Las Vegas, NV -- The 2011 Eclipse Awards were handed out last Monday night in Beverley Hills in an elaborate ceremony that fans across country could only view online. The Daily Racing Form, National Thoroughbred Racing Association and National Turf Writers Association all came together as they do every year to determine this year's winners.
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Despite the lack of one dominant super-star horse during the 2011 season, there were few surprises in each category. Here is a breakdown of all of this year's Eclipse Award winners and the credentials that brought them to their prestigious honor.
Havre de Grace won 5 of 7 races in 2011, including the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and the Woodward Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park against her male counterparts. Havre de Grace had three graded stakes wins in 2011 and became the third straight female to win the night's biggest award.
Among the races that Hansen won in 2011 are the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs and Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes at Turfway Park - the most impressive win being his upset win over Union Rage in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Miss Aurelia was an obvious choice here - wins at the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park and Adirondack Stakes (G2) at Saratoga put her in the spotlight and she didn't disappoint all season long.
Animal Kingdom made his mark early in the 2011 season - a win at of the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 3/4 lengths and runner-up in the Preakness Stakes (G2). Animal Kingdom was a disappointing 6th at the Belmont Stakes - his last race of the year because of injury. He also won the Vinery Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park during a very productive year.
Royal Delta won the TVG Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico and the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1). Her Breeder's Cup win was extremely impressive - good enough to give Royal Delta the Eclipse Award nod this year!
Acclamation won the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita (Turf), TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) at Del Mar (Synthetic), Eddie Read Stakes (G1) at Del Mar (Turf), Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (G1) at Hollywood Park (Turf) and Jim Murray Handicap (G2) at Hollywood Park. Acclamation was superb on turf last year - won four consecutive graded stakes on that surface.
We already know how good Havre de Grace was in 2011 - wins at the Beldame Invitational (G1) at Saratoga, Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga versus the boys, Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park, Obeah Stakes (G3) at Delaware Park Racetrack and Azeri Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park made her an obvious choice for this Award.
Cape Blanco won three straight graded stakes races in 2011 - the Man O'War Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, Arlington Million (G1) at Arlington Park and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. Obvious choice here!
Stacelita won the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park and Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on her way to the Eclipse Award for 2011.
Amazombie won the Ancient Title Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita, Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs, Potrero Grande Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita, Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes at SA and Tiznow Stakes at Hollywood Park - a terrific year for trainer Bill Spawr.
Musical Romance won the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (G2) and the Breeders' Cup Fillies and Mare Sprint (G1). She only won 5 of 14 starts but she was very impressive in some of the bigger races of the 2011 season.
Black Jack Blue made two starts this year and won both stakes on his way to becoming the most successful horse in this category - IN JUST TWO RACES!!!
Mott had quite a year - his horses swept the Top 2 races at the Breeder's Cup in 2011. His disciples earned $10,731,249 in purse money in 2011 and 101 wins.
Dominguez had an absolutely incredible year - 348 wins, $20,264,822 in purse money, 24% win percentage and 60% in the money - an obvious choice for the Eclipse!
Great year for this up-and-comer - 153 wins and a total purse earnings of $4,052,449.