Eclipse Award Results: Another Banner Year for Brad Cox

By | February 14, 2022

The big story heading into the Eclipse Award ceremony was three year old of the year. In the end the voters selected Essential Quality over polarizing Medina Spirit.

Eclipse Awards

Each year members of the NTRA vote on the year end Eclipse Awards. These awards distinguish the top horse in each division of horse racing.

The awards show was held on February 10 at Santa Anita Park. 235 Of the 245 eligible voters cast ballots. Next to each winner’s name you will see the number of 1st place votes received.

Horse Eclipse Awards

Eclipse Award: Horse of the Year- Knicks Go (228 votes)

Knicks Go won the Horse of the Year Eclipse Award.
Knicks Go won the Horse of the Year Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Brad Cox
  • Owner: Korea Racing Authority
  • 2021 record: 7 starts – 5 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds
  • 2021 earnings: $7,324,140
  • Recap: Knicks Go may have lost his final race in 2022, but his 2021 campaign was ultra impressive. It started with a win in the 2021 Pegasus World Cup and ended with the Breeders’ Cup Classic in which he easily disposed of Medina Spirit and Essential Quality. Knicks Go was retired after the 2022 Pegasus World Cup.

Eclipse Award: Champion Older Dirt Male- Knicks Go (232)

  • Also Horse of the Year

Eclipse Award: Champion Older Dirt Female- Letruska (221)

Letruska won the 2021 Older Female Eclipse Award.
Letruska won the 2021 Older Female Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Fausto Gutierrez
  • Owner: St. George Stable
  • 2021 record: 8 starts – 6 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds
  • 2021 earnings: $1,945,540
  • Recap: Letruska had a 5 race win streak middle of the year. During that time she amassed 4 grade 1 victories. One of the top performances of the year came in an absolute throw down against the talented Monomoy Girl.

Eclipse Award: Champion Male Turf Horse- Yibir (135)

Yibir won the 2021 Male Turf Eclipse Award.
Yibir won the 2021 Male Turf Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Charles Appleby
  • Owner: Godolphin
  • 2021 record: 8 starts – 4 wins – 1 second –1 third
  • 2021 earnings: $2,878,083
  • Recap: This division can often come down to the Breeder’s Cup Turf as the most talented runners frequently come from overseas. That is the case for Yibir who won 2 group stakes in Europe before swinging stateside to pick up the Jockey Club Derby and the Breeder’s Cup Turf.

Eclipse Award: Champion Female Turf Horse- Loves Only You (136)

Loves Only You won the 2021 Female Turf Eclipse Award.
Loves Only You won the 2021 Female Turf Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi
  • Owner: DMM Dream Club Co.
  • 2021 record: 6 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 1 third
  • 2021 earnings: $6,424,772
  • Recap: Loves Only You was part of a breakout season for the blossoming Japanese horse racing market. Although the Japanese had some success shipping to America they had failed to land a big score in the marquee American events. That changed this year when Loves Only You won the Filly and Mare Turf at the Breeders’ Cup.

Eclipse Award: Champion 3-Year-Old Male- Essential Quality (131)

Essential Quality won the 2021 3 Year Old Male Eclipse Award.
Essential Quality won the 2021 3 Year Old Male Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Brad Cox
  • Owner: Godolphin
  • 2021 record: 7 starts – 5 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third
  • 2021 earnings: $3,420,000
  • Recap: Essential Quality went back to back picking up the 2 year old and 3 year old horse of the year in back to back seasons. This was one of the most controversial categories among the racing public as Medina Spirit beat Essential Quality in both of their head to head events. In the end the voters went with Essential Quality who won both the Belmont and the Travers. It is hard to imagine the shadow cast by Bob Baffert’s drug scandal didn’t play at least some role in this category being as lopsided as it was.

Eclipse Award: Champion 3-Year-Old Filly- Malathaat (227)

Malathaat won the 2021 3 Year Old Female Eclipse Award.
Malathaat won the 2021 3 Year Old Female Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher
  • Owner: Shadwell Stable
  • 2021 record: 5 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 1 third
  • 2021 earnings: $1,563,000
  • Recap: Malathaat may not have won the Breeder’s Cup Distaff, the crown jewel of this division. That being said her wins in the Alabama and the Kentucky Oaks made her more than deserving of this prestigious award.

Eclipse Award: Champion 2-Year-Old Male- Corniche (214)

Corniche won the 2021 2 Year Old Male Eclipse Award.
Corniche won the 2021 2 Year Old Male Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Bob Baffert
  • Owner: Speedway Stables
  • 2021 record: 3 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds
  • 2021 earnings: $1,262,000
  • Recap: Anyone who wanted to take a clear stand against Baffert for the 2021 Kentucky Derby controversy pretty much had to abstain from this category. While the lightly raced Jack Christopher received a dozen votes, Corniche was far and away the most impressive 2 year old this season. Any hopes anyone had of changing this outcome lost it when Corniche cruised to an easy victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Currently Corniche is ineligible for the Kentucky Derby as a result of being trained by Bob Baffert.

Eclipse Award: Champion 2-Year-Old Filly- Echo Zulu (233)

Echo Zulu won the 2021 2 Year Old Female Eclipse Award.
Echo Zulu won the 2021 2 Year Old Female Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Steven Asmussen
  • Owners: L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds
  • 2021 record: 4 starts – 4 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds
  • 2021 earnings: $1,480,000
  • Recap: Echo Zulu was the trendy “bet against” horse in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Any bettor who tried that was sufficiently stuffed in a locker as she wrecked the field with ease. Following wins in the Spinaway and the Frizette, this division was in little doubt. Echo Zulu took home the most first place votes of any of the winners.

Eclipse Award: Champion Male Sprinter- Jackie’s Warrior (110)

Jackie’s Warrior won the 2021 Male Sprinter Eclipse Award.
Jackie’s Warrior won the 2021 Male Sprinter Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Steven Asmussen
  • Owners: J. Kirk Robison and Judy Robison
  • 2021 record: 7 starts – 4 wins – 1 second – 1 thirds
  • 2021 earnings: $1,051,400
  • Recap: Jackie’s Warrior displayed amazing brilliance en route to winning the Amsterdam and the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial. The latter was one of the top stretch duals of the year with Jackie’s Warrior bobbing head in head with Life is Good the entire length of the stretch before prevailing.

Eclipse Award: Champion Female Sprinter- Ce Ce (136)

Ce Ce won the 2021 Female Sprinter Eclipse Award.
Ce Ce won the 2021 Female Sprinter Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Michael McCarthy
  • Owner: Bo Hirsch
  • 2021 record: 6 starts – 4 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third
  • 2021 earnings: $888,000
  • Recap: 2021 was good to Michael McCarthy who won the Preakness with Rombauer and then the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Ce Ce. Ce Ce also won the Princess Rooney Invitational earlier in the year.

Eclipse Award: Steeplechase Horse- The Mean Queen (210)

The Mean Queen won the 2021 Steeplechase Eclipse Award.
The Mean Queen won the 2021 Steeplechase Eclipse Award.
  • Trainer: Keri Brion
  • Owner: Buttonwood Farm
  • 2021 record: 8 starts – 6 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds
  • 2021 earnings: $312,293
  • Recap: The Mean Queen gained recognition among many horse racing fans this summer during the steeplechase events that often kicked off the cards on the NYRA circuit. The feel good story of this accomplished horse was winning the Jonathan Sheppard. Trainer Keri Brion was mentored by Sheppard as a part of his team before going off on her own to train.

Connections Eclipse Awards

Eclipse Award: Outstanding Jockey- Joel Rosario (213)

Joel Rosario won the 2021 Jockey of the Year Eclipse Award.
Joel Rosario won the 2021 Jockey of the Year Eclipse Award.
  • 2021 wins: 228
  • 2021 earnings: $35,421,978
  • Top Horses: Knicks Go, Echo Zulu, Gufo, Jackie’s Warrior, and Malathaat
  • Recap: When 4 of the horses you ride are handed Eclipse Awards, you know you are likely in position to bring one down for yourself. That was the case for Joel Rosario who rode the Horse of the Year, 2 Year Old Filly of the Year, Older Male Sprinter of the Year, and 3 Year Old Filly of the Year. Unfortunately, this year may still be a bit of a disappointment as Rosario had dead aim on records for stakes wins in a year before an injury derailed the last couple of months of the season for him.

Eclipse Award: Outstanding Apprentice Jockey- Jessica Pyfer (156)

Jessica Pyfer won the 2021 Apprentice Jockey Eclipse Award
Jessica Pyfer won the 2021 Apprentice Jockey Eclipse Award
  • 2021 wins: 59
  • 2021 earnings: $2,857,333
  • Recap: This year’s crop of Eclipse Award apprentice riders wasn’t terribly strong. In the end the voters went with Jessica Pyfer who amassed 59 wins on the southern California circuit.

Eclipse Award: Outstanding Trainer- Brad Cox (189)

Cox (left) wins back to back training Eclipse Awards.
Cox (left) wins back to back training Eclipse Awards.
  • 2021 wins: 269
  • 2021 earnings: $31,832,345
  • Top Horses: Knicks Go, Essential Quality, Mandaloun, and Shedaresthedevil
  • Recap: Cox went back to back after winning the training Eclipse Award last year. In 2021 he set the single year earning record. His charges won the Pegasus World Cup, the Belmont Stakes, The Travers, and the Breeder’s Cup Classic. He may also be in line to back into a Kentucky Derby victory if Medina Spirit eventually gets disqualified. His runner Mandaloun finished second in that race.

Eclipse Award: Outstanding Owner- Godolphin (216)

Godolphin was awarded both owner and breeder of the year at the Eclipse Awards.
Godolphin was awarded both owner and breeder of the year at the Eclipse Awards.
  • 2021 wins: 84
  • 2021 earnings: $17,403,204
  • Top Horses: Essential Quality, Yibir, Maxfield, Mystic Guide, Modern Games, and Althiqa
  • Recap: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, has long been a dominant force in European racing. However, the Sheikh has put a litany of resources into transitioning that dominance to American racing as well. 2021 was a big step forward in fulfilling that vision with many of the top older horses on American soil wearing the trademark Godolphin blue silks. Their horses scored 2 Eclipse Awards this year including 3 Year Old Male and Male Turf horse of Year.

Eclipse Award: Outstanding Breeder- Godolphin (205)

  • 2021 wins: 136
  • 2021 earnings: $18,447,150
  • Also Outstanding Owner.

The post Eclipse Award Results: Another Banner Year for Brad Cox first appeared on Betting News.

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