Tiznow, a late-developing 3-year-old who closed out 2000 with a smashing victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic, was named Horse of the Year last night at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner in New Orleans.
A California-bred stabled in Southern California, Tiznow was an overwhelming choice for racing's highest honor. He defeated Lemon Drop Kid and Kona Gold, who were the other finalists for the award.
Campaigned by Jinny Vance and Laddie Dance, Lemon Drop Kid claimed an Eclipse Award as North America's outstanding older horse. Vance and Dance own Taylor's Purchase Farm in Baltimore County.
After winning five of his first seven races in 2000, including the Grade I Whitney Handicap and Woodward Stakes, the 4-year-old became the leading contender for Horse of the Year. But fifth-place finishes in his final two races, the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic, cost him the award.
It also cost Vance and Dance $10 million. After the Breeders' Cup Classic, they sold Lemon Drop Kid for $35 million as a stallion. The deal stipulated the price would rise to $45 million if he were named Horse of the Year.
Lemon Drop Kid was the only horse or horseman with strong Maryland ties who collected Eclipse statuettes at the black-tie ceremony in the historic Saenger Theatre near the city's French Quarter.
John's Call, a finalist for top turf male, lost to Kalanisi, who raced only once in North America. That race, however, was the Breeders' Cup Turf, which the Irish-bred colt won with an explosive late burst.
Despite failing to win the Eclipse, John's Call was racing's inspirational story of the year. At 9, he won two Grade I stakes and finished a close third in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He resides at the Monkton farm of his trainer and part owner, Tom Voss.
Scott Lake, a finalist for trainer of the year, lost to the California-based Bobby Frankel, whose Aptitude finished second in the Kentucky Derby. Lake, with horses at Pimlico, Philadelphia Park and Aqueduct, won 336 races in 2000, far more than any other trainer on the continent.
The Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey captured his fourth Eclipse Award, and Frank Stronach, owner of seven racetracks, won Eclipse awards as outstanding owner and breeder. This was Stronach's third straight Eclipse as top owner and first as top breeder.
Voting for Eclipse Awards were members of the National Turf Writers Association, employees of Daily Racing Form and officials associated with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Also receiving awards were Jim McKay and the Maryland Jockey Club.
McKay, who lives in Monkton, received the Eclipse Award of Merit for lifetime achievement. He was the longtime voice of ABC, which broadcast thoroughbred races the past 26 years, and founder and chairman of the Maryland Million.
"Jim has given thoroughbred racing much of its television identity," said Steven Crist, editor of Daily Racing Form. "No other sportscaster is so well associated with our sport, and no one conveyed its thrills and excitement with the same voice of enthusiasm."
The MJC received the Eclipse Award for local television for its production of "The Preakness: An American Classic," which aired July 15 on WMAR-TV. The director was Trent Cooper of Ole Man Potter Productions, the executive producer Karin De Francis of the MJC, the cinematographer Bill McCutheon and the creative consultant the Leffler Agency.
2-year-old colt or gelding: Macho Uno
2-year-old filly: Caressing
3-year-old colt or gelding: Tiznow
3-year-old filly: Surfside
Older colt, horse or gelding: Lemon Drop Kid
Older filly or mare: Riboletta
Sprinter: Kona Gold
Male turf horse: Kalanisi
Female turf horse: Perfect Sting
Steeplechase: All Gong
Horse of the Year: Tiznow
Owner: Frank Stronach's Stronach Stable
Breeder: Frank Stronach's Adena Springs
Jockey: Jerry Bailey
Apprentice Jockey: Tyler Baze
Trainer: Bobby Frankel