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Owner William Warren accepts the Champion Older Male Eclipse Award for Saint Liam.

2005 Eclipse Award Ceremony

Date: 01/24/2006

Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr.'s Kentucky-bred Saint Liam garnered the top award Monday night at the Eclipse Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The five-year-old horse was trained by Dick Dutrow, Jr. and ridden by both Edgar Prado and Jerry Bailey, who retires from the saddle this Saturday.

Saint Liam was also voted Champion Older Male with a campaign that included starts in Florida, Kentucky, California, and New York. The 5-year-old horse retired after his win in the Breeders' Cup Classic and will begin stud duty at Lane's End this spring.

Saint Liam earned $4,456,995 in 2005 with a record of four Grade 1 wins and one second in 6 outings.

Mrs. Suzanne Warren accepts the Horse of the Year Eclipse Award for Saint Liam from D.G. Van Clief of the Breeders' Cup.
Co-owner William Warren said, "It's unbelievable. This is better than winning the Kentucky Derby. It's certainly better financially. This horse has finally got me out of the red. After 20 years in this business, I was hobbling along pretty much by myself. I decided I needed to change things."

Wife and co-owner Suzanne Warren said, "I can't believe this has happened; it's inconceivable. For horse owners, this is the pinnacle. We're astounded. Afleet Alex was a formidable horse. But he couldn't compete at the right time. It doesn't only take a fast horse, but a sound horse all year long to win this (award). We were very fortunate."

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said, "He was something else and I'm never going to forget him."

It was an eventful night, with tough competition for the 2005 Eclipse Awards. Media trophies were distributed first, as they had already been announced. They were followed by the NTRA Moment of the Year which went to Afleet's Alex's stumbling in the Preakness and miraculous recovery to go on for the win.

Dave Johnson presents the Award of Merit to Penny Chenery.
The Eclipse Award of Merit went to a very grateful Penny Chenery, who got a standing ovation. She reminisced about her father's weakening condition, but he did get to know of Riva Ridge's Kentucky Derby win, while having in the barn a two-year-old named Secretariat who would give the family more than they ever dreamed with his Triple Crown win and exciting career. Chenery thanked the industry and fans and asked horsemen to "Sign every autograph, give every interview...participate and show people how great thoroughbred racing is and preserve it for all of us. I've loved doing this for thirty-some years and I'm still loving it."

Newly retired jockey Jerry Bailey presented the Steeplechase Horse of the Year to McDynamo, never off the board in 2005 for owner Michael J. Moran and trainer Sama Hendricks.

Turf Female Intercontinental, a daughter of Danehill bred by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Robert Frankel, won in a landslide after five wins and one second from seven starts. This was the first time a trainer conditioned both Turf Female and Turf Male Champions.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Aleo at the reception before the award ceremony.
Sprinter of the Year was the popular Lost in the Fog who garnered his only defeat in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Owner Harry Aleo said, "Secretariat lost a few races; Man o' War lost, too. So, Lost in the Fog's 10 for 11; that's not too bad. With a little bit of racing luck, we'll be right back here next year. We have our eyes on the Breeders' Cup next year."

It was not much of a surprise when it was announced that Ashado captured the Older Female title, the crowded room stood up to applaud the talented filly. The daughter of Saint Ballado won three of seven starts in 2005 for owner/breeders Aaron and Marie Jones. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, she campaigned on the East Coast capturing the Ogden Phipps Handicap and the Beldame, both Grade 1's.

The Cash is King group with their Special Eclipse Award.
Cash Is King Stable won the Special Eclipse Award. They campaigned the Lemonade touting Afleet Alex. When the group heard about young cancer patient Alex Scott's lemonade stand for pediatric cancer research, they pledged a portion of their horse's earnings towards the charity. Through the course of the year, they helped Alex's Lemonade Stand raise over $3.5 million.

Later in the evening, Afleet Alex, winner of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, won the Three-Year-Old Male Championship. Cash is King Stable's managing partner Chuck Zacney said, "What a whirlwind for us. Five friends get together and start a partnership in 2004. We bought a horse and he starts winning - and winning. Through everything, it's been because of one person - (trainer) Tim Ritchey. He knew what made Alex tick more than anyone else."

The Three-Year-Old Filly award went to Phipps Stable's Smuggler, a daughter of Unbridled out of Private Account mare Inside Information. Trainer Shug McGaughey has won 6 Eclipse Awards for the stable and three prior to becoming their private trainer.

Todd Pletcher and his wife Tracy on the red carpet before the award ceremony.
Leading trainer was a tough contest with Steve Asmusssen and Robert Frankel bowing to Todd Pletcher, last year's winning trainer. Pletcher thanked mentor D. Wayne Lukas and said "thanks for letting me come back again." The conditioner won 240 races and $17.5 million including 77 stakes races, 38 of those graded events. Pletcher trained Ashado in 2004, her champion three-year-old season, Lukas captured back-to-back female awards with Life's Magic in 1984 and '85.

Pletcher said, "This is really a team award, a team effort and I've been blessed with some tremendous owners, a tremendmous staff that is very dedicated and very focused on training our horses,"

Emma-Jayne Wilson makes her acceptance speech.
Canadian wonder Emma-Jayne Wilson won the Apprentice Jockey Award after capturing the riding title at Woodbine and the Sovereign Award as outstanding apprentice jockey in Canada.

Wilson said, "I'm floored. I was so nervous about two categories before mine and then when it came up, I thought my heart was going to come out of my chest. What a ride it's been, I even went and bought a new dress for this, which is something different for me. I just hope this is a sign of many more good things to come. I want to thank the horses the most, they are the ones that took me around there."

John Velazquez, last year's winner in the category, repeated as Champion Jockey for 2005. He rode such top horses as Ashado, Flower Alley, Leroidesanimaux, and Bandini, and garnered nearly $20.8 million with 250 wins. He is the regular rider for champion trainer Todd Pletcher.

Merv Griffin accepts the Champion 2-Year-Old Male award for Stevie Wonderboy from Larry King.
The Eclipse for Champion Two-Year-Old Male was awarded to owner Merv Griffin's Stevie Wonderboy, trained by Doug O'Neil. Two impressive graded wins, one on the West Coast, one on the East Coast, helped the son of Stephen Got Even gain the vote.

Griffin joked, "My horse isn't blind; he just wears really big sunglasses. I could have named him Stevie Wonderbread. Don't get me started." He also sang a few bars of "My Old Kentucky Home".

D. Wayne Lukas trained the Two-Year-Old Filly Champion, Folklore for Bob and Beverly Lewis's sixth Eclipse Award, and Lukas' record 24th. Folklore is the daughter of leading freshman sire Tiznow. She captured four wins and three seconds in 7 starts.

Co-owner Beverly Lewis said, "We've had a number of marvelous years in racing and last year was no exception," Husband Bob was unable to attend the awards due to illness.

Adena Springs was honored with the Breeder's championship. The farm, owned by Frank Stronach, produced earnings of over $11 million. Mr. Stronach wife Frieda accepted the award in his absence. Mr. Stronach was attending the victory party of daughter Belinda, who was re-elected as a Member of Parliament in the Canadian federal elections.

Owner Michael Gill finally gets his Eclipse Award.
Maryland-based owner, Michael Gill was named Owner of the Year. This was his fourth consecutive nomination and first Eclipse Award.

Gill said, "They call me controversial. But what's so controversial about telling the truth? I like to think I represent the underdog in racing. Why did I win this now when I didn't have as good a year (as the past two)? I believe it's because most people, when given the chance, are fair. I'm going to miss racing and I think racing is going to miss me back."

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