Trainer Bob Baffert said it best as the 2015 Eclipse Award winners were revealed. “We dream of a horse like American Pharoah. He was a gift from God.”
American Pharoah was the biggest winner of the night for obvious reasons. The Grand Slam champion took home Horse of the Year and Three Year Old Male honours, adding to his illustrious and decorated trophy cabinet. Ever the rising tide, all of American Pharoah’s connections received awards as well. Bob Baffert won his fourth award for outstanding trainer, while Zayat Stables were tabbed as the industry’s top breeders and owners in two different categories.
Jockey Victor Espinoza was the only one on the American Pharaoh team to be denied amongst 2015 Eclipse Award winners. The best rider of the year was once again Javier Castellano, who won 344 races this year for $28,120,667 in total purse earnings over the course of the season. It was the third consecutive year that Castellano took home this award.
Runhappy was elected the best Male Sprinter in another landslide vote after wins at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, as well as the King’s Bishop, Phoenix and the Malibu Stakes. If there was a sprint to be one, Runhappy wouldn’t be denied. He is certainly honouring his sire, Super Saver, well and was recognized by the industry for his dominant performances in the shorter distances.
On the female side, Beholder was a no-brainer in the Old Dirt Female category. Her five wins in five races included beating the boys at the Pacific, and if there was any horse that could’ve played spoiler to American Pharoah at the Breeders’ Cup Classic, it was her. Unfortunately, a lung infection kept her out of the competition. There was still no denying which was the best older mare in 2015.
Tepin was the clear choice in 2015 Elcipse Award choices for Female Turf, while La Verdad edged out Marvell Avenue for the female sprint honours in the tightest race for any award. There was only an 8-vote discrepancy between the two.
The future of the sport already seems to belong to Nyquist and Songbird, who won the juvenile 2015 Eclipse Awards for colts and fillies respectively. Nyquist is already the favourite to win the Kentucky Derby as he prepares for the San Vicente, while Songbird looks absolutely unbeatable. In fact, it’s already being said that the only horse that Nyquist would lose to is Songbird…and vice versa. After a trilling 2015 season, the future is saddled on the capable shoulders of these two.