Highland Reel nominated for prestigious US prize
King George and Breeders' Cup Turf winner Highland Reel is among the finalists for the 2016 Eclipse Awards, which recognise the leading performers in North America.
As the winner of one of the leading turf contests in the US, Highland Reel's inclusion in the list is no surprise. He is up against ex-French-trained Flintshire, a dual Grade 1 winner in the US last year and runner-up in the Turf, and Breeders' Cup Mile winner Tourist.
Also nominated for an award is Queen's Trust, who landed the Filly & Mare Turf at the Breeders' Cup meeting for Sir Michael Stoute on her only run in America. She is a finalist in the three-year-old filly award with Cathryn Sophia and Songbird, who went unbeaten until edged out by Beholder in a thrilling running of the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Royal Ascot winners Lady Aurelia and Tepin, two US-trained horses whose campaigns were fought partly or largely abroad, are in the running for the two-year-old filly and female turf horse categories respectively.
The main horse of the year award allows another meeting between Arrogate and California Chrome, who fought out a thrilling finish to the Breeders' Cup Classic, with Arrogate coming out on top. Songbird is also in the nominations for that category.
Owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys and apprentices are also recognised alongside the horses at the Eclipse Awards, which will take place at Gulfstream Park on January 21. That is precisely a week before Arrogate and California Chrome are due to lock horns there in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup.
Eclipse Award finalists
Horse of the Year Arrogate, California Chrome, Songbird
Two-Year-Old Male Classic Empire, Not This Time, Practical Joke
Two-Year-Old Filly Champagne Room, Lady Aurelia, New Money Honey
Three-Year-Old Male Arrogate, Exaggerator, Nyquist
Three-Year-Old Filly Cathryn Sophia, Queen’s Trust, Songbird
Older Dirt Male California Chrome, Frosted, Lord Nelson
Older Dirt Female Beholder, Cavorting, Stellar Wind
Male Sprinter A P Indian, Drefong, Lord Nelson
Female Sprinter Finest City, Haveyougoneaway, Paulassilverlining
Male Turf Horse Flintshire, Highland Reel, Tourist
Female Turf Horse Lady Eli, Miss Temple City, Tepin
Steeplechase Horse Rawnaq, Scorpiancer, Top Striker
Owner Juddmonte Farms, Inc., Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Spendthrift Farm LLC
Breeder Clearsky Farms, Darley, WinStar Farm, LLC
Trainer Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Mark Casse
Jockey Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, Mike Smith
Apprentice Jockey Kevin Gomez, Lane Luzzi, Luis Ocasio