Invasor, Bernardini capture Eclipses

Horse racing

January 23, 2007|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER

Invasor was named 2006 Horse of the Year at last night's 36th Eclipse Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Preakness winner Bernardini won 3-Year-Old Male of the Year. Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables, who campaigned 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, shared Owner of the Year honors with Darley Stable, which owns Bernardini.

Edgar Prado, who spent most of his career riding in Maryland before moving to New York in 1999, earned the Eclipse as the top jockey. Prado, 39, rode Barbaro and is credited with helping to save the horse's life when Barbaro took a catastrophic misstep and broke his leg in the early moments of the Preakness. Prado won 248 times in 2006, for purses of nearly $19.8 million, second-highest of the year.

The Eclipse Awards are voted on and presented by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association.

Invasor, a 5-year-old trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, solidified his position as top thoroughbred by defeating Bernardini by a length in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 4. That race topped a year in which the Argentine-bred son of Candy Stripes also won three other Grade I races, the Pimlico Special, Suburban Handicap and Whitney Handicap.

Bernardini skipped the Kentucky Derby, which Barbaro won by 6 1/2 lengths, but outdistanced the sentimental choice in first-place Eclipse voting for the top 3-year-old male, 210-56.

Bernardini has a strong resume. His flying victory in the Preakness was the first classic win for Darley Stable. It was also the second of six straight victories that included three Grade I's - the Preakness, Travers Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Bernardini finished his career with the runner-up finish to Invasor at the Breeders' Cup.

Darley led all North American owners in 2006 with about $6.4 million in total earnings. It had 63 victories.

The Jacksons had already been announced as recipients, along with the New Bolton Center, of a special Eclipse Award for their efforts in saving Barbaro's life.

Their share of the top owners' award was expected, based on the performances of Barbaro, 6-for-6 before his injury, and their other 3-year-old, Showing Up, who was 3-0 going into the Derby. When the two horses entered the gate at Churchill Downs in May, it was the first time two undefeated entries from the same owner were running in the Derby.

On the same day Barbaro won the Derby, another of the Jacksons' home-breds, George Washington, won the opening leg of the English classics, the 2000 Guineas.

Frank Stronach, whose Magna Entertainment Corp. owns Pimlico and Laurel Park, captured the breeders' award with his Adena Springs farm.

Adena Springs, for the fourth consecutive year, was the top breeder in North America based on progeny earnings. According to numbers compiled by The Blood-Horse, Adena Springs bred 26 stakes winners and compiled 507 victories overall.

Sprinter winner Thor's Echo, took the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel. The 5-year-old, trained by Doug O'Neill, earlier won the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Note -- NBC Sports won the national television live racing category for its Preakness coverage.

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