Found Can Uncover 2015 Filly Eclipse Award
Found Can Uncover 2015 Filly Eclipse Award: Finalists for the 2015 Eclipse Awards were announced last week. For the 3-year-old filly category, either Found, I’m a Chatterbox or Stellar Wind can win the Eclipse. Found? How does she fit into this group as a turf horse?
Found won the Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI), while the other two fillies made their names on dirt. Because no separate category exists for 3-year-old filly turf stars, Found qualifies for this bracket. Her win only received a moderate amount of attention, despite the fact Found won against open company as a 3-year-old female.
To be fair, when fillies defeat males on turf, less fans are shocked because it happens more often. Many fail to notice. Yet, when female dirt stars tackle males successfully on the main track, they become superstars.
Regardless, Found finished ahead of the much-hyped Golden Horn, Big Blue Kitten (who broke a world record for 12 furlongs in his previous start) and Arlington Million winner The Pizza Man. Her 2015 record also includes multiple Group I placings in Europe, such as in the Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes. The latter two races featured top-class European male horses.
Like Found, I’m a Chatterbox won one Grade I event, which came in the Cotillion at PARX. No horse out of the Cotillion returned to win their next start. On the positive side, I’m a Chatterbox displayed solid form earlier this year at Fair Grounds too, taking the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (GIII) and Fair Grounds Oaks (GII). In the summer, she crossed the wire first in the Coaching Club American Oaks (GI) before a disqualification knocked her down.
I’m a Chatterbox faced fillies all year. In contrast, Found campaigned against males more than once (albeit on turf and in Europe). The third finalist Stellar Wind holds a resume no better than I’m a Chatterbox.
Stellar Wind won the Santa Ysabel (GIII) and Santa Anita Oaks (GI) against questionable opponents in California. The Santa Anita Oaks runner-up Luminance, third-place finisher WIld at Heart and fourth-place Curlin’s Fox are average stakes horses at best. In Luminance’s case, she needs to sprint.
After Stellar Wind’s initial efforts, she shipped to Churchill Downs and ran fourth in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) with a less than ideal trip. Then, Stellar Wind won the Summertime Oaks (GII) and Torrey Pines (GIII) before placing second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) to Stopchargingmaria. I’m a Chatterbox finished eighth in the same race.
A number of turf writers are supporting Stellar Wind, and they likely had the privilege of voting unlike this author (maybe one day). But, it feels strange putting Stellar Wind next to names such as Untapable, Beholder, Questing, Royal Delta, Blind Luck and Rachel Alexandra. At least, Found’s last win had an exclamation point.
Found co-owner Michael Tabor pointed out the quality of her Breeders’ Cup Turf victory after the race.
“It’s very special to beat a very good colt who has won everything in Europe this year,” Tabor said.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien gave similar comments.
“She’s a very special mare,” O’Brien exclaimed. “To run in two Champion Stakes and the Arc, and then to come here and win, is quite remarkable. She’s very special.”
The other two fillies offer resumes without a “special” victory. Found won a Breeders’ Cup race and defeated a world-renowned colt. Her case for the older turf female division is a bit weaker because of Tepin’s strong resume beyond the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI), but for the filly category, Found deserves the Eclipse Award.
The 2015 Eclipse Awards takes center stage at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016.