The Oscars of horse racing

The finalists for what can essentially be thought of as horse racing’s “Oscars,” the Eclipse Awards, were released yesterday! And the nominees are…


The finalists were chosen by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.  The winners of the 17 categories will be announced at the 43rd annual Eclipse Awards on January 18.

Let’s take a quick look back at some of the amazing 2013 performances that put these horses on the list:

Finalist for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly: BEHOLDER in the Breeder’s Cup Distaff

Finalist for Female Sprinter: GROUPIE DOLL in the Breeder’s Cup Fillies and Mares Sprint

Finalist for Horse of the Year: WISE DAN in the Breeder’s Cup Mile

Finalist for Champion 3-Year Old Male: ORB winning the Kentucky Derby

Finalists for Horse of the Year: MUCHO MACHO MAN and WILL TAKE CHARGE in the Breeder’s Cup Classic

Here is the full list of the finalists:

• Horse of the Year: Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge, Wise Dan

• 2-Year-Old Male: Havana, New Year’s Day  , Shared Belief

• 2-Year-Old Filly: Chriselliam, Ria Antonia, She’s a Tiger

• 3-Year-Old Male: Orb  , Palace Malice, Will Take Charge

• 3-Year-Old Filly: Beholder, Close Hatches, Princess of Sylmar

• Older Male: Game On Dude, Mucho Macho Man, Wise Dan

• Older Female: Joyful Victory, Royal Delta, Tiz Miz Sue

• Male Sprinter: Points Offthebench, Sahara Sky, Secret Circle

• Female Sprinter: Dance to Bristol, Groupie Doll, Mizdirection

• Male Turf Horse: Magician, Point of Entry  , Wise Dan

• Female Turf Horse: Dank, Laughing, Mizdirection

• Steeplechase Horse: Divine Fortune, Gustavian, Italian Wedding

• Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Midwest Thoroughbreds, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

• Breeder: Adena Springs, Morton Fink, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

• Trainer: Bob Baffert, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher

• Jockey: Javier Castellano, Joel Rosario, Gary Stevens

• Apprentice Jockey: Victor Carrasco, Manuel Franco, Edgard Zayas

Go Racing!

Heather Benson is a former racetrack executive, professional handicapping analyst and owner of a Triple Crown winner (well, at least a horse that played one in a movie). But far more importantly, she is a is still that girl who gets giddy when the starting gate opens and cries every time she watches a replay of Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes. Join her each month as she takes you on a journey through the world of horse racing, from top to bottom, with a little bit of everything in between! Heather also operates Back Forty Media and Marketing, a full service marketing firm focusing on telling story of equine ventures around the country. Go to her website for more info and to follow her on Facebook at


“Me and my ‘Triple Crown winner,’ a.k.a. Cyclone Larry, taken at the North Dakota Horse Park in 2009. He was a racing prospect I owned that failed utterly as a racehorse but was cast in the role of ‘Secretariat’ in the 2010 Disney movie by the same name.”


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