2yo Male Dirt: INTO BEING NICE (11900014716)
Into Being Nice has the sharp breeding line of Into Mischief x Street Cry x Dynaformer and is owned by 4Nighthawk. This Eclipse winner is out of U R Not Nice, a mare, who in her own right, was a G2 winner who also has two other children that have won listed stakes.
As a two year old, Into Being Nice snagged over $1.4 million in purses as he surmounted a record of 6-1-2 in nine starts. The slow starting horse quickly broke his maiden in February as he thundered to the wire to win his first start by more than a length. By May, he was in his first listed stake race and finished third, just missing out by a head in a tight photo. Two races in June, he would gain a listed stake win in a sprint
This win elevated him into the G2 Closest Friend where he finished sixth but closed to be within three strides of the winner. In Into Being Nice was tested at a mile in the G3 Cryogenics Juvenile, craving for more distance. The longer distance worked well and the win was all his. A shot in the G1 End of the Line Futurity at 8.5f resulted in a solid third place finish making up a dozen lengths after his normal slow start and losing out to 15/1 longshot Pound the Rock.
The Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile would be the charm where he would right things with Pound the Rock and smacking a 102 speed on the offtrack and getting to the line on top in the final strides to win by half a length. The 2019 season would conclude in the Movieland Futurity with another fine outing finishing second and closing hard once again.
2yo Male Turf: MY AWESOME KING (11900000712)
A near perfect season for My Awesome King who won five times in six starts with a second. He’s comprised of Awesome Again x King Kamehameha x Dubawi breeding line and is the child of Eclipse winning mare, Queen Kam. This is the second child out of Queen Kam and his brother is also a G1 winner.
My Awesome King strung five straight wins together which was kicked off by breaking his maiden in April by coming from the rear side of the field to the top. After this first start, his racing style changed and he now takes positions near the front of the field. His second start was a solid win in an allowance race at 7f with a good stride advantage.
The G2 Champagne Mile, at a mile, was his third start and after sitting off the shoulders of the front runners, he quickly took over the lead and won by a length. Dropping back to 7f in the September running of the Boones Farm (G2), he boldly went out to the lead and cruised to the line with a nice two length victory for owner Stockswami.
The Breeders’ Bowl Juve Turf would bring in the bulk of his $1.1 million in purse winnings as he found a relaxing spot just behind the early runners in the mile race and smoothly advanced to the lead to win with his first 100+ speed and taking his fifth straight win.
The G1 Futurity would be where the perfect record would end as My Awesome King would be taken down by Remember The Name (and after ending such a perfect season, it would be hard to forget that name) and the loss would be to the horse who finished second in the Breeders’ Bowl Juve Turf.
3yo Male Sprinter Dirt: RYAN’S SPEAKER (11800001957)
Owner Rbokie24’s colt carries the lineage of Mr Speaker x Storm Cat x Royal Ski and is the 13th child our of G1 winning game mare Royal Cat. Ryan’s Speaker is one of four children who have earned a stake win.
Ryan’s Speaker entered 2018 on the heels of a very successful 2017 campaign in which he won 7 of 8 races which included five grade level races.
2019 did not yield the same outcome as the previous year, however, 2 fine G1 victories were scored to gain him top honors for the year. During the Equincs games, he ran in the 3 year old dirt sprint and was able to wire the field as the 5/1 co-favorite, winning by a neck and holding off the aptly named War’s Coming.
After a trio of disappointing finishes, Ryan’s Speaker delivered big time in the G1 Prince’s Knight Stakes as a 14/1 longshot where he again was able to lead from start to finish and delivered a shocking 116 speed, his career best and only time he was over 110. Both wins during the year were gate to wire victories.
3yo Male Distance Dirt: GOLD WAR FRONT (11800016270)
Owner Stockswami has his 2nd Eclipse male winner this year in the form of Gold War Front who carries the bloodline of War Front x Seeking the Gold x Deputy Minister and is a scratchbred colt.
As a two year old, Gold War Front hit the board with regularity and scored a 1-2-2 record in five starts which prepped him well to start 2018 with running in the G3 Giant Slayer Classic on a sloppy track. The wet surface did not deter him as he moved up to take the lead into the stretch of the 8.5f race but was beat in the stretch to finish second, notching a speed of 100 for the first time.
A pair of graded wins quickly came with the fist in the G2 Moises Alou Cap in March and again in the Sand Castle Derby, a derby lock race that gained Gold War Front a place in the Bluegrass Derby, which was his next start.
The huge 20 horse Bluegrass Derby field was not overwhelming and going 10f for the first time was not a hinderance either as this champ was able to fight to get into the 2nd spot. Skipping over the next two legs of the triple crown in favor of the August running of the Travelers Stakes paid dividends as he cracked a solid 112 speed and took the top spot.
The Breeders’ Bowl Classic was the season finale and Gold War Front ventured to compete with older horses for the first time. He finished fifth in the race and was off the board for the first time, but considering the staggering 40/1 odds, the finish was better than the public expected and had no impact on winning something bigger….the Eclipse Award!
3yo Male Long Dirt: MILTON THE MONSTER (11800001454)
Milton the Monster is the 11th of 12 children out of game mare Deputy Secretary. He’s the second grade winner from this mare and the third stake winner as well as the only child to net over $1 million in earnings.
After starting the year in the allowance class in a pair of 8.5f, he was quickly tested at a distance of 14 furlongs and taking battle with older horses. He passed the test, but the field was a bit weak as he was 4/1 in the 7 horse field. A nice win but 89 speed not overly impressive but did not to be as he won by ng by 9 lengths. This impressive outcome took him to another route race but at a shorter 10f, still in the allowance group where he notched a 104 speed, a huge jump, winning by 2 lengths at 10/1. Owner Aggs found the formula that works.
In May, the Monster moved into a listed stake race at 10.5 furlongs, used his quickness to get to the front and never looked back, scoring a two length win with an improved 108 speed. A G1 race was targeted next, this would be one of the triple crown races, The New Yorker. A tough field awaited him and going into the gate at 10/1 was no deterrent as he went straight to the lead and shrugged off any no one could touch him as he won by two.
A four race win streak was brought into the G3 Derby De Swedish but the streak would come to an end as his 8-stride advantage heading around the final turn would not be enough as he was outrun in the stretch and finished third. This Any Given Saturday x Deputy Minister x Secretariat gelding finished the season with a second in a listed stake race and was off the board in an allowance race. He now rests and awaits to strike again in 2019.
3yo Male Sprinter Turf: WAKI HADDA (11800013571)
This is a dream come true Eclipse Winner. He is sired by Hvasstan, a sire that is ranked 3,005 as of this writing and used only 77 times over three years and a very unlikely sire to produce an Eclipse Winner. The backend of the breeding line of Miswaki x Forty Niner comes from stake winning game mare Waki Alexis. The mare has been successful in the breeding world with a dozen children with 5 of them becoming stake winners and includes 2 grade winners.
As for Waki Hadda, he recorded a record of 4-1-0 in eight starts during the 2018 racing season. After concluding 2017 with a win in a listed stake race. The late running colt replicated this effort with another victory at the start of 2018 in another listed stake. The pair of wins helped to make him a nominee runner in the 6f Equinics turf sprint and as the 2nd choice at 6/1, she fired hard to win the race by half a stride after trailing early in the 13th position, capturing the G1 victory.
The three race win streak was put on the line in the G3 Tetris in April. This event turned into a milestone for owner Mano who finally saw the horse crack through the 100- speed level with a solid 108 and snagging his 4th straight win. The streak would conclude in May where Waki would fall short by half a stride in a listed stake race. There would be one more victory that would come over the remainder of the year which was in an allowance race in August. The quick aggressive start gained all the points that were needed to capture this years Eclipse award.
3yo Male Distance Turf: HAACK’S ARROGATE (11800035563)
This colt is the son of G1 winning El Gran Haack and is bred as a he-mare from the 2014 winner of the Breeders’ Bowl mile. He sports the breeding line of Giant’s Causeway x Frankel x Seeking the Gold and has won 8 times over his 10 race career.
Owner Haack bore witness to Haack’s Arrogate kicking off his career by winning his first 6 career starts. After breaking his maiden and winning an allowance race in 2017, he wrapped the year up by winning a listed stake race with a nice 97 speed as a two year old.
With eyes on an entry into the mile Equinics for 3-year olds, he ran in an allowance Hot race against older horses. It was an easy win as the field of 4 contained three very elderly horses, all age 13 or older that needed walkers to get around the track Despite the soft race, the more challenging Equinics quickly came and Haack’s settled several spots off the lead before digging in and rolling off to a length and a half win and smashing a 106 speed in the process.
The win streak would hit five straight in the 2000 Guineas (G1) where the speed would pounce upward to 113 but the margin of victory would be a quarter stride, his smallest margin of the five wins. The win streak concluded as in the G1 Jean Brat getting to the finish line first did not happen as Haack’s Arrogate was off his game and could not get that late move going, finishing fourth. Looking to regain his composure and regain confidence, he delivered a solid win with a more impressive 116 speed in an allowance race.
The next stop was in the Breeders’ Bowl Mile where the competition was tougher (facing serious older horsed for the first time, the track would be wet (his first race on an off-track) and his odds would be high (27/1, more than double his previous highest odds) and the outcome would be disappointing as he finished 11th.
Bettors doubted his ability to compete with older horses and finishing the year in the G1 King Kong Mile, he entered the gate at 26/1. The start of the race was scary as Haack’s Arrogate got away 13th of 14 runners, a spot well back from his normal positioning and by the half, he drifted some 6 lengths off the lead. He found his footing and galloped his way through the stretch to snag the win with a career best 117 and with it came the Equinics award!
3yo Male Long Turf: WIDOW’S MONSTER (11800018082); ROAD TO THE STARS (11800007027)
This is believed to be the first known time we have a tie in a category for an Eclipse Award and we have two winners:
Out of G3 winning he-mare Widow’s Smirk, this “monster” is sired by Galileo and is the 2nd male Eclipse Winner this year for owner Lenny271. The backside of the breeding line consists of Distorted Humor as DS and Deputy Minister as DDS.
Two quick wins in allowance races and a third in a listed stake race kickstarted the 2018 season with all races in the 9f vicinity. In April, Widow’s Monster took a big step running in the G2 Hogwarts and going the long 11f distance for the first time. Add to that, the track would be downgraded to good due to recent rainfall but none of this deterred his effort. Running 8th in the 11 horse field for the first half of the race he found his stride, dug in and galloped to the top spot commanding the field by three lengths.
Moving up the ladder to the top level, his next event was the G1 Derby de English at 12f where the field was huge with 20 runners, attracted by the $6 million purse. The track was dry and Widow’s Monster would break and run in the middle of the field for much of the race. It wasn’t until he passed the halfway point that he poured it on and powered his way through the leaders until he became the leader and winning by a convincing 2 strides and a triple digit score of 110.
Three more G1 races would follow, however, Widow’s Monster was off the board in each but accumulated enough in earnings to co-share the top prize for the year, the Eclipse Award!
Road to the Stars
This guy is a fairy tale story come true. And its name is appropriate too. At the end of 2017, Road to the Stars was gelded and returned to the track as a maiden. He raced three times before breaking his maiden in a cheap $4,000 claiming race at 7f and was claimed away. His next start was in a $75k claiming race at 8.25f finishing fifth, and claimed away for the second straight race. This time, by current owner Tyedye who saw something in this Galileo x Kris S. x Irish River runner. He is out of Hall of Fame winning mare Starling Road and is one of 15 children, of which 5 have become grade winners with one Eclipse winner, until now.
Taking a new road, Road to the Stars ran 12f in June, finishing 3rd in an allowance race. Staying in this class, he ran twice more at the enduring 16f winning both times by four strides. Jumping up the ladder, the next test was in the 14f Hanging Chad where he had the third highest odds on the board of 15/1 he demonstrated his true home was the long, long route distances and notched his first 100+ speed of 109 and scoring the win.
Wrapping the year up in the G1 Millwood Cup was a gamble, a 54/1 gamble in a 20 horse field with older horses. The gamble paid off as Road to the Stars lit the board of the $6 million race with a $111.80 payout. The Cinderalla story concludes with earning enough to tie for top honors and taking home the Eclipse Award, which also makes Road to the Stars the second Eclipse winner born out of Starling Road.
Older Male Sprinter Dirt: AUDITORIUM (11700049701)
Auditorium is one of two G1 winners out of sire Flatter and he’s the child of game mare Strong Advocate and is the only one of four children to win a stake race out of this mare. The breeding with Flatter and Strong Advocate added Lion Hearted x Mt. Livermore to the backend of the bloodline.
Ending the 2017 season on a winning note in a 5.5f listed stake and a triple digit speed of 113 set him up well for the 2018 season which kicked off in the G2 Florida BB Sprint Championship where he went off at 20/1 and came so close to winning the race with a strong stretch run to advance from 8th to 2nd and just shy by half a stride and a solid 114 speed.
Gaining some respect from this outcome, his odds dropped to 12/1 in the G2 Billy and Jimmy Stakes and despite the nice 111 speed, he would finish third and fail by only a pair of strides. In May, owner CVBear placed this runner into an allowance race, giving him a break in class and earning a win.
The G2 Due North Stakes would turn out to be Auditorium’s worse outing of the year with a fourth-place finish. Still, fourth is not bad in the world of grade level racing and the experience here may have been the kick that got him going for his next stop, the G1 Binger Handicap. In this race, Auditorium got his flight going again and managed to hit the board with a third place finish and returning to the triple digit speed with a 112.
Auditorium kept brining in the money with another third place finish in the G1 Foregone. While brining in the dough for hitting the board in every race, getting that grade level win was a challenge. Setting sights on the Breeders’ Bowl, a refresher start in a listed stake race in October brought Auditorium back to the winner’s circle and a spot in the Breeder’s Bowl Sprint. At 8/1 odds and the fourth choice for the big year-ending race, which was on an off track, Auditorium got off to a slow start, running in the back quarter of the field. But he found life past the half and came soaring to the wire to finish first and the lions share of the $3 million dollar purse which secured the Eclipse Award.
Older Male Distance Dirt: NUKA DEATHMARCH (11700065706)
Hitting a speed of 120 or higher is a rarity, one that this horse accomplished twice in 2018 for owner Lenny271. This scratch bred horse is out of Hussonet x Deputy Minister x Giant’s Causeway. He’s a strong late runner and his first start of the 2018 season was in the G1 Glenn Kegasus Tradition Killer where the speed helped him work his way from 12th to a 5th place finish and a 110 sped which came on the heels of his 117 season best speed win at the end of 2017.
He rolled into the 10f Equinics race as the fifth choice at 9/1 and Nuka was able to find better early position in the 7th spot which enabled him to fight his way to the lead to win by three-quarters of a length. The $6 million purse rich G1 Sand Castle Classic would be a test and owner Lenny271 found a match he liked and hired L Radzinski as the jockey who would now get all rides aboard Nuka Deathmarch.
After falling 10 back at the half of the 10f race, Radzinski did his job and directed Nuka around the field ahead of them and got to the lead, drew away by more than two lengths, capturing the win with a 121 speed. The speed may have taking a bit of a toll on the horse as a softer listed stake race brought a 4th place finish and Nuka would get beat up badly in the G1 Movieland Shiny Cup.
A rebound was produced in the Hit Me Handicap (G1) over a sloppy surface where a win would be gained at 10/1 odds leaving the second place horse over a length in his shadow. The finishing speed of 122 on horrible racing conditions was better than impressive.
Two more G1 races would wrap up the season with a rather disappointing 4th in the Breeders’ Bowl Classic, which was on a good track surface and expectations he could reproduce his prior off-track results. The season finale came in the Japan Dirt Cup with a hard closing third. Nuka Deathmarch marched home when it was needed and locked in the 2018 Eclipse Award.
Older Male Long Dirt: GOLFTEAM (11600071700)
Upon finishing 2017 with a four race win streak that that ended the year with his first G1 victory in the Hit Man, and a career best speed of 115, Golfteam took a winter break. He is a scratchbred and owned by Golfteam, hence where the name of the horse was derived. The bloodline consists of Kitten’s Joy x Ela-Mana-Mou x Fantastic Light.
After the winter break, the 2018 season consisted on nothing but long distance races (from 14 to 16 furlongs) in six races, all G1 events with the exception of a sole G2 race. He returned to the track in March and took on a full field of 14 in the Cayuga Lake Special where he settled into a midfield position in the 2 mile race. Upon crossing the half, Golfteam started a serious drive that would take him to the front and fly him to a 3 length win and extending his win streak to five.
Looking for another notch to the win streak, the Baltimore Special (G2) was next on the calendar and the results would be the same as his previous race with a similar racing style and banging a 113 speed. With the win streak now at 6, the G1 Razorback Route in June would launch Golfteam off to a bit slower start, dropping to 11th in the full field, however, he managed to get his drive going but the slower start would have a toll as he came up three-quarters of a stride short, finishing second and ending the win streak.
Two more wins would be earned in G1 competition with the first in the Seattle Stayer in September with a solid four length advantage at the line. After a poor outcome in the Breeders’ Bowl Dirt Marathon, the season would conclude on a winning note. Making a repeat appearance and defending his win from 2017, the Hit Man would be his again whereby Golfteam took a huge 16 length deficit and whittled it down to a half length win. It will be interesting to see if this Eclipse Winner will launch another win streak off the season ending win and if he’ll be back to pick up the Hat Trick by winning the Hit Man again in 2019!
Older Male Sprinter Turf: ALABA (11700016351)
This is one of two children borne to game-mare Mutha Lode, a mare that earned 4 wins and a bit over $225,000 in her racing days. Sired by Dawn Approach, Alaba carries Redoute’s Choice x Seeking the Gold from the mother’s side.
The 2018 campaign had this sprint runner appear in 9 G1 & G2 races, hitting the board 7 times with a win in the G2 Cool Lightning Stakes that started the year for this mid-field runner and kicking out a 110 speed was a nice way to show he was serious as he just got to the line in time to win in a photo.
A bit of a let down in the G1 Ye Ole Shopping Exchange where he finished fourth (still getting a pay check) but never much of a factor. The outcome did not dissuade owner Grioux28 who pursued the G1 Sydney Sprint next and saw the speed rebound from the 102 in the Ye Ole to 113 and capturing a second-place finish.
A G1 win would be secured with a career best speed off 118 in the next start, the Strand Broke where Alaba battled briefly on the front end before quickly breaking away and leading the field to the wire. A third place finish in the MGD Special was a disappointment as Alaba was came up shy by under a stride but amends would be made in the G2 Hawks Challenge with another photo finish win and an impressive 117 speed.
A pair of thirds followed in the G2 De La Fore as well as the prestigious Breeders’ Bowl Turf Sprint with triple digit speeds in both. The season ended on a sour note in the G1 King Kong Sprint whereby this Eclipse Winner finished 13th out of 14, however, the yielding turf surface could take the blame and results are surely to improve in 2019 on dryer grounds.
Older Male Distance Turf: CACHIX (11700058489)
Cachix is the son of game mare Cache, who it a G1 winner in her own right and a mother to two other children that have won stake races, one being a G3 winner. Cachix is the only grade winner out of sire Vecingetorix and carries the backend of Horse Chestnut as DS and Seeking the Gold as DDS.
Things did not go well in his last start of 2017 which was his first appearance in a graded race, finishing 7th in the G3 Northern Beer at 10.5f. 2018 started with a nice win with a return to the allowance class by two lengths for owner Dragnil.
This victory drew Cachix to a listed stake race with another poor outcome followed by a 4th in a local stakes race. By May, he was back to the allowance class and blasted a 110 speed, triple digits for the first time, although finishing third. Rolling the dice, he would be tested in the 10f Weld Stakes (G3) His late speed powered up and he blasted through the final quarter, slicing a 9 length deficit to miss by a stride and taking second with a 115 speed.
The 115 speed would be replicated in the G1 Champion Stakes as at 11/1 Cachix would get his first grade win and it would come in the form of a photo finish. After finishing a decent third in the Coxless Stakes (G1) the year would conclude on a wet track in the King Kong Cup. Cachix had only run once before on the off track back in 2017, scoring a win with a then career best speed of 114. His ability to take to the wet surface would work to his benefit again as he would win the race by two strides and the lion’s share of the $3 million purse to launch him as this years Eclipse Winner.
Older Male Long Turf: SPICED TURTLE (11600069833)
There is a lot to say about Spiced Turtle. Going back to last year, he won 5 of 6 G1 races and captured both the Eclipse and Horse of the Year awards. Would the rigorous efforts he put in during 2017 take its wear and tear on him? Obviously not, as he is being honored once again as an Eclipse winner.
Owned by Given, Spiced Turtle is a scratch bred bearing the lineage of Sebring x Sadler’s Wells x Roberto. Like 2017, he would win 5 of 6 starts in 2018. The slow breaking runner kicked the year off in the 12f Equinics falling 19 back at the half and a dangerous 12 off the lead by the three-quarter pole but managed to power his way to win by over two and a 117 speed.
His only downfall came in the G1 Aussie Queen where he may have been a bit under the weather finishing 6th well off the winning Drakon’s Bazooka. But results would change in the June running of the Kakarazuka Kinen Cup where Spiced Turtle would take the spot in the winner’s circle and leaving rival Drakon’s Bazooka well back.
In August, Spiced Turtle would take a soft spot in an allowance race to keep in shape and prep for the G1 Ark De ComicDog a race he won in 2017. The field contained 18 rivals looking to get the best of Spiced Turtle but his hard late rally would best his foes and taking the wire with a 122 speed, marking the third time in his career that he toppled the 120 speed level as well as successfully repeating in the Ark De ComicDog.
The season finale came in the Japan Classic, another race the champion had won in 2017 and set sites on picking up another victory. The gate would be full with 20 runners, all seeking their piece of the $3 million purse. But to get the biggest chunk they had to take down Spiced Turtle, who would not give up the top spot easily, and he didn’t. Winning by over two lengths, Spiced Turtle would conclude 2018 with four straight wins. The Japan Classic would be all his, for a second time and the win pushed his lifetime earns over the $20 million, officially residing at just under $21.5 million.
Owner Given has a champion here who is officially in the Hall of Fame based on 10 G1 wins and counting, an amazing $21 million in earnings. He has now won the Eclipse award twice as well as was 2017 Horse of the Year.
He ended the season with repeat wins in the Ark De ComicDog and Japan Classic. One other thing that he has repeated. For the second year in a row, Spiced Turtle has been named the HORSE OF THE YEAR! Congratulations Given on a job well done and best wishes for future success. (It would be amazing to see you get a hat trick with another HOY with Spiced Turtle next year!)