Gun Runner Shines Brightest Among Stars Honored at 2017 Eclipse Awards

The 2017 Eclipse Awards were held Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Sport of Kings Theater at Gulfstream Park, where a dominant season from Gun Runner highlighted the proceedings as he captured champion older dirt male and Horse of the Year.

Many of the remarkable racehorses and individuals from a memorable 2017 season were honored. Continue reading for a complete list of the Eclipse Award recipients.


Eclipse Sportswire

Horse of the Year: Gun Runner

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Three Chimneys Farm

2017 record: 6 starts – 5 firsts – 1 second – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $6,950,700

Signature win(s): Breeders' Cup Classic, Woodward Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, Whitney Stakes, Stephen Foster Handicap

Notable: After suffering his only defeat of the year when second in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March, Gun Runner swept the final four races of his 2017 season, all in Grade 1s, by a combined margin of 24 3/4 lengths. He cemented Horse of the Year honors with a dominant victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic and is scheduled to make his final start on Jan. 27 in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion 2-year-old Male: Good Magic

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owners: e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables

2017 record: 3 starts – 1 first – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $1,216,600

Signature win(s): Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile

Notable: Good Magic made history on Nov. 4 when he became the first maiden (a racehorse without a victory to his/her credit) to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when he surged clear to a 4 ¼-length romp. The chestnut colt had worthy credentials entering the race off a pair of seconds in his previous two starts, including a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes. Good Magic was purchased for $1 million at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale.


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Champion 2-year-old Filly: Caledonia Road

Trainer: Ralph Nicks

Owners: Zoom and Fish Stable Inc., Charlie Spiring, and Newtown Anner Stud

2017 record: 3 starts – 2 firsts – 1 second – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $1,229,800

Signature win(s): 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

Notable: Caledonia Road punched her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup with a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes and then won the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies by 3 ¼ lengths in her first start on a fast main track.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion 3-year-old Male: West Coast

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owners: Gary and Mary West

2017 record: 9 starts – 6 firsts – 2 seconds – 1 third

2017 earnings: $2,083,800

Signature win(s): Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, Pennsylvania Derby

Notable: Rare is the champion 3-year-old male who not only did not win a Triple Crown race but also did not even compete in one. West Coast made his career debut in February 2017, earned his first stakes win in the Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard, and established himself as the best racehorse in the division in the second half of the year by winning the Travers S. Presented by NYRA Bets and Pennsylvania Derby before finishing third in his first try against older horses in the Breeders' Cup Classic.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion 3-year-old Filly: Abel Tasman

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owners: China Horse Club International Ltd. and Clearsky Farms

2017 record: 7 starts – 3 firsts – 4 seconds – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $1,747,200

Signature win(s): Longines Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, Acorn Stakes

Notable: After finishing second in each of her first two starts of 2017, Abel Tasman went on the type of streak trainers and owners dream of. She won the Longines Kentucky Oaks, Acorn Stakes, and Coaching Club American Oaks in May June and July to sweep three of the most important races in the U.S. for 3-year-old fillies. Abel Tasman closed out the year with a game second in her first try against older females in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion Older Dirt Male: Gun Runner

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Three Chimneys Farm

2017 record: 6 starts – 5 firsts – 1 second – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $6,950,700

Signature win(s): Breeders' Cup Classic, Woodward Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, Whitney Stakes, Stephen Foster Handicap

Notable: Gun Runner started the year chasing champion Arrogate in the older male division, but by the end of a banner season he had left the champion reeling in his wake with four straight Grade 1 wins, capped by a convincing victory in a head-to-head matchup with that rival in the Breeders' Cup Classic. That victory avenged Gun Runner’s only loss of the season, a runner-up finish to Arrogate in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion Older Dirt Female: Forever Unbridled

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Owners: Charles E. Fipke

2017 record: 3 starts – 3 firsts – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $6,950,700

Signature win(s): Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, Personal Ensign Stakes

Notable: Forever Unbridled never tasted defeat in an abbreviated season that started with a win in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap in June at Churchill Downs and closed with a victory in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November. In between, she also handed champion Songbird only the second loss of her career when she defeated her by a neck in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion Male Sprinter: Roy H

Trainer: Peter Miller

Owners: Rockingham Ranch and David A. Bernsen

2017 record: 6 starts – 5 firsts – 1 second – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $1,270,900

Signature win(s): TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint, Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes

Notable: Sometimes the key to unlocking greatness is as simple as finding a horse’s true calling. In Roy H’s case, he found his niche on the main track sprinting after making nine of his first 12 starts on grass and emerged as the best sprinter of 2017. He won three of four starts in graded stakes to close the year — with his only defeat a troubled second when a riderless horse carried him wide entering the stretch — and turned in a tour de force in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint to cement his Eclipse Award as champion sprinter.


Unique Bella (Eclipse Sportswire)

Champion Female Sprinter: Unique Bella

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Owners: Don Alberto Stable

2017 record: 6 starts – 5 firsts – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $550,000

Signature win(s): La Brea Stakes

Notable: Unique Bella began the 2017 season by establishing herself as the heavy favorite for the Longines Kentucky Oaks with three graded stakes wins by a combined margin of 18 ½ lengths before she missed the Oaks with an injury. She returned in October and won the Grade 3 L. A. Woman Stakes by 3 ½ lengths. She rebounded from an unplaced finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint by closing her season with a win over Grade 1 winner Paradise Woods in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita Park.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion Male Turf Horse: World Approval

Trainer: Mark Casse

Owner: Live Oak Plantation

2017 record: 6 starts – 5 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $2,043,600

Signature win(s): Breeders’ Cup Mile, Ricoh Woodbine Mile, Fourstardave Handicap, Longines Dixie Stakes

Notable: Already a Grade 1 winner entering 2017, World Approval won stakes races at five different racetracks and strung together three Grade 1 wins to close out 2018, culminating with a 1 ¼-length win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar. All three of those season-ending wins came at a one-mile distance as the Northern Afleet gelding reached his career-best form when shortened up by trainer Mark Casse. He is slated to remain in training in 2018.


Eclipse Sportswire

Champion Female Turf Horse: Lady Eli

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owner: Sheep Pond Partners

2017 record: 5 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $790,000

Signature win(s): Diana Stakes, Gamely Stakes, Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa Stakes

Notable: One of the most popular racehorses of this decade, Lady Eli added to her inspirational story by winning three graded stakes in 2017, including two Grade 1s. She retired after the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (which was her only finish worse than second in 14 starts) with nearly $3 million in career earnings and five Grade 1 wins.

Champion Steeplechase Horse: Scorpiancer

Trainer: Jack Fisher

Owner: Bruton Street-US

2017 record: 2 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

2017 earnings: $150,000

Signature win(s): Calvin Houghland Iroqouis, Temple Gwathmey

Notable: The second horse from leading steeplechase trainer Jack Fisher nominated for an Eclipse was a perfect two-for-two in 2017, including the Grade 1 Calvin Houghland Iroquois.


Eclipse Sportswire

Owner: Juddmonte Farms

2017 wins: 30

2017 earnings: $10,841,155

Leading horses: Arrogate, Paulassilverlining, Antonoe, Projected, Suffused, Grand Jete

Notable: Khalid Abullah’s racing operation received its fourth Eclipse Award – and second in a row – in 2017, as its superstar horse Arrogate won the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Dubai World Cup, the two richest races in the world, during his final year on the track. Arrogate’s exploits were enough to make Juddmonte the year’s leading owner in terms of earnings for 2017, assisted by Grade 1 winners Paulassilverlining and Antonoe and three other graded stakes winners.

Breeder: Clearsky Farms

2017 wins: 52

2017 earnings: $11,065,268

Leading horses: Arrogate, Abel Tasman, Untamed Domain

Notable: Kentucky’s Clearsky Farms led all breeders in earnings from North American races in 2017, with Arrogate leading the way. The farm, which was founded in 2009 by the late Eamon Clary and is now run by sons Bernard and Eamonn, also bred Longines Kentucky Oaks winner and Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff runner-up Abel Tasman and Summer Stakes winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Untamed Domain.



Trainer: Chad Brown

2017 wins: 213

2017 earnings: $26,202,164

Leading horses: Lady Eli, Good Magic, Cloud Computing, Beach Patrol, Practical Joke, New Money Honey, Rushing Fall

Notable: Brown repeats as an Eclipse Award winner after once again leading all North American trainers in earnings. The protégé of the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel also tallied his first win in a Triple Crown race in 2017, when Cloud Computing won the Preakness Stakes. All in all, Brown was represented by 11 different Grade 1 winners last year. His top earner was Arlington Million winner and Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up Beach Patrol, with $1,749,975.


Eclipse Sportswire

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

2017 wins: 270

2017 earnings: $27,318,875

Leading horses: Good Magic, Tapwrit, Oscar Performance, Elate, Keen Ice, Shaman Ghost, War Flag, Paulassilverlining

Notable: Led North American jockeys in earnings for the second consecutive year, and earned his first Eclipse Award for a campaign that included a classic win (Tapwrit, Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets) and a Breeders’ Cup win (Good Magic, Sentient Jet Juvenile). Ortiz’s success was best reflected in upstate New York, where he won the riding title at historic Saratoga Race Course for the second year in a row, topping his older brother Irad Jr. by five wins in 2017.


Eclipse Sportswire

Apprentice jockey: Evin Roman

2017 wins: 166

2017 earnings: $5,118,077

Leading horses: Gold Rush Dancer, Smokem

Notable: A rising star on the Southern California circuit, Roman ranked 37th in the national earnings list for 2017. His year was highlighted by winning the riding title for Santa Anita Park’s winter-spring (late December through early July) meet, where he tied Flavien Prat with 41 wins, and its fall meet with 19 wins. Roman, a native of Puerto Rico, won his first graded stakes at Emerald Downs on Aug. 13 – the Longacres Mile with Gold Rush Dancer.

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