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Eclipse Awards Week 2016: Where Will YOU Be?

Eclipse Awards Week 2016: Where Will YOU Be? By Annie Johnson– The 45th Annual Eclipse Awards, presented by Daily Racing Form, Breeders’ Cup and The Stronach Group, is slated for Saturday, January 16, 2016, at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino. For racing fans planning to attend the “black-tie optional” awards dinner honoring the “Best of the Best” Thoroughbreds, horsemen and media from 2015—or for those in town for the Thoroughbred Owner Conference—Lady and The Track has a preliminary list of local events scheduled for this exciting week in South Florida.

Eclipse Awards Gulfstream Park

Eclipse Awards “Moulin Rouge” Cocktail Reception Benefiting Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) takes place on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 in the Gulfstream Park walking ring. A private party by invitation only begins at 6 p.m. for Eclipse Award attendees, and opens to the public at 8 p.m.
Photo: LATT

Eclipse Awards Events: The following activities are confirmed to date—note that a few are restricted to Eclipse Award night attendees only:

  • Poker Tournament benefitting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) will feature play against jockeys and trainers, scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, January 13 at Gulfstream. Tickets at $150 per person are available by contacting Scott Poole in the poker room at 954-457-6336 or via email at Poole@Gulfstreampark.com.
  • Welcome Reception for Eclipse Awards Attendees (only), Thursday, January 14, to be held at the Adena Grill “farm-to-fork” restaurant in the Village in Gulfstream Park (more information regarding purchasing Eclipse Award tickets can be found below under the event listing).
  • ThoroFan Annual Awards Brunch on Friday, January 15 at Frankey’s Sports Bar at Gulfstream. Slated to be honored at this event are Bob Baffert, who will receive a Special Recognition Award, and Tom Durkin, who will receive the ThoroFan Award. Tickets are available online at thorofan.com/awards for $20 each for members (limit two at this price) and $50 each for non-members. Take advantage of Thorofan’s Awards Brunch and Membership Offer to both join as a new member and also receive one brunch ticket for under $50; email info@thorofan.com for details.
  • Eclipse Awards “Moulin Rouge” Cocktail Reception Benefiting Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) on Friday evening in the Gulfstream Park walking ring. A private party by invitation only begins at 6:30 p.m. for Eclipse Award attendees, and opens to the public at 8 p.m. (minimum donation of $20 to the TAA). Contact Jennifer Vitrella at Gulfstream Park (954-457-6186) or via email at Jennifer.vitrella@gulfstreampark.com.
  • Sunshine Millions Day at Gulfstream on Saturday, January 16, with six major stakes races for older horses, including the $250,000 Classic and the inaugural running of the $100,000 Sprint.
  • 45th Annual Eclipse Awards, 6 p.m. Saturday at the Sport of Kings Theater at Gulfstream. Tickets are $400 per person or $4,000 for a table of 10. Contact Casey Hamilton at NTRA (859-422-2627) or via email at eclipsetickets@ntra.com.
  • Eclipse Awards After-Party Sponsored by Keeneland for Awards attendees (only). Party held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Frankey’s Sports Bar in The Village at Gulfstream Park, sponsored by Keeneland Association with additional support from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Kendall-Jackson. Contact Jennifer Vitrella at 954-457-6186 or via email at Jennifer.vitrella@gulfstreampark.com.
  • “First Chance/Last Chance” qualifier for the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) 17: Gulfstream will hold the annual tournament Sunday, January 16, with top finishers winning berths to NHC 17 at Treasure Island Las Vegas. More information will be available on the Gulfstream Park website under the “Handicapping” tab as the date approaches, or check NTRA’s NHC Tour Schedule page at http://www.ntra.com/en/nhc/nhc-tour-schedule/.

Thoroughbred Owner Conference: This will be the second year for this Conference, hosted by OwnerView and sponsored by the Keeneland Association, The Stronach Group and Woodbine Entertainment. Previously held at Keeneland in 2014, the 2016 conference will be held Monday through Thursday, January 11–14, 2016, at Gulfstream Park, and will feature seminars and breakout sessions with industry experts and a variety of social events throughout the week. The full conference schedule and registration information can be found at https://www.ownerview.com/event/conference.

Ownerview is also offering an option to register for conference social events only, which include an opening reception on Monday at Gulfstream Park; lunch at Gulfstream and gala dinner at Turnberry Isle on Tuesday; lunch and day of racing at Gulfstream on Wednesday; tours of the Miami area on Thursday; and the Eclipse Awards Eve party at Gulfstream on Friday.

Hotel Accommodations: The NTRA has a group block of hotel rooms at the Diplomat Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton in Hollywood, FL, less than two miles from Gulfstream Park, at a rate is $325 plus resort fee and tax. Call Curio Reservations at 844-442-8746 to book, and ask for the NTRA Eclipse Award rate, which will expire on December 18, 2015.

In addition, the Thoroughbred Owner Conference lists the Turnberry Isle Resort & Spa and the Hollywood Beach Marriott as host hotels for accommodations. See the conference information page for links and details: https://www.ownerview.com/event/conference.

But Why “Eclipse,” You Ask? Don’t forget about the legendary English Thoroughbred who is honored by the eponymous award; it’s Eclipse, the 18th-century undefeated hero of 18 starts and foundation sire. Eclipse’s dominating victory in the Nobleman and Gentleman’s Plate at Epsom in 1769 will forever be remembered for the quotation, “Eclipse first, and the rest nowhere,” as spoken by Dennis O’Kelly, who would later become the champion’s owner. Read Nicholas Clee’s book Eclipse: The Story of the Rogue, the Madam and the Horse that Changed Racing for the full story of this giant of the turf to whom these awards pay homage!

Annie Johnson is a freelance writer currently working on a book about antebellum Thoroughbred racing in New Orleans. Her work has appeared in American Racehorse and Deep South Magazine, and on her website antebellumturftimes.com, which features articles related to her research on the sport’s history. Follow Annie on Twitter at @AntebelTrfTimes.

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