Zenyatta Wins Horse of the Year!
Posted by Brian Appleton on January 18, 2011
History has been made, the names set in stone, the champions have all been crowned and one of the most popular and talented race mares in history has been awarded the most prestigious honor in American thoroughbred horse racing.
It was all celebration and rejoicing at the 40th Eclipse Awards Monday night, especially when Horse of the Year winner was announced. After it was all said and done there were virtually no surprises in the Eclipse Award voting.
Undefeated juvenile’s Unlce Mo and Awesome Feather both were runaway winners in their respective categories as Champion 2-Year-Old Male and Female.
Zenyatta was one vote away from being a unanimous choice for Champion Older Female as she took home the trophy for the third consecutive year. You have to wonder who that one voter was and what in the world they were thinking voting against Zenyatta.
Blame was a unanimous choice for Champion Older Male off his Breeders’ Cup Classic victory while Champion Male Turf Horse was won for the second straight year by Gio Ponti.
Big Drama seized the Male Sprinter award while Dubai Majesty took Female Sprinter, both wins helped along by their Breeders’ Cup victories in November.
For the second year in a row European super-mare Goldikova ran away with the Champion Female Turf Horse award based off her third consecutive Breeders’ Cup Mile win.
The two lucky winners in the sophomore category were no surprise as Blind Luck and Lookin At Lucky each snagged an easy win for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly and Male respectively.
For the 7th time Adena Springs walked away with a win in the Breeders category while trainer Todd Pletcher received his 5th Eclipse trophy after a banner year that saw him lead all trainers in earnings as well as win the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and 3 Breeders’ Cup races.
Ramon Dominguez won his first award as Champion Jockey while Omar Moreno won Apprentice Jockey who earned more than twice that of his closest rival for the award.
WinStar Farm won the Eclipse Award for outstanding owner after winning the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes with two different runners.
After finishing second for two straight years in Horse of the Year voting, Champion Older Female Zenyatta finally won racing’s most prestigious award. Mere minutes after becoming Champion Older Female for the third consecutive year, the wildly popular race mare became 2010 Horse of the Year, beating out Older Male Champion and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame. The win marks the first time in history that the Horse of the Year award has been won by female runners in consecutive years. The 2009 award went to Champion filly Rachel Alexandra.
Zenyatta is now happily retired to Lanes End where she awaits her first breeding. She retired with 19 wins from 20 starts, the only blemish on her record coming in a heart-breaking nose loss to Blame in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic. She holds the record for the most consecutive Grade 1 wins at 9, a record that is likely to stand for a long time.
It was the one prize that had eluded her and now Zenyatta’s legacy is complete. This is beyond a doubt one of the most popular Horse of the Year wins in the history of the Eclipse Awards , not to mention one of the most hotly contested.
Congratulations to all the winners and their connections!