LEXINGTON, KY (Jan. 22, 2017) – Keeneland congratulates the 2016 champions announced last night at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards Ceremony at Gulfstream Park. Six champions – Arrogate, Beholder, Champagne Room, Classic Empire, Drefong and Finest City – are graduates of Keeneland sales, while Keeneland racing was represented by additional Eclipse Awards recipients.
Alumni of Keeneland sales who are champions are:
Arrogate (champion 3-year-old male): Owner Juddmonte Farms paid $560,000 for the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Travers (G1) at Keeneland’s 2014 September Yearling Sale. Breeder Clearsky Farms consigned the son of Unbridled’s Song to the sale. (Click here for a video of Arrogate in the Keeneland sales ring.)
Beholder (champion older dirt female): Owner Spendthrift Farm purchased Beholder for $180,000 at Keeneland’s 2011 September Sale from the consignment of breeder Clarkland Farm. The daughter of Henny Hughes, also a champion at two, three and five, at six won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) by a nose over champion Songbird in the final race of her career. Beholder also won last year’s Vanity Mile (G1) and Adoration (G3). (Click here for a video of Beholder in the Keeneland sales ring.)
Champagne Room (champion 2-year-old filly): Winner of the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Sorrento (G2), Champagne Room is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Denali Stud, agent, consigned the Broken Vow filly to the 2014 November Breeding Stock Sale, where she sold to Summerfield Sales, agent, for $70,000. Summerfield offered Champagne Room as a yearling at the 2015 September Sale. Bred by Respite Farm, the filly races for Ciaglia Racing, Exline-Border, Gulliver Racing and Sharon Alesia, et al. (Click here for a video of Champagne Room in the Keeneland sales ring.)
Classic Empire (champion 2-year-old male): Owner John C. Oxley paid $475,000 for the son of Pioneerof the Nile at the 2015 September Sale. Consigned by Warrendale Sales, agent, Classic Empire won the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), Keeneland’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the Bashford Manor (G3). He was bred by Steven Nicholson and Brandi Nicholson. (Click here for a video of Classic Empire in the Keeneland sales ring).
Drefong (champion male sprinter): Winner of the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and King's Bishop (G1) at three, Drefong is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Breeders Fredrick M. Allor, Michael T. Barnett and Anthony M. Warrender consigned the son of Gio Ponti as a weanling to the 2013 November Sale in the name of Barnett’s Blackburn Farm. He sold for $200,000 to Woods Edge Farm, which resold him to Tanma Corp. for $450,000 at the 2014 September Sale. (Click here for a video of Drefong in the Keeneland sales ring.)
Finest City (champion female sprinter): Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) and Great Lady M (G2) at four, Finest City sold at two Keeneland sales. Hunter Valley Farm, agent, consigned the City Zip filly as a weanling to the 2012 November Sale, where Cobra Farm purchased her for $50,000. Bluewater Sales, agent, consigned Finest City to the 2013 September Sale, where she sold to owner Seltzer Thoroughbreds for $85,000. (Click here for a video of Finest City in the Keeneland sales ring.)
On the same day as the Eclipse Awards Ceremony, Finest City won the Santa Monica (G2) at Santa Anita in her 2017 debut.
Joining Classic Empire as champions who raced at Keeneland in 2016 is Tepin, named champion female turf horse for the second consecutive year. During the Spring Meet, Tepin won the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1).
Other Keeneland-connected Eclipse Award winners are jockey Javier Castellano, trainer Chad Brown, owner Juddmonte Farms and breeder WinStar Farm.
Castellano, named outstanding jockey for the fourth consecutive year, was North America’s leading rider in 2016 with earnings of more than $26 million. He won his second Keeneland leading rider title during the 2016 Spring Meet with 17 victories, including the Lexington (G3) on Collected.
Brown, who received his first Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer, was North America’s leading trainer in 2016 with earnings of more than $23 million and 42 graded stakes victories. At Keeneland, he won the Bewitch (G3) during the Spring Meet with Olorda (GER) and the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) during the Fall Meet with Irish Jasper.
Juddmonte Farms, owner of Arrogate and champion turf male Flintshire (GB), earned a third Eclipse Award as outstanding owner. Juddmonte, whose runners won 22 races and earned more than $7.3 million in North America, sponsors the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) during Keeneland’s Fall Meet.
WinStar Farm, owned by Kenny Troutt, is a leading buyer and consignor at Keeneland sales. In 2016, WinStar was the leading breeder in North America for the first time with $10.5 million in earnings and 239 wins. WinStar also topped the list of leading breeders that includes partners with $11.8 million and 297 wins.
Eclipse Awards winners were selected by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. A total of 16 graduates of Keeneland sales were among the finalists.