photo credit: kentuckyderby.com
The 2020 Eclipse Awards, an annual award program honoring horses and horsemen and women in various categories, was held digitally this year due to Covid restrictions.
The event, put together by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters was the 50th version of the illustrious award show.
It was announced that the coveted Horse of the Year award was awarded to Authentic, the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Breeder’s Cup Classic winner. The Bob Baffert trained horse captured 224 out of a possible 238 first-place votes. Monomoy Girl finished 2nd while Swiss Skydiver, who defeated Authentic in the Preakness race, won 3rd place in the voting.
Authentic was also voted Champion Three-Year-Old Male while Monomoy Girl won Champion Older Dirt Female horse.
Authentic earned over $7 million in purse earnings in 2020 and is now retired to stud.
Brad Cox won his first-ever Eclipse Award as Outstanding Trainer for 2020, earning over $18 million in purses for the year. Along with the monetary earnings, Cox, trainer of Monomoy Girl, also trained the winners of 30 graded stakes horses over the course of the year as well as four Breeder’s Cup races in 2020.
Godolphin’s undefeated Essential Quality, one to keep an eye on during the Kentucky Derby season, won the Champion male two-year-old category. The colt by Tapit was the winner of the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. Vequist won the honor of Champion two-year-old female horse.
Continuing his dominance in the Outstanding Jockey award, Irad Ortiz won his third straight award by compiling an impressive resume that included leading all North American jockeys by winning 300 races in 2020 and over $21 million in total purses.
Rounding out some of the other major awards was Godolphin, who won the Outstanding Owner Eclipse award as their horses won 80 races last year in North America, 8 of which were graded stakes races. Channel Maker won Male Turf Horse of the year while Rushing Fall won Female Turf horse of the year. Alexander Crispin, a mostly mid-Atlantic jockey, won the award for apprentice jockey of the year.
The Eclipse Awards were broadcast on TVG, and for the first time ever, there was no one in attendance due to social distance precautions. The awards are named after 18th-century racehorse and sire Eclipse.
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