New York-bred Tiz the Law, trained by ex-steeplechase jockey Barclay Tagg, was nominated for the Three-Year-Old Male Eclipse Award after winning four stakes in a row, including the G3 Holy Bull and the G1 Florida Derby, both at Gulfstream, the G1 Belmont Stakes at Belmont and the G1 Travers at Saratoga.
But he was beaten by Authentic in both the G1 Kentucky Derby and the G1 Breeders Cup Classic, and Authentic is also nominated for Three-Year-Old Male as well as Horse of the Year, so it seems unlikely that he will win despite his outstanding year.
Tagg is one of a number of ex-steeplechase jockeys who have gone to to be top trainers.
Complete Eclipse Award nominees follow.
Meanwhile Graham Motion, Bernie Houghton and Rodney Jenkins have been scoring wins, one of which is owned by a former member of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association Board of Directors.
Motion has had five winners since Dec. 30, including River Oak Farm's Candace, who won a $50,000, 7 1/2 furlong Maiden Special Weight by a neck at Gulfstream on Dec. 30.
On Jan. 1, Madaket Stables' Jimmy P won a $22,500, 1 1/8 mile turf race by 1/2 length, and on Jan. 6, Gainesway Stable's Oyster Box won a $22,750, 1 mile Allowance Optional Claiming turf race by 2 1/2 lengths, both races at Tampa Bay Downs.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gianni Fitzpaldi's Mia Martina won a $47,000, 1 1/16 mile Allowance turf race by 1 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream on Jan. 10, and Glenangus Farm LLC's Good Measure won a $39,402, 1 mile Waiver Maiden Claiming race by a head at Laurel on Jan. 15.
Jenkins saddled Hillwood Stable LLC's So Good to win a $45,441, 6 furlong Waiver Maiden Claiming race by 1 length at Laurel on Jan. 10
Elizabeth Barr's Golden Law, trained by Houghton, won an $18,100, 6 furlong Maiden Claiming race at Penn National on Jan. 18.
Barr is a former member of the PHBA board and has worked hard for racing in the state.
HORSE OF THE YEAR candidates are Authentic, Improbable and Monomoy Girl,all multiple stakes winners, with a hard choice between Authentic and Monomoy Girl, with Authentic probably coming out on top.
Authentic won five stakes in 2020, including the G3 Sham and the G2 San Felipe at Santa Anita, the G1 Haskell at Monmouth, the G1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and the G1 Breeders Cup Classic at Keenelnad, but he was second in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and in the G1 Preakness at Pimlico.
Monomoy Girl was undefeated in 2020 with four wins, in an Allowance race at Churchill, the G2 Ruffian at Belmont , the G1 La Troienne and a second win in the G1 Breeders Cup Distaff at Keeneland, having won that previously at Churchill in 2018 and then taking a year off,
Improbable won three G1 stakes but then was second yo Authentic in the Breeders Cup Classic.
Winners in 17 horse and human categories will be announced during a virtual ceremony of the 50th annual Eclipse Awards on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET.
Of the 249 eligible voters represented by the NTRA, consisting of member racetrack racing officials and Equibase field personnel, the NTWAB, and Daily Racing Form, 238 (95.58 percent) took part in the voting.
Finalists were determined in each category by voters' top three selections, using a 10-5-1 point basis, and Eclipse Award winners are determined solely by first-place votes.
The 2020 Eclipse Awards finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
Horse of the Year: Authentic, Improbable, Monomoy Girl
Two-Year-Old Male: Essential Quality, Fire At Will, Jackie's Warrior
Two-Year-Old Filly: Aunt Pearl (IRE), Dayoutoftheoffice, Vequist
Three-Year-Old Male: Authentic, Nadal, Tiz the Law
Three-Year-Old Filly: Gamine, Shedaresthedevil, Swiss Skydiver
Older Dirt Male: Improbable, Maximum Security, Vekoma
Older Dirt Female: Midnight Bisou, Monomoy Girl, Serengeti Empress
Male Sprinter: Vekoma, Volatile, Whitmore
Female Sprinter: Gamine, Glass Slippers (GB), Serengeti Empress
Male Turf Horse: Channel Maker, Order of Australia (IRE), Zulu Alpha
Female Turf Horse: Audarya (FR), Rushing Fall, Tarnawa (IRE)
Steeplechase Horse: Moscato (GB), Rashaan (IRE), Snap Decision
Owner: Godolphin LLC; Klaravich Stables Inc.; Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, and Starlight Racing
Breeder: Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds LLC, Calumet Farm, WinStar Farm LLC
Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, Brad Cox
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr., Joel Rosario, John Velazquez
Apprentice Jockey: Luis Cardenas, Yarmarie Correa, Alexander Crispin
The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at 5 and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers.
Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies