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2019 Runhappy Eclipse Awards announced, Bricks and Mortar Horse of the Year, Champion Turf Male

KyForward staff  

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced Thursday 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 connections of 2019 Runhappy Horse of the Year, Bricks and Mortar accepted the award at the Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Photo credit: Horsephotos.com/NTRA

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.

Chad Brown won the  2019 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer. Photo credit: Horsephotos.com/NTRA

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.

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

The Eclipse Awards
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.

Voting Overview
In voting that concluded January 2, 2020 Eclipse Awards voters cast their ballots to rank the top three horses and individuals in each Championship division on a 10-5-1 point system. This voting established the top three finalists in each division, whose names were released on Jan. 4, 2020.

Media Eclipse Awards

Media Eclipse Awards also are given in the categories of photography, audio and multi-media Internet, news/enterprise writing, feature/commentary writing, national television–feature, and national television–live racing programming to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The 2019 Media Eclipse Awards winners, determined by a judges’ panel for each category and previously announced, are:

Television – Live Racing Programming – TVG, “TVG Pacific Classic,” Aug. 17, 2019
Television – Features – FOX Sports 2, “When Rachel Raised the Rafters,” Aug. 30, 2019
Feature/Commentary Writing – Joe Nevills, Paulick Report, “Biting The Dust: A Long Goodbye to Mount Pleasant Meadows,” July 22, 2019
News/Enterprise Writing – Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, “Anniversary of Deadly San Luis Rey Fire Strains Still,” Dec. 8, 2018
Audio/Multi-Media Internet – Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), “2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Nov. 2, 2019
Photography – Jim Leuenberger, DRF.com, “2019 Kentucky Derby,” May 4, 2019

In addition to honoring the 17 winners in the horse and human categories, Scott Coles received the Eclipse Award as the 2019 Horseplayer of the Year.

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