LEXINGTON, KY (Jan. 17, 2012) – Havre de Grace was named 2011 Horse of the Year and champion older female at last night’s 41st annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, marking the fourth time in five years that a Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate has earned Horse of the Year honors, following Zenyatta (2010) and Curlin (2007 and 2008).
Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Animal Kingdom and Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner My Miss Aurelia, both graduates of the September Sale, won Eclipse Awards as champion three-year-old old colt and champion two-year-old filly, respectively.
Eclipse Award winners and their Keeneland connections include:
• Havre de Grace was purchased by owner Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm for $380,000 from Mill Ridge Sales, agent, at Keeneland’s 2008 September Yearling Sale. The Saint Liam filly won five of seven starts last year, for earnings for more than $1.6 million. Wins in the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational and Apple Blossom established her at the top of her division, while a victory against males in the Woodward (G1) and a solid fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) clinched Horse of the Year honors. Havre de Grace was stabled at Keeneland during the fall meeting with trainer Larry Jones.
• Animal Kingdom earned his champion three-year-old colt honors off an impressive 2¾-length victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Following his win in Turfway Park’s Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) last March, trainer Graham Motion elected to train Animal Kingdom at Keeneland during April in preparation for the Derby. The Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) colt was consigned to the 2009 September Sale by Denali Stud and purchased for $100,000 by Barry Irwin’s Team Valor International.
• My Miss Aurelia was the overwhelming choice for champion two-year-old filly following wins in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Frizette Stakes, and Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes. Co-owner George Bolton bought the Smart Strike filly at Keeneland’s 2010 September Sale for $550,000 from Gainesway, agent for Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.
• Champion female sprinter Musical Romance finished second in Keeneland’s Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) last October prior to winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
• Eclipse Award-winning owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey won their ninth Keeneland leading owner title in the spring of 2011, and finished second in the owner standings during the fall race meeting.
• Bill Mott, winner of the Eclipse Award as champion trainer, is a perennial member of the leader board at Keeneland. Mott currently ranks second among trainers in Keeneland’s all-time standings with 244 wins and 34 stakes victories.
• Champion jockey Ramon Dominguez won two stakes at Keeneland during the 2011 fall meeting – the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) with Gio Ponti and the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) with Aruna.