Eclipse finalists: 2 females vie for Horse of Year

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It’s a match race between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta for Horse of the Year.

The star females were the only horses receiving votes for Horse of the Year, while there are three finalists in each of the other 16 Eclipse Award categories announced Wednesday.

The winners will be chosen Jan. 18 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta are virtual certainties to win divisional championships.

Rachel Alexandra is a finalist for top 3-year-old filly after going 8-0 with a Preakness Stakes win, one of three victories over boys. The 5-year-old Zenyatta is a finalist for best older female after a 5-0 campaign capped by a win over boys in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird and Florida Derby winner Quality Road are the 3-year-old male finalists.

Gio Ponti and Kodiak Kowboy are finalists in two divisions. Both are up for an Eclipse as top older male, with Gio Ponti also a finalist for best male turf horse, and Kodiak Kowboy also a finalist for best male sprinter.

The top three finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile — Vale of York, Lookin at Lucky and Noble’s Promise — are finalists for champion 2-year-old colt or gelding.

Zenyatta owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs are finalists in their respective categories. The other trainers up for the Eclipse are Steve Asmussen (Rachel Alexandra) and Bob Baffert (Lookin at Lucky). Godolphin Racing and Juddmonte Farms are the other finalist owners.

The jockey finalists are Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez and Julien Leparoux.

Voting is done by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the National Turf Writers Association and the Daily Racing Form.