Having swept through American racing last season with an historic undefeated U.S. Triple Crown campaign, the momentum of Justify’s achievements continued to roll on through last night’s Eclipse Awards which honour the best racehorses, trainers, jockeys, breeders, owners and media in the United States.
There was no denying the peerless colt who secured the Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Male title on his way to being anointed the Eclipse Horse of the Year. The title of America’s premier racehorse for 2018 drew three worthy nominees with Accelerate (2018 Eclipse Champion Older Dirt Horse) and Monomoy Girl (2018 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Filly) both winning five G1s last season. However, the Justify juggernaut was irrepressible as he secured 77 percent of the votes (191 of 249 votes).
The magnitude of his achievements was also recognized with his Belmont Stakes triumph singled out as the NTRA ‘Moment of the Year’; his breeders, the Gunther family, awarded the Eclipse Breeder of the Year; and both his trainer and jockey, Bob Baffert and Mike Smith, being nominated as Eclipse Trainer and Jockey of the Year respectively.
“The China Horse Club is so very thankful to our fantastic partners, especially WinStar Farm, and to Bob [Baffert] and Mike [Smith] and to everyone who has been part of the Justify journey,” said Teo Ah Khing, Chairman of the China Horse Club.
“When we began the China Horse Club, we aspired to help Chinese go racing to the world and with Justify we truly did that. He took our members and our story on an unforgettable journey. It is very rewarding to have him recognized at the Eclipse Awards in this way, not only against some exceptional peers this year, but to see him placed, as Horse of the Year, alongside some great horses from different generations. It is recognition of how special he was in 2018 and we are very thankful to have been able to share in his story.”
In a banner year for the China Horse Club in the United States, it also enjoyed nominations in three other categories:
- Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old: Improbable
- Eclipse Champion Older Dirt Mare: Abel Tasman
- Eclipse Owner of the Year: ‘Team Justify’
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