After a year of dominance on the racetrack, five Fasig-Tipton sales graduates combined to take home six of the 2015 Eclipse Awards distributed Saturday night at Gulfstream Park.
When the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year was announced, no one could be surprised to hear 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale grad AMERICAN PHAROAH honored with the award. The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years and convincing victor of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), American Pharoah unsurprisingly led the field by a vote of 261-0 – the same margin by which he won Champion Three-Year-Old Male.
After securing Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Male honors in 2014, American Pharoah embarked on a sophomore campaign in which he not only conquered the Triple Crown, but achieved a single-season record for earnings for owner Zayat Stables and trainer Bob Baffert. The colt retired with earnings of $8,288,80.
Champion Three-Year-Old Filly was awarded to 2013 Saratoga Sale and 2013 Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale grad STELLAR WIND. Stellar Wind was a four-time graded stakes winner in 2015, with her biggest score coming in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1). Stellar Wind was a hard-fought second to fellow Fasig-Tipton sale graduate Stopchargingmaria in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), but it was enough to triumph over a tough three-year-old filly division. Stellar Wind earned $886,000 in 2015 for owner Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler.
In another contentious division, 2012 Saratoga Sale grad TEPIN was honored as the year’s Champion Female Turf Horse. Racing for Robert Masterson and trainer Mark Casse, Tepin was no worse than second in seven starts in 2015. A four-time graded stakes winner last year, Tepin scored at the highest level in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), First Lady S. (G1), and Just a Game S. (G1). With $2,092,520 in earnings on the season, Tepin was second in earning power only to Horse of the Year American Pharoah.
In the juvenile divisions, undefeated Fasig-Tipton sales grads NYQUIST and SONGBIRD were crowned Champion Two-Year-Old Male and Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, respectively.
A graduate of the inaugural Florida Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training, held at Gulfstream Park for the first time in 2015, Nyquist showed both exceptional talent and fortitude during a juvenile campaign which began in early June and culminated with a gutsy win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Nyquist was a four-time graded stakes winner in his first season, including three wins at the top level for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill. With earnings of $1,613,600, Nyquist was the only top-10 ranked juvenile on the North American earnings list in 2015.
Songbird, a graduate of the 2014 Saratoga Sale, has yet to meet a racetrack she doesn’t love. She won three Grade 1’s on three different tracks in 2015 for Fox Hill Farm and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, with a smallest winning margin of 4 ½ lengths. In four perfect starts as a juvenile, Songbird trounced her opponents by a combined 22 lengths on her way to earning $1,502,000.
Congratulations to the connections of all of Fasig-Tipton’s 2015 Eclipse Award-winning sales graduates and nominees, including: American Pharoah, Stellar Wind, Tepin, Nyquist, Songbird, Tonalist, Stopchargingmaria, Airoforce, Dortmund, Rock Fall, Wavell Avenue, and Stephanie’s Kitten.
Photo credits: Mathea Kelley for Fasig-Tipton (American Pharoah, Tepin, Nyquist, Songbird), Benoit Photo (Stellar Wind)