Having completing an elusive sweep of the U.S. Triple Crown – the first in 37 years – the 2015 Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness (G1) and Belmont (G1) hero was honored as the Horse of the Year, and of course, champion 3-year-old male. Both awards came by unanimous vote, with all 261 ballots cast for the Zayat Stables homebred.
American Pharoah went on to win the Haskell Invitational (G1), suffered his only loss of the season when second in the Travers (G1), and rebounded with a sensational victory over older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The addition of the Classic to his Triple Crown trophy made for an unprecedented “Grand Slam.”
Now retired at Coolmore’s North American farm, Ashford Stud near Versailles, Kentucky, American Pharoah will command a $200,000 stud fee.
But the Eclipse Awards also have a resonance for the 2016 Kentucky Derby and Oaks (G1), for last year’s champion juveniles loom large on both trails this spring. There was no suspense in either the male or female division, thanks to unbeaten Breeders’ Cup stars Nyquist and Songbird, who were nearly unanimous choices themselves.
Nyquist was voted champion 2-year-old male by a margin of 255 to 3 votes for Mohaymen. Last seen landing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland, Nyquist is set to return in the February 15 San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita. He’s easily on top of the Derby points scoreboard at the moment with 30.
Songbird came within one vote of a unanimous accolade as champion 2-year-old filly. A single voter opted for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) heroine Catch a Glimpse. Songbird, who crowned her undefeated season in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), will reappear in the February 6 Las Virgenes (G2) at Santa Anita. Like Nyquist on the Derby side, Songbird leads the Oaks points leaderboard with 30 in the bank.
Detailed profiles of these, and all of the Eclipse Award winners in every category, can be found on the TwinSpires.com blog.
All photos courtesy, and copyright, Breeders' Cup Ltd.