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Eclipse with Mr.Wildman & His Sons
by George Stubbs
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2011 Eclipse Award Winners

Date: 01/16/2012

The 41st annual Eclipse Awards were held Monday night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Califorina, honoring the champions of North American racing in 2011. This year, 248 of the eligible voters (92.88%) cast ballots, and voting was audited by the Louisville accounting firm Strothman & Company.

Havre de Grace was named the 2011 Horse of the Year as well as the Champion Older Female. She is the third consecutive female Horse of the Year, following Rachel Alexandra in 2009 and Zenyatta in 2010. She started the year at Oaklawn winning the Azeri (G3) and Apple Blossom (G1), but the race which put her in contention for the golden trophy was her victory against older males in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga, a race that Rachel Alexandra also used in her championship campaign, and then trounced Royal Delta in the Beldame (G1) at Belmont Park. The Larry Jones trained daughter of Saint Liam was 5 for 7 and earned $1.623 million for the year, and collected 166 of the 244 first place cotes for Horse of the Year.
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Havre de Grace

Owner Rick Porter said, “It's some kind of thrill to win this award that I only dreamed of maybe 10, 15 years ago. As many of you know, I've seen the lowest of lows in horse racing and I've seen a lot of highs. But nothing rivals Havre de Grace, she's the most deserving horse. she has the most memorable campaign and accounted for the most excitement at the top level of the sport throughout the entire year. She did it her way. She won the big races when it counted. She is the perfect racehorse. I just hope we can do it again in 2012. (Trainer) Larry Jones makes it fun. He always puts a smile on my face and I think he's one of the most underrated trainers in the business.” Trainer Larry Jones, who briefly retired from the game but returned, said, "I already had called it a career but whenever you're dangled a horse like Havre de Grace to entice you to come back, everybody can see why I came back. My wife kept the stable together while I took some time off. She and my team kept it together to allow me to come back."

As has been typical the last few years, most of the categories had clear cut winners, but the closest race was for Champion Three-Year-Old Male, where Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom edged out Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb's Posse by just 3 votes. In the voting for Outstanding Owner, Ken and Sarah Ramsey defeated Midwest Thoroughbreds by 6 votes. At the other extreme, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner My Miss Aurelia was the near-unanimous choice for Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, with just 1 vote going to runner-up Stephanie's Kitten, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2). Similarly, only 3 voters did not choose Havre de Grace as Champion Older Female.

All the winners for 2011 are listed below with the actual vote totals. A link to a full profile is given for each horse and past performances for all the finalists are available here from Daily Racing Form. To see all this years finalists, check here. You can look up past year's winners here. You can see how the awards are decided here.

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Horse of the Year and Champion Older Female: Havre de Grace

HOY Vote totals:   Havre de Grace, 166 ; Acclamation, 26; Game On Dude, 10; Cape Blanco, 9;.

Vote totals for Older Female:   Havre de Grace, 245; Blind Luck, 2; Awesome Feather, 1.

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Two-Year-Old Male: Hansen

Vote totals:   Hansen, 194; Union Rags. 52; Secret Circle, 1; Overdriven, 1.

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Two-Year-Old Filly: My Miss Aurelia

Vote totals:   My Miss Aurelia, 247; Stephanie's Kitten, 1.

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Champion Three-Year-Old Male: Animal Kingdom

Vote totals:   Animal Kingdom, 114; Caleb’s Posse, 111; Shackleford, 12; Ruler On Ice, 5; Stay Thirsty, 4; Uncle Mo, 1.

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Champion Three-Year-Old Filly: Royal Delta

Vote totals:   Royal Delta, 243; Awesome Feather, 2; Plum Pretty. 2; Zazu, 1.

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Older Male: Acclaimation

Vote totals:   Acclamation, 95; Game On Dude, 70; Tizway, 52; Drosselmeyer, 21; Flat Out, 4; Cape Blanco, 3; Wise Dan, 1; abstained, 1.

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Male Sprinter: Amazombie

Vote totals:   Amazombie, 201; Caleb's Posse, 42; Regally Ready, 2; The Factor, 2; Jackson Bend, 1.

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Female Sprinter: Musical Romance

Vote totals:   Musical Romance, 131; Hilda's Passion, 53; Sassy Image, 46; Turbulent Descent, 13; Switch, 2.

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Male Turf Horse: Cape Blanco

Vote totals:   Cape Blanco, 172; Acclamation, 55 votes; St Nicholas Abbey, 16; Court Vision, 2; Turallure, 2; Drosselmeyer, 1.

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Female Turf Horse: Stacelita

Vote totals:   Stacelita, 158; Perfect Shirl, 28; Never Retreat, 25; Dubawi Heights, 17; Summer Soiree, 4; Aruna 3; Winter Memories, 3; Goldikova, 2; Cambina, 1; Cozi Rosie, 1; Sarah Lynx, 1; Star Billing, 1; Together, 1; abstained, 3.

Steeplechase: Black Jack Blues

Vote totals:   Blackjack Blues, 137; Tax Ruling, 80; Decoy Daddy, 1; Divine Fortune, 1; Lake Placid, 1; Sermon of Love, 1; abstained, 37.

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Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey

Vote totals:   Ken and Sarah Ramsey, 66; Midwest Thoroughbreds, 60; Team Valor, 25.

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Breeder: Adena Springs (Frank Stronach)

Vote totals:   Adena Springs, 151; Ken and Sarah Ramsey, 62; Brereton C. Jones, 2.

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Trainer: Bill Mott

Vote totals:   Bill Mott, 83; Bob Baffert, 60; Todd Pletcher, 57; Graham Motion, 23; Steve Asmussen 15.

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Jockey: Ramon Dominguez

Vote totals:   Ramon Dominguez, 197; John Velazquez, 30; Javier Castellano, 14; abstained, 3.

Apprentice Jockey: Kyle Frey

Vote totals:   Kyle Frey, 77; Ryan Curatolo, 57; Rosario Montanez, 19; abstained 7.

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. Voters rank 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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