The coronavirus pandemic impacted just about everything in 2020, including sports across the globe.
Thoroughbred racing was no exception, but by May racetracks started reopening with limited or no fans allowed, while the horses and those who care for them got back to business.
Not surprisingly, the pandemic also impacted the Eclipse Awards, which honor the Champions of 2020. The awards ceremony that crowned the Winners was held January 28th, and was produced as a virtual event.
Here then are the Big 3 of that ceremony:
HORSE OF THE YEAR: AUTHENTIC Trained by Bob Baffert
2020 record: 7 starts – 5 Wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds
2020 earnings: $7,170,000
Signature Wins: Breeders’ Cup Classic, Kentucky Derby, and the Haskell Stakes.
Notable: One of the top 3-year-olds early in the 2020 season, AUNTHENTIC cemented a Horse of the Year campaign by adding to his Wins in the Derby and Haskell with a dominant 2 ¼-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic November 7th at Keeneland. He was incredibly consistent, and was never worse than 2nd in seven starts. One of those defeats was by a neck in the Preakness Stakes.
OUTSTANDING JOCKEY: Irad Ortiz Jr.
2020 Wins: 300
2020 earnings: $21,050,726
Leading horses: MUCHO GUSTO, IMPROBABLE, WHITMORE, HAPPY SAVER, and NEWSPAPEROFRECORD.
Notable: Irad led all North American riders with both Wins and purse earnings in 2020 and ranked 2nd in Graded Stakes Wins with 26, behind only Flavien Prat who had 28. It was the 3rd year in a row that Irad has Won the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Jockey.
OUTSTANDING TRAINER: Brad Cox
2020 Wins: 216
2020 earnings: $18,983,832
Leading horses: MONOMOY GIRL, ESSENTIAL QUALITY, KNICKS GO, AUNT PEARL, and SHEDARESTHEDEVIL.
Notable: Cox ranked 2nd by purse earnings among North American trainers with $18,983,832 in 2020 and his 30 Graded Stakes Winners were 2nd only to Chad Brown who had 32. Cox Won the Kentucky Oaks for the second time in his career with SHEDARESTHEDEVIL. He wrapped up his Eclipse Award at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships by Winning four races: BC Distaff (MONOMOY GIRL), BC Juvenile (ESSENTIAL QUALITY), BC Dirt Mile (KNICKS GO), and the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf (AUNT PEARL).
Congratulations to all the Winners.