Holy Bull, Mike Smith and D. Wayne Lukas garnered the most glamorous prizes yesterday when the 1994 Eclipse Awards were announced.
Maryland racing interests were shut out, with Robert Meyerhoff, the owner of a powerful stable that includes Concern and Looming, finishing second behind John Franks as the nation's top owner.
All winners are selected by three voting groups, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, National Turf Writers Association and the Daily Racing Form, except the outstanding breeder, who is chosen by a six-person panel.
Holy Bull was named the champion 3-year-old colt or gelding after a dominating year in which he won eight of 10 starts and more than $2 million.
Despite a disappointing 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby over an off track, Holy Bull went on to record victories in the Metropolitan Mile Handicap, beating older horses in the process; the Dwyer Stakes; Haskell Invitational; Travers Stakes; and Woodward Stakes.
In the Travers, he defeated Breeders' Cup Classic champion Concern and Preakness-Belmont Stakes winner Tabasco Cat. In the Woodward, he scored by five lengths over Derby winner Go For Gin.
Holy Bull, owned and trained by Jimmy Croll, is expected to make his first start this year in the Olympic Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 22.
Smith, Holy Bull's jockey, broke his national record with 67 stakes wins. The Eclipse Award was his second straight.
Smith set an all-time earnings record of $15,979,820. His other mounts included Sky Beauty, named champion in the older filly or mare class; Heavenly Prize, the champion 3-year-old filly; and Paradise Creek, the champion male turf horse.
Lukas, the conditioner of both 2-year-old champions, Flanders and Timber Country, tied Hall of Fame trainer Laz Barrera with his fourth Eclipse.
His horses, including Tabasco Cat, amassed a nation's-best $9,247,457 in earnings last year.
Meyerhoff was fourth among owners nationally in money won, but lost out in the Eclipse voting to Franks, whose charges won 193 races and earned $4,518.088. The totals include 38 stakes victories, most in the nation. It was Franks' fourth Eclipse Award.
Flanders was a courageous winner in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She finished first in all five of her starts, the last coming on the Breeders' Cup card when she outlasted stablemate Serena's Song by a head despite a career-threatening injury she suffered during the running of the race.
The Maryland connections include Paradise Creek, winner of the Washington D.C. International, and champion sprinter Cherokee Run, winner of the De Francis Dash and later the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
The only split decision came in the champion older male horse category, where The Wicked North edged Colonial Affair.
Holy Bull, Flanders, Paradise Creek and Heavenly Prize, the champion 3-year-old filly, are considered the top contenders for 1994 Horse of the Year, an award that will be presented in Washington on Jan. 27.
Colt Enterprises, owner-operator of Rosecroft Raceway and Delmarva Downs, has retained racing executive James J. Murphy as a consultant charged with bringing about the sale of the two tracks.
Murphy, a former president of the tracks, was responsible for
their sale to Colt in October 1991.
Santa Anita optimistic
A spokesman at Santa Anita Race Course said the track "expects to race" today after being shut down by the flooding that has ravaged much of California.
ECLIPSE AWARD WINNERS
2-year-old colt or gelding: Timber Country
2-year-old filly: Flanders
3-year-old colt or gelding: Holy Bull
3-year-old filly: Heavenly Prize
3-and-up male turf horse: Paradise Creek
3-and-up female turf horse: Hatoof
3-and-up sprinter: Cherokee Run
4-and-up colt, horse or gelding: The Wicked North
4-and-up filly or mare: Sky Beauty
Steeplechase horse: Warm Spell
Outstanding owner: John Franks
Outstanding trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Outstanding jockey: Mike Smith
Outstanding apprentice: Dale Beckner
Outstanding breeder: William T. Young