June 23, 2024

Cody’s Wish, Elite Power among 2023 Eclipse Awards finalists across divisions

The Eclipse Award trophy (Harold Roth/Horsephotos.com)

When the finalists for the 2023 Eclipse Awards were revealed on Saturday, a theme emerged of top performers qualifying for honors in more than one division. Champions will be announced Jan. 25 during the awards banquet at The Breakers Palm Beach.

Two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) hero Cody’s Wish and reigning champion sprinter Elite Power, who repeated in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), are finalists in both the older dirt male and male sprinter categories.

Similarly, reigning champion female sprinter Goodnight Olive, back-to-back heroine of her Breeders’ Cup event, appears in both her division and in the older dirt female voting. European-based sophomores Auguste Rodin and Mawj factor in both their respective three-year-old divisions as well as in the corresponding turf categories.

Horse of the Year finalists won’t be disclosed until the Jan. 25 gala. In a year lacking one stand-out, the balloting was likely contentious for the golden statuette.

The Eclipse electorate comprises members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and Daily Racing Form. A total of 88% (219 of 250 eligible voters) cast ballots for their top three choices in each category. While finalists were tabulated by points on a 10-5-1 scale for the top three, only first-place votes decide the Eclipse Award winners.

The awards are named in tribute to one of the foundation sires of the Thoroughbred, 18th-century great Eclipse, who was himself an undefeated star of the British turf.

2023 Eclipse Awards finalists, in alphabetical order by division:

Two-year-old male: Fierceness, Locked, Muth

Two-year-old female: Candied, Hard to Justify, Just F Y I

Three-year-old male: Arcangelo, Auguste Rodin, Mage

Three-year-old female: Mawj, Pretty Mischievous, Randomized

Older dirt male: Cody’s Wish, Elite Power, White Abarrio

Older dirt female: Clairiere, Goodnight Olive, Idiomatic

Male sprinter: Cody’s Wish, Elite Power, Gunite

Female sprinter: Echo Zulu, Goodnight Olive, Maple Leaf Mel

Turf male: Auguste Rodin, Master of the Seas, Up to the Mark

Turf female: In Italian, Inspiral, Mawj

Steeplechaser: Awakened, Merry Maker, Snap Decision

Owner: Godolphin, Juddmonte, Klaravich Stables

Breeder: Calumet Farm, Godolphin, Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings

Trainer: Chad Brown, Brad Cox, Bill Mott

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr., Flavien Prat, Tyler Gaffalione

Apprentice jockey: Axel Concepcion, Jaime A. Torres, Sofia Vives

Media awards and Horseplayer of the Year

Also to be honored are Horseplayer of the Year Paul Calia, winner of the NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas last March, and the winners of the media Eclipse Awards as listed below:

Writing – Feature/Commentary – Tim Layden, NBCSports.com, “Maple Leaf Mel and the long arc of a horse racing tragedy,” Nov. 1, 2023

Writing- News Enterprise – Sean Clancy, The Saratoga Special – “The Worst Test,” Aug. 6, 2023

Live Television Programming – NBC Sports – “The Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Nov. 3-4, 2023; Lindsay Schanzer, Senior Producer

Feature Television Programming – Woodbine Entertainment: “SECRETARIAT The Last Race,” – Oct. 8, 2023. Airing on TSN (The Sports Network) in Canada. Tammy Gillanders, Producer

Audio/Multimedia – TDN Writers’ Room Podcast – “Wade and Carson Yost,” September 20, 2023; Susan Finley, Publisher, Thoroughbred Daily News

Photography – Carolyn Simancik – “Trading Horse Paint,” (Cody’s Wish/National Treasure battle in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile [G1]), The Press Box, Nov. 4, 2023