Horse racing holds its version of the Oscars on Saturday night when the 46th annual Eclipse Awards play out at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.,
The Eclipse Awards, which will honor the 2016 champions of Thoroughbred racing, will be televised live on TVG2 beginning at 8 p.m. The event also will be available online via free live streams on XBTV.com, Gulfstreampark.com and drf.com. In addition, NBCsports.com will pick up live coverage of the ceremony for the final few awards beginning at 10 p.m.
Of the 17 human and equine awards to be presented, the centerpiece is the Horse of the Year.
The three finalists — Arrogate, California Chrome and Songbird — all brought sterling resumes to the voting, which was conducted by turf writers and broadcasters and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
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California Chrome has seven wins in eight starts including five graded stakes wins. His one loss came to Arrogate in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Arrogate won five of six races but only two graded stakes, the Classic and a record-breaking performance in the Travers Stakes.
Those two will go head-to-head for the final time Jan. 28 in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream, after which California Chrome will be retired.
Songbird, a 3-year-old filly, won 11 consecutive races in 2016 before losing to Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Bob Baffert is one of three finalists for the trainer Eclipse, joined by Chad Brown and Mark Casse. If Baffert wins, he would be the third five-time winner of the Eclipse in that division, joining only Bobby Frankel and seven-time winner Todd Pletcher.
Eclipse Award finalists
(Listed in alphabetical order)
Horse of the year: Arrogate, California Chrome, Songbird
Female sprinter: Finest City, Haveyougoneaway, Paulassilverlining
Female turf horse: Lady Eli, Miss Temple City, Tepin
Male sprinter: A.P. Indian, Drefong, Lord Nelson
Male turf horse: Flintshire, Highland Reel, Tourist
Older dirt female: Beholder, Cavorting, Stellar Wind
Older dirt male: California Chrome, Frosted, Lord Nelson
Outstanding jockey: Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, Mike Smith
Outstanding apprentice jockey: Kevin Gomez, Lane Luzzi, Luis Ocasio
Outstanding breeder: Clearsky Farms, Darley, WinStar Farm
Outstanding owner: Juddmonte Farms, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Spendthrift Farm
Outstanding trainer: Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Mark Casse
Steeplechase horse: Rawnaq, Scorpiancer, Top Striker
3-year-old filly: Cathryn Sophia, Queen’s Trust, Songbird
3-year-old male: Arrogate, Exaggerator, Nyquist
2-year-old filly: Champagne Room, Lady Aurelia, New Money Honey
2-year-old male: Classic Empire, Not This Time, Practical Joke