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NTRA Thoroughbred Notebook

News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.


Led by Horse of the Year finalists Blame, Goldikova (IRE) and Zenyatta, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters today announced the finalists for 2010 Eclipse Awards, recognizing excellence in Thoroughbred racing. Winners in all 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 40th annual Eclipse Awards dinner ceremony on Monday evening, January 17, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla.
Record participation of 238 out of 251 voters (94.8%) representing the NTRA, the NTWAB and Daily Racing Form took part in this year’s voting. Finalists were determined in each category by voters’ top three selections, using a 10-5-1 point basis. Eclipse Award winners are determined solely by first place votes. The voting was audited by the Louisville accounting firm Strothman & Company.
Blame, winner of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic; Goldikova (IRE), the French mare who captured the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile; and Zenyatta, the Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up, are the three finalists for the coveted title of Horse of the Year.
The 4-year-old Blame, owned and bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, held off the fast closing 6-year-old mare Zenyatta by a head in the Classic on November 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Blame, who won four races in five starts in 2010, is also a finalist for champion Older Male. Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider are also finalists in both the Champion Owner and Champion Breeder categories.
As a 5-year-old, Goldikova captured her unprecedented third consecutive Breeders’ Cup Mile last fall in a season in which she won five group or grade I races. Goldikova is also a finalist in the Female Turf category. Owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, Goldikova has already won the 2010 Cartier Racing Award as the European Horse of the Year.
Zenyatta, runner up for Horse of the Year in 2008 and 2009, was undefeated in 19 career races prior to the Classic. A winner of five grade I races in 2010, she is also a finalist in the Older Female category, an award she has won the past two years. Zenyatta’s, owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, are finalists for Champion Owner, and Zenyatta’s trainer, John Shirreffs, is a finalist for Champion Trainer.
The Eclipse Awards finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
Horse of the Year: Blame, Goldikova (IRE), ZenyattaTwo-Year-Old Male: Boys at Tosconova, To Honor and Serve, Uncle MoTwo-Year-Old Filly: Awesome Feather, R Heat Lightning, Turbulent DescentThree-Year-Old Male: Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky, Paddy O’PradoThree-Year-Old Filly: Blind Luck, Evening Jewel, Havre de GraceOlder Male: Blame, Quality Road, Richard’s KidOlder Female: Life at Ten, Unrivaled Belle, ZenyattaMale Sprinter: Big Drama, Majesticperfection, Smiling TigerFemale Sprinter: Champagne d’Oro, Dubai Majesty, Rightly SoMale Turf Horse: Dangerous Midge, Gio Ponti, WinchesterFemale Turf Horse: Goldikova (IRE), Proviso (GB), Tuscan EveningSteeplechase Horse: Arcadius, Percussionist, Slip AwayOwner: Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, WinStar Farm Breeder: Adena Springs, Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, Brereton C. JonesTrainer: Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher, John ShirreffsJockey: Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, John VelazquezApprentice Jockey: Forest Boyce, Omar Moreno, Angel Serpa.


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters announced yesterday that Team Zenyatta-the individuals who helped the 6-year-old mare become one of the most recognizable sports stars of 2010-will be honored with the Special Eclipse Award at the 40th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony on Monday, January 17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, in Miami Beach, Fla.
The Special Award honors extraordinary service, individual achievements in, or contributions to the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
Team Zenyatta is led by owners Jerry and Ann Moss; trainer John Shirreffs; jockey Mike Smith; racing manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs; exercise rider Steve Willard; groom Mario Espinoza, hotwalker Carmen Zamona and assistant trainer Michelle Jensen.
In 2010, Zenyatta moved Thoroughbred racing off the racing pages and into the mainstream and social media spheres.
The year began with the unexpected decision by owners Jerry and Ann Moss to bring the undefeated Zenyatta out of a brief retirement following her dramatic victory in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Zenyatta continued that unbeaten streak in 2010 by winning her first five races of the season, all grade I stakes, at Santa Anita Park, Oaklawn Park, Hollywood Park and Del Mar. She delighted fans with her signature dance in the paddock before each race and with her electrifying finishes. As the year progressed, Zenyatta’s popularity grew into a cultural phenomenon. More than 60,000 fans attended the Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn in April, and her Facebook had more than 58,000 “friends”.
During the course of the season, trainer John Shirreffs offered extraordinary access to racing fans around the country who wanted to get close to Zenyatta at her barn and pose for pictures with her. At Churchill Downs in Louisville, crowds lined up along the barn area fence line to say good-bye to her on the day following the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Throughout 2010, the star power of Zenyatta transcended Thoroughbred racing. She was selected to Oprah Winfrey’s “O Power List” as one of the 20 most influential women of 2010. She was also featured in a photo spread in W Magazine. On October 31, more than 10 million viewers tuned in to CBS’s “60 Minutes” to watch a feature on Zenyatta and her amazing popularity.
Zenyatta’s participation in the Breeders’ Cup Classic helped to nearly triple the national ratings for the ESPN telecast compared to 2009 levels. The telecast was also the highest rated Breeders’ Cup since 1992. Her near miss against Blame in the Classic was repeatedly cited as one of the greatest moments in sports during 2010. Zenyatta finished second in The Associated Press’s 2010 Female Athlete of the Year balloting behind only Olympic gold medal winning skier Lindsey Vonn. In 2009, Zenyatta also finished second in the same ranking, behind tennis star Serena Williams.
The 40th Annual Eclipse Awards will be held on Monday, January 17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, in Miami Beach, Fla.


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters announced yesterday that Claiborne Farm, celebrating its 100th year as one of the most influential and successful international racing and breeding farms, will be honored with the Eclipse Award of Merit for outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing.
The owners of Claiborne Farm-Seth Hancock, along with his sisters Dell and Clay-will receive the Eclipse Award of Merit on Monday, January 17 at the 40th Annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla.
“It’s more of a tribute to my grandfather and father,” said Seth Hancock on the Eclipse Award. “My grandfather started all this over here in Kentucky, and my dad built it up into what it was, and I’m just trying to keep it going.”
Claiborne Farm, based in Paris, Ky., came into prominence through the strong leadership of Arthur B. Hancock, son of Virginia Civil War Captain and breeder Richard Hancock. In the first half of the 20th century, Arthur Hancock launched a breeding program that strongly influenced the path of American breeding Imported European horses Sir Gallahad III and Blenheim II sired Triple Crown winners Gallant Fox and Whirlaway, respectively. Meanwhile, Hancock’s bloodstock advice to many of America’s leading breeders added to his influence. Following his death in 1957, the English annual Bloodstock Breeders’ Review described him as “probably the most influential breeder in the history of the American Turf.” His son then stepped up to match that status in his own era.
Arthur B. (Bull) Hancock Jr. continued the pattern of breeding major winners, importing influential stallions, and conducting business with the elite among American breeders. Nasrullah led the sire list five times, and his son Bold Ruler-who led the list eight times-sired the 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Hancock also bred and stood Round Table, syndicated Nijinsky II, and managed the career of Buckpasser.
Following his father’s death in 1972, Seth Hancock, 23, syndicated Secretariat for a then-record $6 million, and established a new era for Claiborne. Hancock continued the family’s success, managing its own and clients’ high-quality broodmare bands, while such stallions as Mr. Prospector, Danzig, and Seeking the Gold continued to make headlines. In all, Claiborne stood the year’s leading sire a record 27 times. Some of the farm’s top victories on the racetrack were recorded by 1984 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Swale; homebred Forty Niner, the 1987 2-year-old champion; and two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Lure. Claiborne also demonstrated its international influence as the breeder of the stallions Nureyev and Caerleon, and of the dam of stallion Sadler’s Wells.
In a cap to its 100th year, the 4-year-old Blame, bred by Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider, won four graded stakes in 2010, culminating with a neck victory over Zenyatta in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“Like virtually all racing fans, I grew up watching horses bred and raised at Claiborne Farm win many of our sport’s most prestigious races,” said Robert N. Elliston, President and CEO of Turfway Park and NTRA Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Later, having worked in the industry, I gained an even greater understanding and appreciation for the decades of sustained excellence Claiborne has compiled. As it enters its second century of operating Claiborne Farm, the Hancock family continues in an unwavering quest to raise quality Thoroughbreds the only way it knows how–that is, the Claiborne way.”