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Slip Away has one last fence to clear to close out 2010 campaign

Posted: January 7, 2011 11:25 a.m.
Updated: January 10, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Three Grade I winners, including Slip Away, winner of last November’s $100,000 Carolina First Colonial Cup in Camden, were selected as finalists for the 2010 Eclipse Awards.


Slip Away was joined by $250,000 Grand National champion Percussionist and Arcadius, winner of the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson Stakes.


The 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.


Slip Away is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Tom Voss. After finishing second behind Arcadius – by a length --- in the Monmouth feature chase, the 7-year-old gray/roan gelding was seven lengths behind European import Percussionist in the Grand National, America’s richest steeplechase race.


Ridden by Paddy Young in his final six of seven starts last season --- including the Camden fall classic at the Springdale Race Course ---, Slip Away put the rest of the nine-horse field of starters away as the group headed at the top of the home stretch and romped to a race-record 25 ¾-lengths victory for his second win of 2010.


The son of 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away kicked off his 2010 campaign by winning the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. III) by 8 3/4 lengths. He followed that with a second in the $150,000 Iroquois, a third in the $75,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial and a fifth in the $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup before a pair of seconds and a first in the fall.


In seven starts over fences last year, Slip Away had two wins, three seconds and a third for an NSA-best $191,500, which gave him the National Steeplechase Association’s Lonesome Glory Award as the circuit’s leading horse.


Percussionist was brought to America for the October Grand National in Far Hills, N.J., by Norwegian trainer Henne Bechmann. After his impressive victory in the Garden State, the 9-year-old son of Sadler’s Wells was purchased by Virginia-based owner Irvin Naylor, who sent the Irish-bred to trainer Kristin Close.


In his only other American start, Percussionist was a well-beaten sixth, the last of the finishers in the 2 ¾-mile Colonial Cup feature. He finished more than 92 lengths behind Slip Away.


Thanks to the $150,000 he earned at the Grand National, Percussionist ended the year with $153,000 for his two starts in this country. Overall, he started seven times with three wins while garnering more than $186,000 in purses last year.


Arcadius, trained by part-time Camden resident Jonathan Sheppard, gave the Hall of Fame conditioner win number 999 over fences by taking the Monmouth Park feature chase in September.


Owned by Hudson River Farms, the 6-year-old son of 2000 European Horse of the Year Giant’s Causeway won two of his five starts over fences in 2010. His other score came in the $30,000 Woodward-Kirkover Cup at the March 27 Carolina Cup in Camden.


Arcadius was third in the $150,000 Iroquois and second in both the $75,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial Chase and in the $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup in Saratoga in August.


Arcadius finished 2010 with $124,500 in earnings after two wins, a pair of seconds and a third in five starts over fences.


As for the flat runners, Blame, Goldikova (IRE) and Zenyatta are the finalists for the Horse of the Year after voting conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWABA.) The voting for all categories closed last Tuesday.


Record participation of 238 out of 251 voters (94.8%) representing the NTRA, the NTWAB and the DRF 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 Nov. 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), Zenyatta

Two-Year-Old Male: Boys at Tosconova, To Honor and Serve, Uncle Mo

Two-Year-Old Filly: Awesome Feather, R Heat Lightning, Turbulent Descent

Three-Year-Old Male: Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky, Paddy O'Prado

Three-Year-Old Filly: Blind Luck, Evening Jewel, Havre de Grace

Older Male: Blame, Quality Road, Richard's Kid

Older Female: Life at Ten, Unrivaled Belle, Zenyatta

Male Sprinter: Big Drama, Majesticperfection, Smiling Tiger

Female Sprinter: Champagne d’Oro, Dubai Majesty, Rightly So

Male Turf Horse: Dangerous Midge, Gio Ponti, Winchester

Female Turf Horse: Goldikova (IRE), Proviso (GB), Tuscan Evening

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