California Chrome, Songbird and Classic Empire Top Eclipse Awards
The form held up in the Eclipse Awards voting as the favorites dominated the proceedings and took home top honors Saturday night at Gulfstream Park. California Chrome, Songbird and Classic Empire were unanimous champions with each receiving every vote in the 248 ballots cast in the older dirt male, 3-year-old filly and 2-year-old male divisions respectively. California Chrome was also crowned 2016 Horse of the Year.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association vote on the Eclipse Awards for the gala, black-tie optional program.
Classic Empire won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile while California Chrome and Songbird both finished 2nd in their Breeders’ Cup races, the Classic and Distaff.
California Chrome won seven of eight starts last year, including the Dubai World Cup and Pacific Classic. His lone loss came against Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But voters opted to reward California Chrome for his overall body of work, even though Arrogate, who won the Travers Stakes, beat California Chrome in their lone head-to-head meeting.
Songbird won her second straight title, having won the 2-year-old filly Eclipse Award in 2015. Songbird’s lone loss in 12 career starts came in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, in which she was nosed out by Beholder, who was an overwhelming winner as champion dirt female.
California Chrome: Jockey – Victor Espinoza. Trainer – Art Sherman
Classic Empire: Jockey – Julien Leparoux. Trainer – Mark Casse
Songbird: Jockey – Mike Smith. Trainer – Jerry Hollendorfer
A list of all the Eclipse Awards winners is here.