Triple Crown hero Justify and Breeders’ Cup winners Accelerate and Monomoy Girl lead the 2018 Eclipse Award finalists announced Saturday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form (DRF) and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB).
The three Thoroughbreds each lead their respective categories – Justify for champion three-year-old male, Monomoy Girl for champion three-year-old filly and Accelerate for champion older male – and are vying for the honor of 2018 Horse of the Year.
Justify retired following his historic Triple Crown campaign, which saw the Bob Baffert trainee become the first Kentucky Derby (G1) winner since Apollo in 1882 to claim victory in the Run for the Roses without any starts as a juvenile.
Accelerate capped off a stellar 2018 campaign with a one-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 3 at Churchill Downs. One day prior under the Twin Spires, Kentucky Oaks (G1) queen Monomoy Girl did the same in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) while facing her elders for the first time.
The Eclipse Awards recognize excellence in Thoroughbred racing, with winners in 17 horse and human categories. In addition, Joe Harper, chief executive officer of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, will receive the Eclipse Award of Merit in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement in the Thoroughbred industry; Chris Littlemore will receive the Eclipse Award as the 2018 Horseplayer of the Year; and members of the media will be honored for outstanding coverage in six categories.
The 48th annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony is scheduled for January 24 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
The 2018 Eclipse Awards finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
|Horse of the Year:||Accelerate, Justify, Monomoy Girl|
|Two-Year-Old Male:||Game Winner, Improbable, Knicks Go|
|Two-Year-Old Filly:||Bellafina, Jaywalk, Newspaperofrecord (IRE)|
|Three-Year-Old Male:||Catholic Boy, Justify, McKinzie|
|Three-Year-Old Filly:||Midnight Bisou, Monomoy Girl, Rushing Fall|
|Older Dirt Male:||Accelerate, City of Light, Gun Runner|
|Older Dirt Female:||Abel Tasman, Marley’s Freedom, Unique Bella|
|Male Sprinter:||Imperial Hint, Roy H, Stormy Liberal|
|Female Sprinter:||Finley’sluckycharm, Marley’s Freedom, Shamrock Rose|
|Male Turf Horse:||Expert Eye (GB), Glorious Empire (IRE), Stormy Liberal|
|Female Turf Horse:||A Raving Beauty (GER), Enable (GB), Sistercharlie (IRE)|
|Steeplechase Horse:||Jury Duty (IRE), Optimus Prime (FR), Zanjabeel (GB)|
|Owner:||Peter Brant; Hronis Racing LLC; WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners|
|Breeder:||Mike Abraham, John D. Gunther, WinStar Farm LLC|
|Trainer:||Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, Chad Brown|
|Jockey:||Irad Ortiz Jr., Jose Ortiz, Mike Smith|
|Apprentice Jockey:||Reylu Gutierrez, Weston Hamilton, Edgar Morales|