Bricks and Mortar earns Horse of the Year laurels
Bricks and Mortar won the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup/CSM.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced this evening that Bricks and Mortar, who was undefeated in six starts last year, was voted the 2019 Runhappy Horse of the Year at the 49th Annual Runhappy Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
The Eclipse Awards, honoring excellence in North American Thoroughbred racing, presented by The Stronach Group, Daily Racing Form and the Breeders’ Cup, are voted on by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.
Owned by Klaravich Stables Inc. and William Lawrence, and trained by Chad Brown, Bricks and Mortar received 204 out of a possible 241 first-place votes for Horse of the Year. Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Mitole, who was voted Champion Male Sprinter, received 19 first-place votes to finish second. Gary and Mary West’s homebred Maximum Security, who was voted Champion Three-Year-Old Male, finished third in the Horse of the Year balloting with 14 first-place votes. Midnight Bisou, the Champion Older Dirt Female, Vino Rosso, the Champion Older Dirt Male, and Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach, each received one first-place vote. There was one voter abstention.
Bricks and Mortar won five Grade 1 races in 2019. The son of Giant’s Causeway kicked off his 5-year-old season with a victory in the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational last January. From there, Bricks and Mortar proceeded to dominate the grass male ranks in methodical fashion by posting five more graded stakes triumphs – including Grade 1 wins in the Turf Classic Stakes, Manhattan Stakes, and Arlington Million – before capping his career with a victory in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
“Horse racing has a way of getting into your blood…I love so much of this sport,” said Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables. “I never thought we’d ever have a chance to win this award. We are so grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime honor.”
In addition to taking the ultimate year-end honor, Bricks and Mortar was a unanimous pick for Champion Turf Male, earning all 241 first-place votes.
All of Bricks and Mortar’s connections won individual Eclipse Award honors. Brown won his fourth consecutive Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer while Klaravich Stables and Lawrence captured the Outstanding Owner title. Irad Ortiz Jr., who piloted Bricks and Mortar in all of his starts last year, won his second straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. George Strawbridge, Jr., who bred Bricks and Mortar, won his first Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder.
Maximum Security had a roller-coaster of a 3-year-old campaign that ultimately concluded on a definitive peak. In his first try against graded company, the Jason Servis-trained colt led every point of call to take the Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby by 3 ½ lengths on March 30. He would go on to hit the wire first in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve but, after nearly 22 minutes of deliberation by the stewards, he was disqualified to 17th and his roses were handed off to initial runner-up Country House due to interference.
Despite the heartache of that infamous result, Maximum Security’s quality would prove indisputable during the second half of the year. The son of New Year’s Day went on to post victories in the Grade 1 TVG.com Haskell Invitational, Grade 3 Bold Ruler, and Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap with the last two triumphs coming against elder rivals.
Mitole took the raw talent he had teased of previously to another level in 2019. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Mitole registered six victories and four Grade 1 wins during a campaign that was capped by a sublime triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe won two Eclipse Awards Thursday evening, capturing both the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly title and Champion Female Sprinter. A bay daughter of Into Mischief trained by Brad Cox, Covfefe won five of six starts in 2019, finishing off the year by taking the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Another filly who recorded an outstanding season was Bloom Racing, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s Midnight Bisou, who won seven consecutive races during her 4-year-old campaign last year – including three grade 1 tests – en route to Champion Older Dirt Female honors.
The Champion Older Dirt Male, Vino Rosso won both the Gold Cup at Santa Anita and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic to secure his divisional crown for Repole Stables and St. Elias Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher.
Cox had a second Eclipse Award winner on the evening when British Idiom, owned by Michael Dubb, the Elkstone Group, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables, won the Champion Two-Year-Old Filly title. British Idiom won all three of her starts last year, including the Darley Alcibiades and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The Champion Two-Year-Old Male of 2019 is Exline-Border Racing LLC, David Bernsen, Susanna Wilson and Dan Hudock’s Storm the Court, trained by Peter Eurton, who won the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Eclipse Awards voting is conducted by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Daily Racing Form. Of the 254 eligible voters representing the NTRA, NTWAB, and Daily Racing Form, 241 (94.88%) took part in this year’s voting. Finalists were determined in each category by voters’ top three selections, using a 10-5-1 point basis. Eclipse Award winners are determined solely by first-place votes.
The complete list of 2019 Eclipse Awards winners with vote totals appears below:
(Horse ages in parenthesis where applicable; Country codes indicate a foreign breeding designation)
· Runhappy Horse of the Year: Bricks and Mortar (5)
· Two-Year-Old Male: Storm the Court
· Two-Year-Old Filly: British Idiom
· Three-Year-Old Male: Maximum Security
· Three-Year-Old Filly: Covfefe
· Older Dirt Male: Vino Rosso (4)
· Older Dirt Female: Midnight Bisou (4)
· Male Sprinter: Mitole (4)
· Female Sprinter: Covfefe (3)
· Male Turf Horse: Bricks and Mortar (5)
· Female Turf Horse: Uni (GB) (5)
· Steeplechase Horse: Winston C (IRE) (5)
· Owner: Klaravich Stables Inc., and William H. Lawrence
· Breeder: George Strawbridge, Jr.
· Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
· Apprentice Jockey: Kazushi Kimura
· Trainer: Chad Brown
Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon the Thoroughbred horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective divisions. The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-Century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.
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