California Chrome was voted 2016 Horse of the Year, an honor which he also won in 2014, at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fl. The 6-year-old became North America’s all time leading money earner last year thanks to wins in the Dubai World Cup, TVG Pacific Classic and a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
California Chrome becomes the first two-time Horse of the Year to win the honor in non-consecutive years since John Henry achieved it in 1981 and 1984. Owned by California Chrome LLC of Perry Martin and Taylor Made Farm, and trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome received 202 first-place votes for Horse of the Year.
Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate, who was named Outstanding 3-year-old Male, finished second with 40 votes, followed by Fox Hill Farms’ filly Songbird with five votes. Songbird was voted the unanimous winner of the 3-Year-Old Filly Eclipse Award earlier this evening.
Not surprisingly, Chrome was also named the unanimous winner of the Older Dirt Male award, won 7 of 8 starts in 2016, including dominant victories in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and the TVG Pacific Classic, and propelled him to become the all-time leading North American money earner with $14,502,650.
The Eclipse Awards, honoring excellence in North American Thoroughbred racing, presented by The Stronach Group, Daily Racing Form and the Breeders’ Cup, are voted on by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB).
Arrogate was spectacular in securing the 3-year-old title under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. A son of former 2-year-old champion Unbridled’s Song, Arrogate won the Travers Stakes by 13 ½ lengths, in 1:59.36, the fastest time in the 147-year history of the race. Eight weeks later he wore down California Chrome to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Arrogate is the seventh Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old trained by Baffert.
Songbird, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, won seven of eight starts last year on her way to Champion 3-Year-Old Filly title. Among her wins were grade one victories in the Santa Anita Oaks, the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Cotillion Stakes. She lost the only race of her career when defeated a nose to the champion Older Dirt Female winner Beholder in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
The complete list of 2016 Eclipse Awards winners and vote totals appears below:
Two-Year-Old Male: Classic Empire
Two-Year-Old Filly: Champagne Room
Three-Year-Old Male: Arrogate
Three-Year-Old Filly: Songbird
Older Dirt Male: California Chrome
Older Dirt Female: Beholder
Male Sprinter: Drefong
Female Sprinter: Finest City
Male Turf Horse: Flintshire (GB)
Female Turf Horse: Tepin
Steeplechase Horse: Rawnaq (IRE)
Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Inc.
Breeder: WinStar Farm LLC
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Apprentice Jockey: Luis Ocasio
Trainer: Chad Brown
Media Eclipse Awards
Media Eclipse Awards also are given in the categories of photography, audio and multi-media Internet, news/enterprise writing, feature/commentary writing, national television–feature and national television–live racing programming to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The 2016 Media Eclipse Awards winners, determined by a judges’ panel for each category and previously announced, are:
Live Racing Programming – NBC Sports – “2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Billy Matthews, producer; November 5, 2016.
Television Features – ESPN – E:60; “Barnyard Buddies,”. Megan Anderson, Heather Lombardo, Tonya Malinowski and Mike Johns, producers; May 3, 2016.
Audio/Multi-Media and Internet – Daily Racing Form – “Time Bandits,” Jay Hovdey (writer), Barbara Livingston (photographer) and Molly McGill (videographer); June 6, 2016.
Writing – News/Enterprise – Natalie Voss “’Something’s Wrong With My Brain’ – The Lurking Danger of Concussions for Jockeys,” Paulick Report. December 30, 2015.
Writing – Feature/Commentary – John Scheinman, “Andrew Beyer: Rebel with a Cause,” Paulick Report. November 12, 2016
Photography – Tod Marks – “George & John Sloan Hurdle,” Chronicle of the Horse, Untacked; May 14, 2016.