Wise Dan, a major stakes winner in the United States and Canada last year, was named the 2012 Horse of the Year Saturday evening at the 42nd Annual Eclipse Awards, presented by Daily Racing Form, The Stronach Group and Breeders’ Cup.
The Eclipse Awards, held at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., honor excellence in Thoroughbred racing and are voted on by representatives of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB).
Owned and bred by Morton Fink of Northbrook, Ill., Wise Dan finished first in the balloting with 194 votes, followed by Reddam Racing’s I’ll Have Another, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, with 30 votes, and Mrs. Janis Whitham’s Fort Larned, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, with 12 votes. Fourth was Besilu Stables’ Royal Delta, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, with eight votes. (Complete Horse of the Year results are listed below).
Wise Dan also won the Older Male and Male Turf Eclipse Awards this evening, and becomes the first horse since John Henry in 1981 to win those two awards and Horse of the Year in the same year.
As a 5-year-old in 2012, Wise Dan—trained by Charles Lopresti—won five races from six starts and competed on synthetic, dirt and turf surfaces. He began the year with a track record setting 10 ½-length victory in the Grade III Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland on Polytrack in April. After losing the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap on dirt at Churchill Downs in June by just a head, Wise Dan won four consecutive races on turf: the Grade II Fourstardave at Saratoga; the Grade I Woodbine Mile at Woodbine in suburban Toronto; the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, and the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park in November. In the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Wise Dan broke a course record that had stood since 1989. He finished 2012 with $2,622,037 in total earnings. John Velazquez rode Wise Dan in all of his races during 2012 except for the Shadwell Turf Mile. On that occasion, he was ridden by Jose Lezcano.
Wise Dan is a chestnut Kentucky bred gelded son of Wiseman’s Ferry out of Lisa Danielle by Wolf Power. He is expected to begin his 2013 campaign this spring.
The 2012 Eclipse Award winners and results for each category appear below.
Two-Year-Old Male: Shanghai Bobby
Two-Year-Old Filly: Beholder
Three-Year-Old Male: I’ll Have Another
Three-Year-Old Filly: Questing (GB)
Older Male: Wise Dan
Older Female: Royal Delta
Male Sprinter: Trinniberg
Female Sprinter: Groupie Doll
Male Turf Horse: Wise Dan
Female Turf Horse: Zagora (FR)
Steeplechase Horse: Pierrot Lunaire
Horse of the Year: Wise Dan
Owner: Godolphin Racing LLC
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
Apprentice Jockey: Jose Montano
Trainer: Dale Romans
Two-Year-Old Male (Name, First-Place Votes)
Shanghai Bobby, 253; Uncaptured, 1.
Beholder, 225; Executiveprivilege, 27; Dreaming of Julia, 1; So Many Ways, 1.
I’ll Have Another, 247; Bodemeister, 3; The Lumber Guy, 1; Paynter, 1; Union Rags, 1; Voter Abstention, 1.
Questing (GB), 106; My Miss Aurelia, 102; Believe You Can, 17; Contested, 13; Dance Card, 6; Lady of Shamrock, 5; In Lingerie, 4; Zo Impressive, 1.
Wise Dan, 139; Fort Larned, 109; Little Mike, 4; Game on Dude, 1; Shackleford, 1;
Royal Delta, 231; Groupie Doll, 22; It’s Tricky, 1.
Trinniberg, 233; Shackleford, 11; The Lumber Guy, 8; Caixa Electronica, 1; Voter Abstention, 1.
Groupie Doll, 250; Mizdirection, 3; Contested, 1.
Male Turf Horse
Wise Dan, 170; Little Mike, 78; Point of Entry, 5; No Vote, 1.
Female Turf Horse
Zagora (FR) 242; Marketing Mix, 5; Lady of Shamrock, 4; Dayatthespa, 2; Voter Abstention, 1.
Pierrot Lunaire, 116; Demonstrative, 99; Arcadius, 1; Divine Fortune, 1; Woodmont, 1; Voter Abstentions, 36.
Horse of the Year
Wise Dan, 194; I’ll Have Another, 30; Fort Larned, 12.