older mare honor and this time around garnering 234 first-place votes.

Along the way she captured 10 graded races, six of which were Grade 1s, and
joined Hall of Famer Bayakoa as the only two-time winners of the Breeders’ Cup
Distaff; placed in six other graded contests; banked $4,811,126 in career
earnings; and ran up a 22-12-5-1 record on track.

Dank   5

Will Take Charge (No. 7) finished fast to
beat Game On Dude in the Clark

(Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs Photography)

Winner of the Travers (G1), Clark H. (G1), Pennsylvania Derby (G2), Rebel
(G2) and Smarty Jones, and a nose second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic,
dominated the voting for champion three-year-old male, winning by a
231-15 margin over Kentucky Derby winner Orb.

Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, who received the Award of Merit
Saturday evening for his outstanding contributions to the Thoroughbred industry,
Will Take Charge raced in the silks of Willis D. Horton.

He is of the multiple Grade 1-winning Take Charge Lady, an earner of more
than $2.4 million, and Will Take Charge commanded a $425,000 sales price at the
2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. However, the blue-blooded son of
Unbridled’s Song did not bring major expectations into his sophomore season
after concluding 2012 with a last-place effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2)
at Churchill Downs and a second in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park.

Will Take Charge opened 2013 with an upset win in the January 21 Smarty Jones
at Oaklawn Park. He caught a sloppy track and never fired in the Southwest (G3),
but rebounded with an excellent victory in the Rebel on March 16, edging
stablemate and eventual Preakness winner Oxbow by a head after a thrilling
stretch drive.

Will Take Charge (No. 10) just missed in the Breeders’ Cup
Classic and will be pointed toward a return engagement in 2014

(Breeders’ Cup Ltd.)

The Triple Crown proved to be a pothole in a very successful campaign as Will
Take Charge recorded a trio of unplaced finishes in the Kentucky Derby,
Preakness and Belmont Stakes. After a freshening, he put those experiences
behind him, recording a good second to Belmont winner Palace Malice in the Jim
Dandy (G2) at Saratoga. The well-built chestnut colt then captured the
“Midsummer Derby,” surging late to win the 1 1/4-mile Travers by a nose on
August 24.

He carried his momentum forward in the Pennsylvania Derby, winning the $1
million event by 2 1/4 lengths on September 21, and made his next start in the
November 2 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Will Take Charge had to swing
six wide into the stretch due to a tiring rival and closed determinedly to miss
in a head-bobbing decision, falling a nose short to Mucho Macho Man in the final

The Kentucky-bred colt garnered tons of respect for the setback and came back
four weeks later with arguably a career-best performance in the Clark at
Churchill Downs, running down the classy Game On Dude, who had a clear lead in
midstretch but could not withstand the powerful late kick of his younger rival.

Will Take Charge earned $2,960,977 from a 11-5-2-0 record in 2013. Three
Chimneys Farm secured a 50-percent interest in the multiple Grade 1 winner
following the Clark, with Horton retaining the other 50 percent, and Will Take
Charge will remain in training with Lukas for a 2014 campaign before retiring to
Three Chimneys for stud duty.

Lukas has mentioned the February 9 Donn H. (G1) at Gulfstream Park and the
March 8 Santa Anita H. (G1) as possible early-season objectives.

Orb   15

Beholder proved her dominance over the three-year-old filly division by romping in the BC Distaff

(Breeders’ Cup Ltd.)

joined a select group of great racemares on Saturday when honored as the
champion three-year-old filly. Beholder took 207 first-place votes, easily
beating out rival Princess of Sylmar in second with 42.

It was the bay filly’s second Eclipse Award as she was also named the
champion two-year-old filly for 2012. She became just the fifth filly to win
those back-to-back honors since the inception of the Eclipse Awards in 1971. The
other four are Ruffian (1974-75), Open Mind (1988-89), Go For Wand (1989-90) and
Silverbulletday (1998-99), all of whom have also been inducted into Racing’s
Hall of Fame.

Beholder competed seven times last year, capturing five of those races and
running second in the other two while bankrolling $1.86 million in earnings. She
capped off her season with a 4 1/4-length romp in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but
the bay daughter of Henny Hughes took quite a journey before reaching that

Beholder closed out her juvenile campaign, and wrapped up juvenile filly
champion honors, with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November
2012, but didn’t get much down time before returning to competition just two
months later for a run in the Santa Ynez (G2).

The Kentucky-bred miss finished second that day while suffering from a throat
ulcer and was given a few months for her ailment to completely clear up. She
proved herself in fine fettle in her next pair, easily taking the Las Virgenes
(G1) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1) for trainer Richard Mandella, before facing
Princess of Sylmar for the first time in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 3 in her
initial foray outside of California.

Beholder reputed herself well when leading by two lengths in the Churchill
Downs stretch. She appeared headed for the winner’s circle, but just could not
withstand Princess of Sylmar’s late run and wound up finishing second by a

With the Breeders’ Cup at his home track of Santa Anita for a second straight
year, Mandella immediately began planning for the Distaff. The conditioner gave
Beholder the rest of the summer off, not bringing her back until Del Mar’s
Torrey Pines on September 1. She wired that mile event before taking Santa
Anita’s local prep for the Distaff, the Zenyatta (G1), 27 days later to prepare
for her tour de force on Breeders’ Cup Friday.

Beholder and Gary Stevens proved an unbeatable duo at Santa Anita when taking the Zenyatta and Distaff

(Benoit Photos)

Jockey Gary Stevens had taken the reins on Beholder ever since the Kentucky
Oaks and settled his mount four wide to two-time defending Distaff champion Royal Delta’s
outside through the opening half-mile. Authenticity was leading the way but
proved no match for her younger rival as Beholder hit the front rounding the
turn while still on cruise control.

Royal Delta never kicked into gear and faded to fourth on the wire, but
Beholder provided flashbacks to her Juvenile Fillies win a year ago when romping
home an easy winner of the race.

“We trained her this way (to run from off the pace.) We’ve just never had to
use it before,” Mandella said after the race of his normally front-running
filly’s stalking trip. “She’s so naturally fast, you don’t have to train that
into her and she’s made the lead so easily in many of her races.

“Today, she had to come from off of it and she did it — and boy do I love
it. I’ve been lucky enough to have many good mares in my years of training, but
this mare might have to be the best of all.”

Beholder not only earned back-to-back Breeders’ Cup wins, she also handed
Stevens his first Breeders’ Cup victory since 2000 following a seven-year
retirement from the saddle. In addition, she re-opened the question of who the
top three-year-old filly in the country was with the victory.

Leading up to the Distaff, Princess of Sylmar would have been the automatic
answer with scores in the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks (G1),
Alabama (G1) and Beldame Invitational (G1) to her credit. The two sophomores
found themselves on even in terms in regards to beating each other following the
Distaff, though, and Beholder has now ended up not only capturing the year-end
championship but Eclipse Award honors as well.

Bred by Clarkland Farm, Beholder came to B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm as
an $180,000 Keeneland September yearling. She is out of the stakes-winning
Tricky Creek mare Leslie’s Lady, making her a half-sister to Grade 1-scoring
sire Into Mischief. This is the same female family as yet another Grade
1-winning stallion in Roanoke.

Beholder’s fifth dam is Patelin, from whom are descended the likes of champion
Pleasant Stage as well as Grade 1 scorers A Phenomenon, Seattle Meteor, Marsh
Side, Pillaster and Classy Play.

Beholder currently boasts a 12-8-3-0 career line, with her only not top-two
finish coming as a fourth in her career opener at Hollywood Park in 2012. She’s
accumulated $3,075,000 in lifetime earnings thus far, and appears poised to
carry her rivalry with Princess of Sylmar into 2014.


of Sylmar

Shared Belief’s average margin of victory in three starts was nearly seven lengths

(Benoit Photo)

The two-year-old gelding
helped Hollywood Park conclude its 75-year history as a racing
facility with a bang, dominating both the November 10 Hollywood Prevue (G3) and
December 14 CashCall Futurity (G1). In doing so, the son of Candy Ride made a
late, winning rally to snare the Eclipse Award as 2013’s leading juvenile male.

Shared Belief received 115 first-place votes to 99 for New Year’s Day, who
appeared to be in pole position for the honor after taking the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile (G1). But Shared Belief’s last-minute shot at the buzzer put him over
the top. That was just the crowning disappointment for New Year’s Day, following
the career-ending sesamoid injury he suffered in December.

Shared Belief, who romped by seven lengths in his six-furlong debut at Golden
Gate Fields on October 19, was purchased privately from breeders Pam and Marty
Wygod following that race. Among the numerous members of the partnership is
Jungle Racing LLC, headed by sports radio and television personality Jim Rome,
and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Shipped to Hollywood following his acquisition, Shared Belief next stepped up
to stakes company for the seven-furlong Hollywood Prevue. His four rivals didn’t
stand a chance as Shared Belief seized control at the top of the stretch after
pressing the pace, and drew off to an emphatic 7 3/4-length triumph.

Favored at even-money against 11 rivals in the 1 1/16-mile CashCall Futurity,
Shared Belief again proved to be something special. Tracking within a couple
lengths of the lead for the opening six furlongs, Shared Belief easily took over
approaching the eighth pole and cruised to a 5 3/4-length score. His bank
account after three victories swelled to $451,200.

Shared Belief will now test his abilities on dirt leading up to the May 3
Kentucky Derby (G1). Despite developing an abscess on his right front foot this
month, he remains on course for the Robert B. Lewis (G2) at Santa Anita on
February 8.

Bred in Kentucky, Shared Belief is out of the Storm Cat mare Common Hope, who
produced Grade 3 scorer Little Miss Holly. The dark bay’s granddam is Sown, who
produced Grade 1 winner Key Phrase, and his third dam is Grade 3-placed Bad
Seed. His female family also includes Grade 2 victor Half Ours and stakes winner
Yankee Gentleman, both of whom are sires, as well as the 1999 Canadian champion
three-year-old filly Gandria.

New Year’s
Havana   24

There was no doubt among Eclipse voters who was the best two-year-old filly of 2013…

(Benoit Photos)

put together a 6-3-3-0 season in 2013, and despite being
disqualified from winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, was still awarded
an Eclipse as champion two-year-old filly on Saturday.

She’s a Tiger earned 212 first-place votes as compared to Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Chriselliam’s 15 and Ria Antonia’s 10. The latter
filly was given the win in the Juvenile Fillies by the stewards following the
disqualification of She’s a Tiger, but it wasn’t enough to derail her bay
rival’s chances for an Eclipse Award.

She’s a Tiger began her career in late June at Pleasanton and would never
step hoof outside of California in 2013. She broke her maiden in that initial
outing by nine lengths and trainer Jeff Bonde immediately sent her to Hollywood
Park for a try against stakes rivals.

The Kentucky-bred miss made her stakes bow in the Landaluce on July 13,
posting a three-length victory that day, then suffered her first loss next out
at Del Mar in the Sorrento (G2). She’s a Tiger missed by a half-length in the
contest while dueling with eventual winner Concave all the way, but got her
revenge 24 days later.

The duo both showed up for the Del Mar Debutante (G1) on August 31, and She’s
a Tiger proved best by a half-length while Concave ended up third. She’s a Tiger
would make just one more start before the Breeders’ Cup, just losing in a
head-bobbing finish on the wire of the Chandelier (G1) at Santa Anita while
stretching out past seven furlongs for the first time while going the Juvenile
Fillies distance of 1 1/16 miles.

The wagering public didn’t give She’s a Tiger much credit off that effort,
making her the 5-1 fourth choice in the 10-strong Juvenile Fillies field. She
also drew the far outside post in the race, but that didn’t stop her from
gunning to the front when the gates opened. Jockey Gary Stevens kept a snug hold
on the Tale of the Cat lass through the opening six furlongs, trying to ration
her speed as she set quick splits of :22 2/5, :45 1/5 and 1:09 1/5.

…despite She’s a Tiger’s
being stripped of her BC Juvenile Fillies win for causing interference

(Breeders’ Cup Ltd.)

She’s a Tiger and Ria Antonia hooked up in the lane, with each filly drifting
back and forth a bit. However, the stewards ruled that She’s a Tiger’s drifting
caused the slight bump right before the wire, resulting in Ria Antonia losing
her momentum for a second. That and the close nose finish saw She’s a Tiger
being disqualified from her gutsy win and placed second.

“This is heartbreaking — heartbreaking,” Bonde said after the race. “There
is nothing else I can say. She is still a wonderful filly, but this just

The heartbreak more than likely healed right up when She’s a Tiger was named
champion two-year-old filly on Saturday. The bay miss has already earned back
her purchase price of $150,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, and currently
campaigns for Mark DeDomenico, Allen J. Aldrich, Lisa Hernandez and Stuart

Bred by Dr. Rodney Orr, She’s a Tiger is out of the stakes-winning Cahill
Road mare Shandra Smiles, who found fame when producing multiple Grade 1 winner
and $1.4 million earner Smiling Tiger. That colt attempted Breeders’ Cup glory
himself, but could do no better than third in both the 2010 and 2012 editions of
the Sprint.

Shandra Smiles is a half-sister to Grade 3 runner-up Traci Girl as well as
the stakes-placed Elusive Quality duo Draw Fire and Calidad. This female family
is also responsible for Group 1 diva Escaline and Grade 2 king Love That Mac.

She’s a Tiger could well try to emulate last year’s champion two-year-old
filly, Beholder, with another stellar season as a sophomore. Are back-to-back
Eclipse Awards in her future as they were for Beholder? Stay tuned!



Groupie Doll was most impressive breaking the track record in the Presque Isle Downs Masters

(Coady Photography)

GROUPIE DOLL became the first two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly &
Mare Sprint (G1) on November 2, holding off a late surge from Judy the Beauty to
claim the seven-furlong test at Santa Anita by a half-length. That victory
ensured another Eclipse Award for the daughter of Bowman’s Band, who becomes the
first repeat titlist in the female sprint category. Both the Breeders’ Cup Filly
& Mare Sprint and its corresponding divisional championship were inaugurated in

Though not as dominating as she had been in 2012, Groupie Doll prevailed in
two of her three outings under one mile, and with her Breeders’ Cup score
avenged an earlier loss to Judy the Beauty in the Thoroughbred Club of America
(G2) at Keeneland.

Unhappy with her training in Florida early in the year, trainer Buff Bradley
gave Groupie Doll several months off at his Frankfort, Kentucky, farm. Though it
delayed her seasonal bow, the mare emerged the better following the needed rest
and relaxation.

Favored at 1-5 against eight rivals in the August 10 Gardenia (G3) at Ellis
Park, which she won in 2011 in only her fourth career start, Groupie Doll
appeared in need of a race when coming up empty during the stretch run of the
one-mile race. Though she stumbled early and was forced to steady, it was
evident the mare was missing her old kick when she failed to make up significant
ground in the final furlong. At the finish she was third, one length behind
Devious Intent.

The old Groupie Doll returned in style for the September 9 Presque Isle Downs
Masters (G2) over Tapeta. Settling near the back in the 6 1/2-furlong dash,
Groupie Doll made one of her patented wide rallies down the backside, advanced
five-wide entering the stretch, and drove home a 1 1/2-length winner in a
track-record 1:14 4/5.

The 1-2 favorite when defending her Presque Isle Downs Masters title, Groupie
Doll was available at the same price for her title defense of the October 5
Thoroughbred Club of America. However, the day belonged to Judy the Beauty, who
had also entered the TCA undefeated over Keeneland’s Polytrack and turned in a
stretch kick Groupie Doll could not match. Groupie Doll wound up 1 3/4 lengths
behind in third.

Groupie Doll developed into a multiple champion after adding blinkers in 2012

(Keeneland/Coady Photography)

Groupie Doll would snare her second victory of the season over Judy the
Beauty in the Breeders’ Cup, for which she was made the mild 3-1 favorite.
Overcoming an outside draw, Groupie Doll forged to the lead after a wide rally,
opened up a two-length lead with a furlong to go, and held off her arch-rival in
a time of 1:20 3/5.

Days after the Breeders’ Cup Groupie Doll was consigned to the Keeneland
November Breeding Stock Sale, where she fetched $3.1 million from Mandy Pope’s
Whisper Hill Farm. Pope enthusiastically returned the mare to the Bradley barn
in an attempt to win the November 30 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct, a race she had
lost by a nose in 2012. Despite encountering some trouble in the one-turn test
against males, Groupie Doll could only finish fourth, 3 1/2 lengths behind
distance specialist Flat Out.

Groupie Doll concluded her second championship season with a record of
5-2-0-2, $871,000. Her overall mark improved to 22-11-4-4, $2,528,850.

Bred by Buff Bradley and his father, Fred, Groupie Doll was campaigned by
that father-son team, Carl Hurst, and Brent Burns prior to her sale at Keeneland
November. In addition to her wins in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup, TCA, and Presque
Isle Downs Masters, Groupie Doll also captured the Humana Distaff (G1) and
Madison (G1) during her first championship campaign. The Gardenia was her only
stakes win during her three-year-old season of 2011, and she’s had four other
stakes placings in addition to the ones previously mentioned.

The Kentucky-bred Groupie Doll is out of the winning Silver Deputy mare
Deputy Doll, who is a half-sister to dual stakes victor Russellthemussell,
stakes-placed Slick Report and the dam of multiple Grade 2-placed stakes hero
Aristotle. This is the same female family as Grade/Group 1 winners
Rootentootenwooten and Prorutori; Grade 2 diva Ivanavinalot, and Grade 3 scorers
It’s Tea Time and Kukulcan.

Groupie Doll’s fourth dam is Floral Park, a stakes-winning half-sister to the
dam of multiple champion Gallant Bloom as well as a full sister to Delaware and
Ladies Handicap queen Flower Bowl, who is famous for producing Graustark and His

Groupie Doll will race once more in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream Park on February
9. She will subsequently be retired and bred to Tapit.


Cluster of

The Santa Anita Sprint Championship was the second top-level win for Points Offthebench

(Benoit Photo)

If Breeders’ Cup week was a time of sadness for the connections of
POINTS OFFTHEBENCH, the Eclipse Awards ceremony provided a welcome antidote
as the Benchmark colt was posthumously honored as the champion male sprinter of

Points Offthebench’s life came to a tragic end on October 26 at Santa Anita
while turning in his final major piece of work before the November 2 Breeders’
Cup Sprint (G1), a race he was expected to be favored in. The four-year-old
sustained a condylar fracture of the right front fetlock and had to be

Owned by Donnie Crevier and Charles Martin, Points Offthebench was trained by
Tim Yakteen. The California-bred made a successful transition from the allowance
ranks to stakes company in 2013, winning both of his outings at the Grade 1

Limited to just three starts in the previous year and a half, Points
Offthebench made his season debut on February 2 against open first-level
allowance company at Santa Anita. Second by a half-length in that six-furlong
dash, the colt came back to win at the same level going 6 1/2 furlongs on April

Stepping up to a second-level allowance on May 27 at Hollywood Park, Points
Offthebench continued his progression with a 2 1/4-length score going six
furlongs on Cushion Track. The final two starts of his life would come in the
Southern California circuit’s premier sprint stakes of the summer and fall.

In the July 28 Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar, Points Offthebench advanced from
fourth to the lead at the top of the stretch, and then bravely held off a threat
from Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Goldencents to win by a head at odds of 3-1.
The final time for six furlongs on Polytrack was 1:09.

Not entirely convinced of his superiority despite the Bing Crosby score,
bettors sent Points Offthebench off at 9-2 for the October 5 Santa Anita Sprint
Championship (G1), also at six furlongs. Once again getting the jump on
Goldencents, Points Offthebench surged to the lead inside the final furlong and
finished a half-length clear of his younger rival at the wire.

Flattered by Goldencents’ eventual win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1),
Points Offthebench’s candidacy for the male sprint championship was also helped
when the lightly-campaigned Secret Circle emerged victorious in the Breeders’
Cup Sprint.

Prior to his championship campaign, Points Offthebench won one of two maiden
attempts versus California-breds in 2011, and beat state-bred allowance company
in early 2012. His 2013 mark was 5-4-1-0, $434,700, while his career ended with
a record of 8-6-1-1, $514,940.

Bred by Gary Rocks, Points Offthebench is a full brother to Grade 3 winner
Bench Points. Both are out of the unraced Free House mare Mo Chuisle, herself a
half-sister to Grade 2-placed Visible Slew. Points Offthebench’s second dam is
Grade 3 victress Visible Gold, and his fourth dam is Grade 1 star Alma North.
This female family once yielded prominent sire *Nasrullah.

Sahara Sky   45

Dank remained perfect from two stateside starts in the BC Filly & Mare Turf
(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

Like a deus ex machina descending onto the stage, James Wigan’s
homebred DANK
swooped from her English redoubt to impose her will on the filly and mare turf
division. The Sir Michael Stoute trainee was the inevitable choice for
championship honors after capturing both of her American invasions, the Beverly
D. (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), and accordingly garnered
229 first-place votes.

Dank’s success comes 10 years after another Stoute star, Islington, shipped
in to take the Filly & Mare Turf en route to the divisional Eclipse Award.
Stoute employed a similar game plan for his champion turf males Singspiel
(1996), Kalanisi (2000) and Conduit (2008). Singspiel won the Canadian
International (Can-G1) before being upset by stablemate Pilsudski in the Breeders’ Cup
Turf, but that was enough to secure the statuette. Kalanisi and Conduit,
meanwhile, both executed smash-and-grab raids on the Turf.

A half-sister to Irish highweight Eagle Mountain, who was runner-up to
Conduit in the 2008 Turf, and to French/English highweight Sulk, Dank is now the
third top-rated performer produced by the Darshaan mare Masskana. Dank did not
exactly shape as a champion in embryo earlier in her career, but as with so many
Stoute runners, she bloomed with time.

The daughter of Dansili raced only once at two, finishing second to the smart
Hazel Lavery in a Newbury conditions race. Victorious in her sophomore debut in
a maiden over Kempton’s Polytrack, Dank went the handicap route, winding up
ninth versus males at Doncaster before dispatching fellow distaffers at Ascot.
She thereby earned her way into stakes company in the summer of 2012, and
reported home a fine runner-up to Ladys First in the Dick Hern Fillies’ S. at
Haydock. Dank scored her stakes breakthrough next time in the Atalanta (Eng-G3)
at Sandown, with the added satisfaction of mugging Ladys First late. But she
failed to duplicate that performance when fifth to Chigun in the Rosemary S. at
Newmarket, and subsequently headed into winter quarters.

Dank first served notice in the Beverly D.
(Four Footed Fotos)

Dank kicked off her four-year-old campaign with a hard-fought victory in the
May 5 Dahlia (Eng-G3) back at Newmarket. Upped in trip to 1 1/8 miles for the
first time, she looked stronger the farther she went, and ultimately nipped
Chigun at the wire. Dank reverted to a mile for the June 19 Duke of Cambridge
(Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot, and kept on for a close, if one-paced, third to Duntle.
That turned out to be the only loss of a championship season.

In her first foray outside of England, Dank ventured to the Curragh for the
July 21 Kilboy Estate (Ire-G2). By drawing right away from the useful Say in
that nine-furlong test, Dank displayed a newfound swagger. Her passport was now
ready to go further afield.

Dank made the trek to Arlington Park for the August 17 Beverly D., and a
revelation was in the offing. Under regular rider Ryan Moore, the bay was
reserved several lengths off the early pace, then delivered the coup de grace.
Dank stormed home by a resounding 4 1/4 lengths, in near course-record time of
1:53.38 for 1 3/16 miles, and left even-money favorite Marketing Mix toiling in
fourth. Duntle, who had beaten Dank in the Duke of Cambridge, could do no better
than seventh — continuing the pattern of Dank’s insistence on avenging her

Considering that Marketing Mix had been an admirable second in the 2012 Filly
& Mare Turf, Dank’s demolition job in the Beverly D. augured well for her
Breeders’ Cup chances. Stoute decided to go straight to Santa Anita without a
race in the interim, and sparkling workout reports suggested that she was ready
to fire.

Dank drew the rail in the Filly & Mare Turf, but suffered no hard-luck
stories in traffic. Despite pulling early in her first attempt at 1 1/4 miles,
the 3-2 favorite surged ahead into the stretch, and safely held French hope
Romantica by a half-length.

Dank is the third champion or highweight produced by her dam, Masskana
(Breeders’ Cup Ltd.)

Her Breeders’ Cup heroics clinched the Eclipse Award. Dank’s biggest rival
for the championship, Laughing, did not run up to her best after failing to
handle the cross-country ship. The front-running heroine of the Diana (G1),
Ballston Spa (G2) and Flower Bowl Invitational (G1), Laughing never made it to
the lead at Santa Anita and checked in seventh.

Sadly, Laughing died during
colic surgery on January 6, just two days before she was named an Eclipse
finalist. Laughing received eight votes, tying with two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
(G1) winner Mizdirection for a distant second to Dank in the balloting.

Dank boasts a career mark of 12-7-2-1, $1,784,990, the lion’s share —
$1,697,877 — amassed during her four-for-five campaign in 2013. According to
Racing Post
, she will soon seek more international adventure in Dubai.

At Saturday night’s festivities, Wigan said that plans call for Dank to
return for title defenses in both the Beverly D. and Filly & Mare Turf.

Bred in the name of Wigan’s London Thoroughbred Services in Great Britain,
Dank is a half-sister to the aforementioned Group 1-winning highweights Eagle
Mountain and Sulk. Eagle Mountain scored his signature win in the 2008 Hong Kong
Cup. Sulk ranked as France’s highweight juvenile filly of 2001 by virtue of
capturing the Prix Marcel Boussac, and she was England’s highweight staying
filly courtesy of a second in the 2002 Prix Royal Oak. Sulk went on to produce
Dubai stakes winner and Group 2-placed Ibn Battuta.

Dank is also a half-sister to multiple Group 3-placed stakes victor Wallace
and to the dams of Group 2-placed stakes winner Pimpernel and to Bye Bye Birdie,
queen of the Curragh’s Balanchine last June.

Dank’s second dam is multiple French Group 1 star Masarika, who was
responsible for Group 2 scorer Massyar and Grade 3 victor Madjaristan.

DANK   229
Laughing   8


Divine Fortune, shown during his 2011 campaign, took the steeplechase title by a surprisingly wide margin
(NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)

In a season where a different horse won each of the six Grade 1 steeplechase
races in the U.S., winning the most lucrative one helped

score a lopsided 112-27 victory over Italian Wedding in the
Eclipse Award balloting for champion steeplechaser.

A flag-to-finish winner of his April 6 season debut against allowance foes at
Stone Mountain, Georgia, Divine Fortune was caught by Demonstrative in the final
yards of May 11 Iroquois (NSA-G1) at Percy Warner Park in Nashville. Next seen
at Saratoga, Divine Fortune finished an even third in the A.P. Smithwick
Memorial (NSA-G1) and a tiring seventh in the New York Turf Writers Cup

Divine Fortune’s form continued to be lackluster in the September 19 Lonesome
Glory (NSA-G1) at Belmont Park, where the 10-year-old son of Royal Anthem
retreated to seventh after setting the pace. However, he snapped out of his
doldrums in the $250,000 Grand National (NSA-G1) at Far Hills, New Jersey, on
October 19, leading throughout the 2 5/8-mile test to win by a comfortable 5 1/2

He concluded his campaign with a fourth-place effort in the November 23
Colonial Cup (NSA-G1) in South Carolina, finishing the season with a mark of
7-2-1-1, $207,000.

Divine Fortune’s pre-2013 accomplishments include victories in the A.P.
Smithwick (NSA-G2) in 2010-11 and the Somerset Medical Center Hurdle (NSA-G2) at
the Meadowlands in 2007. His career record now stands at 40-10-9-3, $626,795.

Divine Fortune was bred in Pennsylvania by co-owners William Pape and Hall of
Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Pape-owned horses had previously won seven
champion steeplechase titles, led by four-time champion Flatterer (1983-86). The
others were Athenian Idol (1973), Martie’s Anger (1979) and Mixed Up (2009).

Sheppard has trained all of Pape’s steeplechase champions, as well as
divisional titlists Cafe Prince (1977-78) and Highland Bud (1989).

Produced by the stakes-placed Northern Fling mare My Tombola, Divine Fortune
hails from the family of Grade 1 winner Queen’s Lib and multiple Group/Grade 3
winner Solitary Dancer.

Gustavian   25

Todd Pletcher — Champion

Todd Pletcher (left) and his mentor D. Wayne Lukas were both honored Saturday evening
(Harold Roth/

Todd Pletcher led all trainers by earnings for the fourth consecutive year in
2013, bankrolling nearly $10 million more than second-place Bob Baffert, and
easily captured his unprecedented sixth Eclipse Award for leading trainer,
passing the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel.

Pletcher received 183
first-place votes compared to only 21 for runner-up D. Wayne Lukas, who was
honored elsewhere on the evening with the Award of Merit.

Pletcher’s horses earned $25,248,816 in 2013, leading the way for the eighth time in
his career, and his runners won 224 races from 946 starts, a 23.7 percent success

He won four straight Eclipse Awards from 2004 to 2007, becoming just
the third trainer to do so, and another in 2010. The 46-year-old conditioner won
48 graded events, including 13 Grade 1s, during 2013. His top performers
included Cross Traffic, Graydar, Havana, Palace Malice, Princess of Sylmar and

A native of Dallas, Pletcher is based primarily on the East Coast, with
year-round operations in New York and a winter base in South Florida, and he
also operated stables in Kentucky and New Jersey last year.

Pletcher is close to breaking the all-time earnings record held by his
mentor, Lukas. At the conclusion of 2013, Pletcher’s horses have earned more
than $258 million during his career, which puts him less than $9 million behind
the Hall of Famer Lukas.

D. Wayne

Javier Castellano — Champion

Javier Castellano was recognized for setting a new single-season earnings record
(Adam Coglianese Photography)

Javier Castellano established a single-season earnings record for North
American jockeys in 2013 and won his first Eclipse Award for leading jockey. A
winner of 362 races from 1,617 starts, Castellano’s mounts earned $26,213,507.

Castellano broke the previous mark set by Ramon Dominguez, who received the
Eclipse Award after his mounts earned $25,582,252 in 2012.

“I’m very proud and thankful to break the record and be on the same level
with such a classy guy as Ramon Dominguez,” Castellano said. “You work all year
long for a moment like this.”

A 36-year-old native of Venezuela, Castellano easily bested Hall of Fame
rider Gary Stevens, who came out of retirement after a seven-year hiatus in
2013, by a 134-65 first-place margin in the Eclipse voting.

Castellano was the leading rider last winter at Gulfstream Park and added
riding championships at Belmont Park in the spring and fall and Saratoga Race
Course in the summer.

“I’ve been very blessed to ride in New York. The purses are good and they
help me break the record,” he said. “I am thankful to participate at Gulfstream
with the best jockeys in the winter. To be the consistent leading jockey all
year round is very special for me, almost more impressive to me than breaking
the money record.

In his career, Castellano has amassed more than 3,650 wins, with career
earnings exceeding $190 million, and been the regular rider for 2004 Horse of
the Year and Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, as well as Bernardini, the
three-year-old champion of 2006.

Among his biggest wins in 2013 were the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1),
Alabama (G1) and Beldame (G1) with Princess of Sylmar; the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile Fillies with Ria Antonia; and the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) with


Ken Ramsey presented the trophy to Sarah after their homebred Charming Kitten won the Kitten’s Joy
(Adam Coglianese Photography)

Buoyed by the success of their homebred champion Kitten’s Joy, the leading
sire of 2013, Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey earned their first Eclipse
Award for leading breeder in 2013. The outcome wasn’t close, with the
Nicholasville, Kentucky-based couple receiving 204 more first-place votes than
runner-up and seven-time Eclipse Award winner Adena Springs.

The Ramseys, who were also named leading owner during the Eclipse Award
ceremonies, topped the individual breeders list in North America in 2013 with
$12,175,837 in earnings. The Ramseys bred the winners of 287 races from 2,071
starts, including a staggering 23 black-type winners, 10 more than Adena Springs
in second.

For the past 10 years, Adena Springs led the individual breeders list, and it
finished second in 2013 with $11,999,752 in earnings. The Frank Stronach-owned
operation bred 347 winners from 2,309 starts.

Kitten’s Joy, the champion turf horse of 2004, stands at Ramsey Farm and
ranked first on the North American general sire list by progeny earnings in 2013
with $11,320,523. He produced a total of 133 winners, ranking first by Grade 1
winners (six) and stakes winners (23). The son of El Prado stands for a stud fee
of $100,000 in 2014.

Top performers in 2013 bred by the Ramseys include Admiral Kitten, Big Blue
Kitten, Bobby’s Kitten, Csaba, Emotional Kitten, Hyper, Kitten’s Dumplings,
Kitten Kaboodle, Real Solution and Stephanie’s Kitten.


Ken Ramsey exults after the Arlington Million, one of his three Grade 1 wins on August 17
(Four Footed Fotos)

Ken and Sarah Ramsey led all North American owners in 2013 with record
earnings of $12,231,045, shattering the previous mark of $11.1 million earned by
Stronach Stables in 2000, and the couple garnered their second Eclipse Award for
leading owner. They were honored in the same category in 2011.

The Ramseys, who were also named leading breeder during the Eclipse Award
ceremonies, won 230 of 880 starts for a 26 percent strike rate in 2013, and
overwhelmed the competition in the Eclipse voting, receiving 235 first-place
votes compared to only four for runner-up Midwest Thoroughbreds, who led all
North American-based owners with 401 wins in 2013.

Natives of Eastern Kentucky, the Ramseys operate Ramsey Farm near
Nicholasville, Kentucky, and race many homebreds by their linchpin stallion
Kitten’s Joy, who led all North American sires by progeny earnings, Grade 1
winners and stakes winners in 2013.

The Ramseys’ banner 2013 season included seven Grade 1 victories and leading
owner titles at Churchill Downs (spring/summer, September and fall meets),
Gulfstream Park, Keeneland (April and October meets), Kentucky Downs and

Their top performers included Admiral Kitten, Big Blue Kitten, Bobby’s
Kitten, Emotional Kitten, Hyper, Kitten’s Dumplings, Real Solution, Stephanie’s
Kitten and We Miss Artie.

On August 17, the Ramseys enjoyed one of the greatest days ever by an owner,
capturing three Grade 1 races (two at Arlington and one at Saratoga) with

Known for his exuberance and self-confidence, Ken Ramsey likes to grab the
halter and lead his horses into the winner’s circle.

“Lot of people think it’s showing off, trying to be in the limelight and all
that. But I really enjoy leading them in,” Ramsey explained.

Thoroughbreds Inc

Victor Carrasco — Champion
Apprentice Jockey

Victor Carrasco topped the charts in both number of wins and earnings
(Maryland Jockey Club/Jim McCue)

Victor Carrasco, who led all apprentices in both wins (215) and earnings
($4,357,715) in 2013, became the 10th Maryland-based rider to earn the Eclipse
Award for leading apprentice jockey

A native of Puerto Rico, the 21-year-old won the fall jockey title at Laurel
Park and finished second in the standings at Delaware Park and Pimlico.

“Winning the Eclipse was my goal. I hope I did enough to win it but you never
know,” Carrasco said after being named an Eclipse finalist. “We didn’t really
get started until April. My agent Tom Stift did a really good job of picking the
right horses and we got so much help from all the trainers, especially Juan
Vazquez, Hugh McMahon and Scott Lake. There were also many riders in the jocks’
room who were always willing to help me improve.”

Carrasco easily bested his Eclipse rivals, garnering 172 first-place votes.

The other Maryland-based apprentice riders to capture the Eclipse Award are
Chris McCarron (1974), Ronnie Franklin (1978), Alberto Delgado (1982), Allen
Stacy (1986), Kent Desormeaux (1987), Mike Luzzi (1989), Mark Johnston (1990),
Jeremy Rose (2001) and Ryan Fogelsonger (2002).

Rosie Napravnik (2006) and Forest Boyce (2010) were the last local riders on
the ballot, finishing second in 2006 and 2010 respectively.

Carrasco finished 2013 ranked 14th in wins and 47th in earnings among all
North American jockeys.


Award of Merit

The winner of the Award of Merit, voted on by a panel of representatives from
the three presenting organizations and previously announced, is D. Wayne Lukas.
The Award of Merit is presented to honor outstanding lifetime achievement in the
Thoroughbred industry.

Special Award

The winner of the Special Award, voted on by a panel of representatives from
the three presenting organizations and previously announced, is Thoroughbred
Aftercare Alliance. The Special Award honors extraordinary service, individual
achievements in, or contributions to the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

Media Eclipse Awards

Media Eclipse Awards also are given in the categories of photography, audio
and multi-media Internet, news/enterprise writing, feature/commentary writing,
national television-feature and national television-live racing programming to
recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.
The 2013 Media Eclipse Awards winners, determined by a judges’ panel for each
category and previously announced, are:

  • Photography – Jamie Radosevich-Hernandez,, “Wise Dan
    Wins Firecracker Handicap,” June 30, 2013.
  • Writing – Feature/Commentary: Marty McGee, Daily Racing Form,
    “For Desormeaux, Conflicting Views on his Struggles,” April 20, 2013.
  • Writing – News/Enterprise – Marcus Hersh, Daily Racing Form,
    “Dubai World Cup: Douglas Back at Racetrack for First Time Since Being
    Injured,” March 26, 2013.
  • Television – Live Racing: NBC Sports, “The Kentucky Derby,” Rob
    Hyland, Coordinating Producer; May 4, 2013.
  • Television – Feature: HRTV, “HRTV Presents: Saratoga WarHorse,”
    Stacie Clark-Rogers, Producer; November 2, 2013.
  • Audio and Multi-Media Internet The New York Times (;
    “The Jockey,” Written and Narrated by Barry Bearak; August 13, 2013.