The 42nd annual Eclipse Awards, celebrating excellence in Thoroughbred racing for 2012, will be handed out on Saturday evening, January 19 in a ceremony at the Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Winners in all seventeen horse and human categories will be announced on stage, but the eyes of the racing world will be waiting for the final announcement of the night, when the golden trophy for Horse of the Year will be handed over to the owners of either Fort Larned, I'll Have Another, or Wise Dan, the three finalists for the coveted award.
The Eclipse Awards ceremony will be televised live on HRTV this year. If you wish to attend, tickets to the Eclipse Awards are available for $375 each. Order forms for tickets are available here. The Eclipse Awards are presented by Daily Racing Form, The Stronach Group and Breeders' Cup and produced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).
Finalists were announced on January 5 by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters, the three voting blocs who decide the winners by secret ballot. Of the 272 eligible voters representing the NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and the NTWAB, 254 individuals (93.38%) took part in this year's voting. Finalists were determined in each category by voters' top three selections, using a 10-5-1 point system. Eclipse Award winners are determined solely by first place votes.
The Media Eclipse Awards have already been announced and the winners can be viewed here:
- Writing - Ryan Goldberg and Mary Simon
- Television - NBC Sports and ESPN
- Audio/Multi-Media Internet - Glenye Cain Oakford of Daily Racing Form
- Photography - Tom Keyser
Below are all the finalists in alphabetical order with a link to a profile or bio for each finalist with stats. More stats and lifetime past performances for all the finalists are available from Daily Racing Form.
The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies. The formal Eclipse awards didn't start until 1971 when the current system of using a combined poll of the Daily Racing Form staff, the NTRA (previous the TRA), and the members of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (formerly National Turf Writers Association) was adopted. Prior to 1979, there was no separate Male and Female Grass category. Sprint champions were not selected every year until 1971, and were not divided by sex until 2009.
You can view previous winner of the Eclipse Awards plus annual champions prior to that back to 1936 as listed in the American Racing Manual here.