The 2016 Eclipse Award nominees were announced on January 5th, and leading the way are California Chrome, Arrogate and Songbird who each earned nods for Horse of the Year.
Each of those oustanding performers also find themselves in the appropriate age/gender categories as well. California Chrome is one of the 2016 Eclipse Award nominees for Older Horse of the Year along with Frosted and Lord Nelson. It’s virtually impossible for either of those to build a case for outclassing California Chrome in this category.
Arrogate, who capped the season with an awesome Breeders’ Cup Classic victory, will contend with Exaggerator and Nyquist for the award given to the best amongst three-year-old colts. The 2016 Kentucky Derby winner and the 2016 Preakness Stakes winner have both since retired, while Arrogate is poised to have an incredible four-year-old campaign. Arrogate did not compete in the Triple Crown series, or any of the prep races, as a late bloomer who emerged out of nowhere at the Travers Stakes in August.
Songbird is in the three-year-old fillies category along side Cathryn Sophia and Queen’s Trust and the previously undefeated champion is more likely to win here than as the Horse of the Year. Had she fended Beholder at the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, there might be a genuine argument for her taking top honours.
A full list of the 2016 Eclipse Award nominees can be found below. The awards ceremony will be held on January 21st at Gulfstream Park.
Horse of the Year Finalists: Arrogate, California Chrome, Songbird
Two-Year-Old Male: Classic Empire, Not This Time , Practical Joke
Two-Year-Old Filly: Champagne Room, Lady Aurelia, New Money Honey
Three-Year-Old Male: Arrogate, Exaggerator, Nyquist
Three-Year-Old Filly: Cathryn Sophia, Queen’s Trust, Songbird
Older Dirt Male: California Chrome, Frosted , Lord Nelson
Older Dirt Female: Beholder, Cavorting, Stellar Wind
Male Sprinter: A.P. Indian, Drefong, Lord Nelson
Female Sprinter: Finest City, Haveyougoneaway, Paulassilverlining
Male Turf Horse: Flintshire (GB), Highland Reel, Tourist
Female Turf Horse: Lady Eli, Miss Temple City, Tepin
Steeplechase Horse: Rawnaq (IRE), Scorpiancer (IRE), Top Striker
Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Spendthrift Farm
Breeder: Clearsky Farms, Darley, WinStar Farm
Trainer: Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Mark Casse
Jockey: Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, Mike Smith
Apprentice Jockey: Kevin Gomez, Lane Luzzi, Luis Ocasio