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Authentic wins two Eclipse Awards, including Horse of the Year

Jockey John Velazquez rides Authentic to win the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Jockey John Velazquez rides Authentic to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7, 2020, at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
(Associated Press)

Authentic, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic, won two Eclipse Awards on Thursday night, including Horse of the Year. The Santa Anita-based colt was retired in November at the top of his game to start a more lucrative career as a stallion.

Authentic won two of the four awards given to horses based in Southern California. Authentic also won the 3-Year-Old Male award joining Improbable as Older Dirt Male and Gamine as Female Sprinter. All three of the horses were trained by Bob Baffert, who was a finalist for trainer of the year but did not get the award for top trainer from the mostly East Coast-based voting bloc.

Brad Cox, who only had one Eclipse-winning horse, won the trainer award with 106 first-place votes compared to 69 for Baffert. Monomoy Girl, winner of Older Dirt Female, is trained by Cox.

Improbable won three Grade 1s last year and finished second to Authentic in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gamine won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint by 6¼ lengths. She crossed the finish line first in five of six races, but was disqualified from an allowance win because of a medication positive.

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The Eclipse Awards, the highest honor in horse racing, were presented for the first time as a virtual event, anchored at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky. Last year, Southern California horses won only one award, Storm the Court, in the 2-Year-Old Male category. In 2019, reflecting racing in 2018, locally based horses won eight Eclipses including awards for Justify, the last Triple Crown winner.

Scat’s Choice breaks down during a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies, becoming the third horse fatality at Santa Anita Park since Dec. 26.

Swiss Skydiver, who won the Preakness Stakes beating Authentic, was named 3-Year-Old Filly.

No horse was a unanimous winner, although Authentic came close as 3-Year-Old Male with 236 of the 238 first-place votes and 224 of 238 for Horse of the Year. Swiss Skydiver got 218 of 238 votes for 3-Year-Old Filly and Monomoy Girl got 234 of the 238 votes for Older Dirt Female. The Eclipse Awards are voted on by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn., Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. Only first-place votes are used to determine the winner.

Other winners were Essential Quality, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, was winner of the 2-Year-Old Male award and Vequist, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, was the top 2-Year-Old Filly. Whitmore, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, won top Male Sprinter.

In the turf categories, Channel Maker, winner of two Grade 1s, was top Male horse and Rushing Fall, winner of three of four Grade 1s, was the Female recipient.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. won the jockey Eclipse for the third year in a row, while Godolphin was the top owner and WinStar Farm was the top breeder. Moscato won the Steeplechase Award and Alexander Crispin was the top Apprentice Jockey.


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