Finalists for the 2021 Eclipse Awards were announced Saturday for 16 categories, but not for Horse of the Year. The winner of that golden statuette, and all the divisional champions, will be revealed at a Santa Anita gala on Feb. 10, the Thursday night going into Super Bowl weekend.
The Eclipse Award electorate comprises voters from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form (DRF), and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB). The 235 participating voters (95.9% of the 245 eligible) determined the finalists by ranking their first, second, and third choices in each category. Points on a 10-5-1 scale were accorded to the top three choices, but only first-place votes will decide the champions.
Named for the unbeaten 18th-century superstar and foundation sire Eclipse, the awards also include six media categories and the Horseplayer of the Year. The media winners and horseplayer Justin Mustari will be honored during the Feb. 10 ceremony.
Although Horse of the Year finalists were not disclosed, it is widely expected that Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Knicks Go will take top honors.
Here are the finalists, in alphabetical order, by category:
Two-year-old male: Corniche, Jack Christopher, Modern Games
Two-year-old female: Echo Zulu, Juju’s Map, Pizza Bianca
Three-year-old male: Essential Quality, Life Is Good, Medina Spirit
Three-year-old female: Clairiere, Malathaat, Santa Barbara
Older dirt male: Knicks Go, Maxfield, Mystic Guide
Older dirt female: Letruska, Marche Lorraine, Shedaresthedevil
Male sprinter: Aloha West, Flightline, Jackie’s Warrior
Female sprinter: Bella Sofia, Ce Ce, Gamine
Turf male: Domestic Spending, Space Blues, Yibir
Turf female: Loves Only You, Santa Barbara, War Like Goddess
Steeplechaser: Baltimore Bucko, Snap Decision, The Mean Queen
Owner: Godolphin, Juddmonte Farms, Klaravich Stables
Breeder: Calumet Farm, Godolphin, Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings
Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Chad Brown, Brad Cox
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr., Flavien Prat, Joel Rosario
Apprentice jockey: John Hiraldo, Charlie Marquez, Jessica Pyfer