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by George Stubbs
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The 36th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony were held Monday night at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, honoring the champions of North American racing in 2006. Invasor was named the 2006 Horse of the Year as well as the Champion Older Male, capping off an outstanding season where he reeled off consecutive Grade 1 victories in the Pimlico Special, Suburban, Whitney, and Breeders' Cup Classic for owners Darley Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. This year 86% of eligible voters cast their ballots, which was an improvement over the 80% who voted last year.
Among the multiple year winners, Frank Stronach's Adena Springs was awarded Champion Breeder for the third year in a row and fourth overall. As well, Ouija Board won her second Eclipse as Champion Female Turf Horse, having also won the award in 2004. Incidentally those were the two years she won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, her only 2 starts in North America. Breeders' Cup Steeplechase winner McDynamo won the Steeplechase Eclipse for the third year in a row, and trainer Todd Pletcher took home the Trainer award, also for the third year in a row.
In one of the most hotly debated categories, Preakness, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Bernardini beat out sentimental favorite Barbaro, winner of the Kentucky Derby, with 210 votes to 56. Despite their horse being shut out of the voted awards, Team Barbaro was given a Special Eclipse Award, recognizing the efforts of owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, trainer Michael Matz, jockey Edgar Prado, and the medical team at the University of Pennsylvania NewBolton Center, led by Dr. Dean Richardson.
One of the biggest surprises was in the Owner category, where Darley Stable, who raced Invasor and Bernardini, dead-heated for the win with Lael Stables, owners of Barbaro and Showing Up. This is only the fourth tie in Eclipse Awards history.
All the winners for 2006 are listed below with the actual vote totals. A link to a full profile with 2006 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: Invasor
HOY Vote totals: Invasor, 228; Barbaro, 21; Bernardini, 16; Lava Man, 3; Ouija
Board, 3. No Abstentions.
Older Male Vote totals: Invasor, 262; Lava Man, 8; Voter Abstentions, 1.
Two-Year-Old Male: Street Sense
Vote totals: Street Sense, 229; Circular Quay, 13; Tiz Wonderful, 11; Nobiz Like
Shobiz, 9; Scat Daddy, 5; Great Hunter, 2; Day Pass, 1; Stormello, 1.
Two-Year-Old Filly: Dreaming of Anna
Vote totals: Dreaming of Anna, 265; Octave, 3; Boca Grande 1; Point Ashley, 1. Voter
Three-Year-Old Male: Bernardini
Vote totals: Bernardini, 210; Barbaro, 56; Discreet Cat, 4; Jazil, 1.
Three-Year-Old Female: Wait a While
Vote totals: Wait a While, 138; Pine Island, 108; Bushfire, 18; Ermine, 3; Lemons
Forever, 1. Voter abstentions, 3.
Older Female: Fleet Indian
Vote totals: Fleet Indian, 213; Round Pond, 48; Asi Siempre, 4; Gorella (FR) 2; Ouija
Board, 2; Pool Land, 1; Spun Sugar, 1.
Sprinter: Thor's Echo
Vote totals: Thor's Echo, 213; Discreet Cat, 39; Henny Hughes, 15; Bishop Court Hill,
1. Bordonaro, 1; Proud Tower Too, 1. Voter Abstentions, 1.
Male Turf Horse: Miesque's Approval
Vote totals: Miesque's Approval, 74; The Tin Man, 69; English Channel, 63; Red Rocks, 21; Aragorn 19; Showing Up, 12; Lava Man, 7; Ashkal Way (IRE), 1; Better Talk Now, 1; Collier Hill ,1. Voter Abstentions, 3.
Female Turf Horse: Ouija Board
Vote totals: Ouija Board, 217; Gorella 35; Wait a While 15. Voter Abstentions, 4.
Vote totals: McDynamo, 239; Sur La Tete, 6; Hirapour 2; Mixed Up 1; Voter Abstentions, 23.
Owner: Darley Stable (Sheikh Mohammed)
Lael Stables (Roy and Gretchen Jackson) (tie)
Vote totals: Darley Stable, 110 and Lael Stables, 110; Shadwell Stable, 17; Live Oak
Plantation, 13; Maggi Moss, 9; Louis O'Brien, 2; Frank Calabrese, 1;
Robert Cole, Jr., 1; Melnyk Racing Stable, 1; J. Paul Reddam, 1; STD
Racing and Jason Wood, 1; Stronach Stables, 1. Voter Abstentions, 4.
Breeder: Adena Springs
Vote totals: Adena Springs, 119; Mr. & Mrs. Roy Jackson, 47; Darley, 44; Live Oak Stud, 24; William S. Farish, 11; Thomas/Lakin, 7; Farnsworth Farms, 3; WinStar Farm, LLC, 2; Haras Clausan, 1; E. Paul Robsham, 1; Stanley Estate and Stud Co., 1. Voter Abstentions, 11.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Vote totals: Todd Pletcher, 194; Kiaran McLaughlin, 29; Michael Matz, 18; Doug O'Neill, 11; Scott Lake, 7; Tom Albertrani, 3; Bill Mott, 3; Scott Blasi, 1; George Yetsook, 1. Voter Abstentions, 4.
Jockey: Edgar Prado
Vote totals: Edgar Prado, 152; Garrett Gomez, 90; Russell Baze, 14; Julien Leparoux,
7 ; Ramon Dominguez, 3; John Velazquez, 3; Fernando Jara, 1. Voter Abstention, 1.
Apprentice Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Vote totals: Julien Leparoux, 254; Rosie Napravnik, 7; Martin Garcia, 6; Voter Abstentions, 4.
How the Awards are Decided
The old three-bloc voting system was replaced in 2003 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:
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