The observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day across the country not only means the closure of schools, government offices and some businesses but a larger than usual number of racetracks open for business on a Monday.
Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita Park and others are open for business Monday and several will run stakes races to keep the interest level high. Laurel was due to run Monday but scrapped its card because of freeze-thaw conditions.
Many of those tracks ran key stakes over the weekend, which also featured the announcement of 2014’s champions during the 44th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream.
California Chrome came away the big winner on the night, taking home Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male honors. The margin for both titles was a little bigger than expected, or predicted by some. The California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit won the big prize by 90 votes, taking 143 of a possible 265 first-place votes and 90 more than runner-up Main Sequence. California Chrome’s margin in the 3-year-old male division was even larger, 137, in an easy triumph over Bayern and Shared Belief.
Most of the other winners were easy to figure, including the unanimous selection of Untapable as champion 3-year-old filly, Main Sequence as both older male and turf male, Take Charge Brandi as 2-year-old filly and Demonstrative as steeplechase horse.
American Pharoah won the 2-year-old male title by a slim 15-vote margin over Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red. The only other close vote came in the older male division, as Main Sequence topped Palace Malice by 24 votes.
The human categories followed the leading earnings lists to the letter, with Ken and Sarah Ramsey winning both the outstanding owner and breeder titles, Todd Pletcher taking home the outstanding trainer award, Javier Castellano the outstanding jockey honor and Drayden Van Dyke winning outstanding apprentice jockey.
Here’s a list of the Eclipse Award winners and voting totals:
Horse of the Year
California Chrome, 143; Main Sequence, 53; Bayern, 36; Shared Belief, 12; Untapable, 11; Wise Dan,6; Adelaide (IRE), 1; Take Charge Brandi, 1; Voter Abstentions, 2.
American Pharoah, 126; Texas Red, 111; Hootenanny, 16; Carpe Diem, 7; Dortmund, 3; Ocho Ocho Ocho, 2.
Take Charge Brandi, 236; Lady Eli, 23; Condo Commando, 3; Sunset Glow, 3.
California Chrome, 193; Bayern, 56; Shared Belief, 15; Voter Abstentions, 1.
Main Sequence, 127; Palace Malice, 103; Wise Dan, 25; Goldencents, 9; Game On Dude, 1.
Close Hatches, 155; Dayatthespa, 64; Don’t Tell Sophia, 19; Judy the Beauty, 15; Iotapa, 7; Beholder, 5.
Work All Week, 184; Goldencents, 52; Palace, 12; Private Zone, 11; Bobby’s Kitten, 2; Bayern, 1; Big Macher, 1; Secret Circle, 1; Shared Belief, 1.
Judy the Beauty, 261; Midnight Lucky, 1; Living The Live (IRE), 1; La Verdad, 1; Awesome Baby, 1.
Male Turf Horse
Main Sequence, 243; Wise Dan, 18; California Chrome, 2; Karakontie (JPN), 1; Adelaide (IRE), 1.
Female Turf Horse
Dayatthespa, 260; Crown Queen, 2; Coffee Clique, 1; Room Service, 1. Voter Abstentions, 1.
Demonstrative, 206; Divine Fortune, 12; Decoy Daddy (IRE), 5; Makari, (GB) 2. Voter Abstentions, 40.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 179; Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., 21; Kaleem Shah, Inc., 20; Flaxman Holdings, Ltd., 18; Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, 12; Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, 6; Maggi Moss, 2; John Oxley, 1; Robert Evans, 1; Voter Abstentions, 5.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 129; Adena Spring, 43; Winchell Thoroughbreds, 43; Flaxman Holdings, LLC, 29; Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, 6; Helen Alexander 3; WinStar Farm, 3; Darley, 1; Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., 1; Voter Abstentions, 7.
Todd Pletcher, 100; Chad Brown, 64; Art Sherman, 45; Bob Baffert, 20; Graham Motion, 13; Jerry Hollendorfer, 11; Steve Asmussen, 6; D. Wayne Lukas, 3; Karl Broberg, 1; Edward Graham, 1; Mike Maker, 1;
Javier Castellano, 203; John Velazquez, 34; Mike Smith, 8; Joel Rosario, 8; Rosie Napravnik, 5; Victor Espinoza, 4; Irad Ortiz, Jr., 2; Alexis Batista, 1.
Drayden Van Dyke, 225; Juan Saez, 11; Trevor McCarthy, 6; Taylor Rice, 6; Voter Abstentions, 17.