Rules Changed for Older Male, Female Eclipse Awards

Originally posted Feb. 20, 2015

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and Daily Racing Form announced Feb. 19 rules modifications and name changes in two Eclipse Awards categories. The older male category has been renamed older dirt male and the older female category has been renamed older dirt female.

Starting at the end of 2015, criteria for the older dirt male and older dirt female categories will be limited to performances on dirt and main track surfaces in North American races.

In previous years, older male turf horses were eligible to win both the champion turf horse honor and champion older horse, and older female turf horses were eligible to win champion female turf horse and the older female Eclipse Awards. Blame   was the last dirt specialist to win champion older male (2010). Acclamation (2011), Wise Dan (2012-2013), and Main Sequence (2014) all earned their Eclipse Award campaigns on turf.

John Henry (1981), Gio Ponti (2009), Wise Dan, and Main Sequence swept Eclipse Awards for older male and turf male. John Henry and Wise Dan also took home Horse of the Year honors.

No female turf horse has ever taken home older female honors as well.

“There has been a growing consensus among members of the three voting organizations to more clearly define the older horse categories in determining male and female champions on dirt and turf,” said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of the NTRA and a member of the Eclipse Awards steering committee.

“Older male and female turf horses will continue to compete for the turf championships in their gender divisions, while the older male and female dirt horses will compete strictly against horses on the dirt or main track surfaces in their respective divisions. All are eligible for the Horse of the Year category. ”

Races conducted on synthetic surfaces during the year will be considered as main track races in both older male dirt and older female dirt categories.

The 17 equine and human categories for 2015 are as follows:  2-year-old male, 2-year-old filly, 3-year-old male, 3-year-old filly, older dirt male, older dirt female, male sprinter, female sprinter, male turf horse, female turf horse, steeplechase horse, Horse of the Year; owner, breeder, trainer, jockey, and apprentice jockey.