Wise Dan, Shanghai Bobby, Questing, Ramon Dominguez and Dale Romans were just some of the human and equine stars whose achievements on the New York Racing Association (NYRA) circuit in 2012 led to their Eclipse Awards last Saturday night, Jan. 19.
Wise Dan, who swept Horse of the Year, Older Male and Male Turf Horse honors at the 42nd annual award ceremonies at Gulfstream Park in Florida, launched a four-race win streak on turf at Saratoga Race Course this summer.
His five-length triumph in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Stakes was followed by wins in the Woodbine Mile, the Shadwell Turf Mile and ultimately a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park as he became the first horse since John Henry in 1981 to win in those three categories.
Undefeated Shanghai Bobby scored impressive victories at all three NYRA tracks en route to winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Eclipse as Champion Two-Year- Old Male. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, the Harlan’s Holiday colt broke his maiden at Aqueduct Racetrack, won the Track Barron overnight stakes at Belmont Park, took the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and then won the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne Stakes at Belmont prior to the Breeders’ Cup.
Three-Year-Old Filly Champion Questing won a pair of Grade 1 races at Saratoga in 2012, taking the Alabama Stakes and the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Sheikh Mohammed bin Al-Rashid, who won as Owner with Godolphin Racing and Breeder with Darley.
Five of Godolphin’s Grade 1 wins in 2012 came on the NYRA circuit: in addition to Questing, Emcee won the Forego at Saratoga, Alpha deadheated to win the Travers, also at the Spa, and Nahrain won the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont.
Dominguez, 36, won as Champion Jockey for the third straight year. The NYRA’s top rider in 2009, Dominguez led the nation in earnings with a record $25,582,252 and won 341 races despite missing six weeks on two separate occasions from injury. All but 19 of his victories came on the NYRA circuit.
Tapitsfly’s victory in the Longines Just a Game was one of two Grade 1’s in New York for Champion Trainer Dale Romans, who won the title for the first time on the strength of nine Grade 1 wins in 2012. Romans, who earlier was awarded the The Big Sport of Turfdom Award, an annual honor awarded by the Turf Publicists of America to a person who enhanced coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and racing publicists, also won the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont with Shackleford, the 2011 Preakness Stakes winner.
Other Eclipse winners with NYRA ties included:
– Royal Delta (Older Female), won the Beldame Invitational at Belmont;
– Trinniberg (Sprtin), won the Bay Shore and Woody Stephens stakes;
– Zagora (Female Turf), won the Ballston Spa Handicap at Saratoga.