Three 2009 Arlington Park Stakes Winners Earn Four Eclipse Awards
The road to the 2009 Eclipse Awards definitely passed through Arlington Park with three '09 Arlington Park stakes winners taking home four trophies as well as many of the human Eclipse recipients having strong Arlington ties.
The awards, presented on January 18 in Beverly Hills, Calif., honor Thoroughbred racing's best as voted on by members of the National Turf Writers Association, writers for the Daily Racing Form, and officials from National Thoroughbred Racing Association racetracks.
Arlington Million hero Gio Ponti picked up two Eclipse Awards, being named both Champion Turf Male (for his four consecutive Grade I turf victories) and Champion Older Male (which recognized not only his turf dominance but his second-place finish to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic). Gio Ponti is owned by Castleton Lyons, trained by Christophe Clement and was ridden in the Million by Ramon Dominguez.
Locally-based She Be Wild, who broke her maiden here before notching stakes wins in our Top Flight Stakes and Arlington-Washington Lassie en route to her tally in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, was named Champion 2-Year-Old Filly. Nancy Mazzoni owns She Be Wild, who is trained by Wayne Catalano and was ridden locally by Junior Alvarado.
Chicago Handicap victress Informed Decision was named Champion Female Sprinter, a relatively new Eclipse category. Informed Decision is owned by Augustin Stable, trained by Jonathan Sheppard and was ridden in the Chicago Handicap by Julien Leparoux.
Speaking of Leparoux, the occasional Arlington visitor was named 2009 Outstanding Jockey. In '09, Leparoux won the Grade II American Derby on Reb and the Grade III Modesty Handicap astride Pure Clan in addition to his victory in the Chicago Handicap.
Steve Asmussen, who bettered his own single-season record by saddling 650 winners in 2009, was named Outstanding Trainer. Asmussen of course has stabled a division at Arlington Park since the mid-1990s.