Edited press release
Thoroughbred racing fans once again have an opportunity to have their voices heard at the Eclipse Awards by voting for the 2016 NTRA Moment of the Year. Voting is now open on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) website, NTRA.com, and via Twitter, where every retweet or use of the official hashtag for the moments presented on the @NTRA account will be counted as one vote.
The NTRA Moment of the Year is the only honor given out during the Eclipse Awards that is determined entirely by the public.
To access the online poll directly, go to https://ntramoment.formstack.com/forms/2016ntramoment.
Fans can choose from among 14 of the most memorable, moving and significant events from Thoroughbred racing in 2016. The winning moment will be revealed during the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards, set for January 21 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
The eligible 2016 moments were selected to illustrate a wide range of human emotions and achievements as well as outstanding displays of equine athleticism. The events that fans can choose from are listed chronologically as follows, along with the designated hashtag that can be used to vote:
- #DubaiChrome – As jockey Victor Espinoza’s saddle slips out from underneath him, California Chrome becomes North America’s all-time earnings leader with a resounding win in the world’s richest race, the $10 million Dubai World Cup, at Meydan Racecourse. The $6 million winner’s share pushes his career bankroll to $12,532,650, surpassing Curlin’s previous mark. (March 26)
- #NyquistDerby– Reddam Racing’s Nyquist takes the lead in upper stretch and holds on to win the 142nd Kentucky Derby by 1 1/4 lengths and remain undefeated. It is the second Derby win for the connections that campaigned I’ll Have Another to glory in 2012. (May 7)
- #BensCat –Ten-year-old Maryland-bred Ben’s Cat wins the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico Race Course for the fourth consecutive year and fifth time overall. Bred, owned and trained by legendary Mid-Atlantic horseman and Hall of Famer King Leatherbury, the popular gelding splits horses in deep stretch and gets up to win by a neck. (May 20)
- #ExaggeratorPreakness –Derby runner-up Exaggerator, owned by Big Chief Racing, wins the Preakness Stakes in front of a record crowd of 135,256 at Pimlico while handing favored Nyquist his first defeat. (May 21)
- #FrostedMetMile – Frosted wins the 123rd Metropolitan Handicap by a stunning 14 1/4 lengths in 1:32.73, a stakes record margin and final time in one of America’s most historic races. (June 11)
- #BazeRetires – Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze retires at age 57 with 12,842 wins, by far the most in U.S. racing history. (June 13)
- #QueenTepin – Last year’s champion turf female travels abroad in search of a new challenge and becomes the first American-based horse to win the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Britain’s prestigious Royal Ascot meeting. (June 14)
- #SummerofSongbird –The brilliant Songbird remains undefeated by effortlessly taking Saratoga’s marquee race for 3-year-old fillies, the Alabama, by seven lengths. It is her second Grade 1 win of the Spa meet and her 10th straight win overall. (August 20)
- #PacificChrome – All-time earnings leader California Chrome dominates a highly anticipated showdown with defending race champion Beholder in Del Mar’s signature event, the TVG Pacific Classic, winning by five easy lengths while kept in hand by jockey Victor Espinoza. (August 20)
- #ArrogateTravers – Making his stakes debut, Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate runs into the history books by winning the Travers by 13 ½ lengths in track-record time of 1:59.36 for 1 1/4 miles under Mike Smith at Saratoga Race Course. (August 27)
- #SpinawayDeadHeat –The site of so many memorable finishes, Saratoga Race Course produces another historic moment when two Tapit fillies, Sweet Loretta and Pretty City Dancer, dead-heat in the Spinaway, a first in the 2-year-old filly fixture’s 125 runnings. (September 3)
- #LadyEliFlowerBowl – Popular multiple Grade 1-winning filly Lady Eli guts out her first victory of 2016 in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park, 15 months after fighting off a life-threatening case of laminitis. (October 8)
- #BeholderDistaff – Spendthrift Farm’s three-time champion mare Beholder comes out on the winning end of a tight photo with undefeated filly Songbird following an epic stretch duel in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park. It is the third Breeders’ Cup victory for Beholder, trained by Richard Mandella and ridden by Gary Stevens, to go with wins in the 2013 Distaff and the 2012 Juvenile Fillies. (November 4)
- #ArrogateClassic – Arrogate collars odds-on favorite California Chrome in deep stretch to win North America’s richest race, the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, by a half-length before a Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup record crowd of 72,811. The 3-year-old is the third consecutive Breeders’ Cup Classic winner for trainer Bob Baffert. (November 5)
Fans are permitted to vote for multiple moments but there is a limit of one vote per moment from every Twitter account. Subsequent votes from an account will be disqualified. Votes must be received by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on January 4, 2017.
“This was one of those rare, magical years with several moments we’ll remember forever,” said Keith Chamblin, NTRA Chief Operating Officer. “Anyone who thought racing might be in for a letdown after the highs American Pharoah brought us in 2015 needs only to replay the races on this list to see how inspiring our top horses continue to be.”
The first-ever “NTRA Moment of the Year” was the touching scene between Charismatic and jockey Chris Antley following the 1999 Belmont Stakes. The next year’s winner was the stretch run of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic, which saw Tiznow hold on for a dramatic victory against Giant’s Causeway. Tiznow won again the following year as fans selected his stirring repeat victory in the Classic over Sakhee. In 2002, fans cited the passing of the last living Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew. In 2003, the popular Kentucky Derby win by Funny Cide was selected. Birdstone’s upset win in the Belmont Stakes over Smarty Jones took down top honors for 2004. In 2005, fans selected Afleet Alex’s spectacular victory in the 2005 Preakness Stakes.
Voters in 2006 chose Barbaro’s gallant struggle to recover from his Preakness injury while at the New Bolton Center. The 2007 Moment of the Year was a historic victory by filly Rags to Riches over Curlin in the Belmont Stakes. In 2008, it was Zenyatta’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Zenyatta “repeated” in 2009 as fans selected her triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
In 2010, fans selected Blame’s narrow Breeders’ Cup Classic victory over Zenyatta. Drosselmeyer’s hard-fought win over Game on Dude in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was the public’s choice for 2011. For 2012, the recovery of Paynter from near-deadly battles with laminitis and colitis captured the hearts of voters like no other story. In 2013, fans recognized Mucho Macho Man’s nose victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for his popular connections. The 2014 award went to California Chrome’s dominant win in Kentucky Derby 140. Last year’s vote resulted in a landslide for American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown-clinching Belmont Stakes win.