Headlined by three-time Grade I winner and 2014 Lonesome Glory Champions Award recipient Demonstrative, along with two-time Grade I winner, 2013 Eclipse Award and 2014 Colonial Cup champion Divine Fortune and Makari, all three horses which won Grade I events on the National Steeplechase Association circuit last year are the three finalists for the 2014 Eclipse Award for steeplechasing.
Winners in 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the Eclipse Awards dinner on Saturday, Jan. 17.
Owned by Jacqueline Ohrstrom and trained by Richard Valentine, Demonstrative won three consecutive Grade I chases in the summer and fall with Robbie Walsh in the saddle each time. The now-8-year-old Elusive Quality gelding won the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup, the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap and the $250,000 Grand National in a span of eight weeks as it led the NSA in earnings with $362,500.
Demonstrative’s bid for a fourth straight Grade I triumph came to an end in Camden in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott International Colonial Cup on Nov. 15. On that afternoon, William Pape and Jonathan Sheppard’s Divine Fortune rolled to a nine-length victory over the Springdale Race Course with the Hall of Fame trainer Sheppard giving Darren Nagle a leg up. The now-12-year-old reigning Eclipse Award champion, who opened the season by winning the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Memorial in Nashville last May, had two victories with a second in five 2014 starts.
The third finalist is Merriebelle Stables Makari, winner of the $100,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial at Saratoga, by a nose over Demonstrative, in his first U.S. start for trainer Elizabeth Voss who had Jack Doyle in the irons. An import from Great Britain, Makari was fatally injured in his next start, the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup.
Below are the finalists for the 2014 Eclipse Awards.
Horse of the Year: Bayern, California Chrome, Main Sequence
Two-Year-Old Male: American Pharoah, Hootenanny, Texas Red
Two-Year-Old Filly: Condo Commando, Lady Eli, Take Charge Brandi
Three-Year-Old Male: Bayern, California Chrome, Shared Belief
Three-Year-Old Filly: Stopchargingmaria, Sweet Reason, Untapable
Older Male: Main Sequence, Palace Malice, Wise Dan
Older Female: Close Hatches, Dayatthespa, Don’t Tell Sophia
Male Sprinter: Goldencents, Private Zone, Work All Week
Female Sprinter: Artemis Agrotera, Judy the Beauty, Sweet Reason
Male Turf Horse: Karakontie, Main Sequence, Wise Dan
Female Turf Horse: Crown Queen, Dayatthespa, Stephanie’s Kitten
Steeplechase Horse: Demonstrative, Divine Fortune, Makari
Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc., Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., Ken and Sarah Ramsey
Breeder: Adena Springs, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Winchell Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano, Joel Rosario, John Velazquez
Apprentice Jockey: Angel Cruz, Taylor Rice, Drayden Van Dyke