Accelerate And Justify Face Off For Horse Of The Year

Older champion Accelerate and Triple Crown hero Justify will face off for US Horse of the Year honours when the Eclipse Awards are announced on January 25.

Justify Picture: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Outstanding 3YO filly Monomoy Girl is also a Horse of the Year finalist but the popular opinion is the final voting will be a race between Accelerate and Justify.

Accelerate, whose owners Kosta and Pete Hronis are among the three finalists for the Eclipse Owner of the Year, won six of his seven outings in 2018 including the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

However Justify’s rise to glory in 2018 was sensational, going from a maiden win in February to become the second Bob Baffert-trainer runner in four years to win the Triple Crown in the space of four months.

He was retired unbeaten after just five starts in July.

A controversial disqualification in the GI Cotillion Stakes cost Monomoy Girl a perfect record in 2018 that saw her win the GI Kentucky Oaks, GI Acorn Stakes, GI CCA Oaks and GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Accelaerate, Justiofy and Monomoy Girl should be named unanimous Eclipse champions in their individual divisions.

There were some noteworthy omissions among the Eclipse finalists including Klaravich Stables, which won five Grade I events with in 2018 with as many horses, 38 races overall and nearly $3.6 million in purse money,

Jockey Joel Rosario was also overlooked despite winning three Breeders’ Cup winners, including Accelerate.

The Eclipse Awards winners are determined by 271 eligible voters representing the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters and Daily Racing Form.

2018 Eclipse Award Finalists

Horse of the Year: Accelerate; Justify; Monomoy Girl

3YO Male: Catholic Boy; Justify; McKinzie

3-YO Filly: Midnight Bisou; Monomoy Girl; Rushing Fall

2YO Male: Game Winner; Improbable; Knicks Go

2YO Filly: Bellafina; Jaywalk; Newspaperofrecord

Male Sprinter: Imperial Hint; Roy H; Stormy Liberal

Female Sprinter: Finley’sluckycharm; Marley’s Freedom; Shamrock Rose

Male Turf Horse: Expert Eye; Stormy Liberal; Glorious Empire

Female Turf Horse: A Raving Beauty; Enable; Sistercharlie

Older Dirt Male: Accelerate; City Of Light; Gun Runner

Older Dirt Female: Abel Tasman; Marley’s Freedom; Unique Bella

Steeplechase: Jury Duty; Optimus Prime; Zanjabeel

Breeder: Mike Abraham; John D Gunther; WinStar Farm

Owner: Peter Brant; Hronis Racing; Team Justify

Apprentice: Reylu Gutierrez; Weston Hamilton; Edgar Morales

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.; Jose Ortiz; Mike Smith

Trainer: Steve Asmussen; Bob Baffert; Chad Brown

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