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Eclipse w/ Mr.Wildman & His Sons
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31 in. x 26 in
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2003 Eclipse Award Winners

Date: 01/26/2004

The 2003 Eclipse Awards were handed out on Monday January 26th and Mineshaft came out the big winner with both Champion Handicap Horse and Horse of the Year. Much speculation had been given as to whether he deserved to be Horse of the Year since he retired early and did not compete at the Breeders' Cup, despite winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Pimlico Special, Suburban, and Woodward, all Grade 1 contests. However, the voting was not even close. Mineshaft got 209 votes, while runner-up Congaree only had eleven and third choice Halfbridled had nine. Three voters abstained from voting for Horse of the Year.

Defending champion Azeri repeated as Champion Older Female with 123 votes over second choice Sightseek's 107 votes, while the undefeated Halfbridled took home Two-Year-Old Filly honors. Despite her flawless record, Halfbridled was not a unanimous winner as one voter out of the 248 went to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Ashado. In the human categories, Bobby Frankel won the trainer award for the fifth consecutive year, and Jerry Bailey won the jockey award for the fifth year in a row and seventh time in nine years.

It is worth noting that of the 313 eligible voters amongst the NTRA/Equibase, the Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers Association, only 79% of them (248) voted for the Eclipse Awards. Voters were asked to select their top three choices in each category, so as to have three finalists in each division, but the winners were determined solely by first-place votes.

All the winners for 2003 are listed below with the actual vote totals. A link to a full profile with 2003 past performances is given for each horse. To see all this years finalists with profiles for each, check here. You can look up past year's winners here. You can see how the awards are decided here.

Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male: Mineshaft

  Horse of the Year: Mineshaft 209, Congaree 11, Halfbridled 9,
    Funny Cide 4, all others 12
  Older Male: Mineshaft - 221, Congaree 11, Pleasantly Perfect 7,
    all others 9

  More from Blood Horse

Two-Year-Old Male: Action This Day

Vote totals:   Action This Day 114, Cuvee 42, Birdstone 23, all others 66

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Two-Year-Old Filly: Halfbridled

Vote totals:   Halfbridled 247, Ashado 1

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Three-Year-Old Male: Funny Cide

Vote totals:   Funny Cide 150, Empire Maker 92, Ten Most Wanted 4, all others 1

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Three-Year-Old Female: Bird Town

Vote totals:   Bird Town 96, Six Perfections 94, Composure 20, all others 37

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Older Female: Azeri

Vote totals:   Azeri 123, Sightseek 107, Adoration 9, all others 8

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Sprinter: Aldebaran

Vote totals:   Aldebaran 137, Cajun Beat 74, Congaree 27, all others 10

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Male Turf Horse: High Chaparral

Vote totals:   High Chaparral 138, Storming Home 73, Johar 17, all others 18

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Female Turf Horse: Islington

Vote totals:   Islington 90, Heat Haze 74, Six Perfections 66, all others 18

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Steeplechase: McDynamo

Vote totals:   McDynamo 225, Praise the Prince 4, abstaining 19

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Owner: Juddmonte Farms

Vote totals:   Juddmonte Farms 102, Michael Gill 51, Edmund Gann 32, all others 57

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Breeder: Juddmonte Farms

Vote totals:   Juddmonte Farms 171, Frank Stronach/Adena Springs 36, John Franks 9, all others 28

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Trainer: Robert Frankel

Vote totals:   Robert Frankel 193, Richard Mandella 44, Todd Pletcher 5, all others 6

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Jockey: Jerry Bailey

Vote totals:   Jerry Bailey 211, Patrick Valenzuela 17, Edgar Prado 10, all others 10

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Apprentice Jockey: Eddie Castro

Vote totals:   Eddie Castro 147, Ryan Fogelsonger 52, Pablo Fragoso 12, all others 15, abstaining 22

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How the Awards are Decided

This year the voting was changed from past years. Under the new rules, the three-bloc voting system was replaced with a one vote per person system, where every voter's selection is weighted equally. Ranked their top three selections in each of the 16 voting categories and points are awarded on a 10-5-1 basis. The voting point system determines the three finalists in each category, but the winner is determined by first-place votes only. To see all the details of the new voting format from DRF, check here.

More about the Eclipse Awards:

Photos ©2004 Cindy Pierson Dulay

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