Curlin, shown above crushing the Dubai World Cup in March of 2008, tonight became the first thoroughbred to win back to back Horse of the Year honors since Cigar did it in 1995 and 1996. His two closest rivals for the award were the undefeated Zenyatta and the puzzling Big Brown. The former was given top honors for older Fillies and Mares, and the latter easily won the award for top three-year-old male.
Other Eclipse awards included Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell for three-year-old fillies, Benny the Bull for top sprinter, and Kentucky Derby-hopeful Midshipman for top two-year-old male.
I was rooting for Curlin to get the big prize, despite his disappointing fourth-place finish in the Breeder's Cup Classic, which was the champ's final race. His only two losses in his four-year-old campaign were game attempts on unfamiliar surfaces: on the the grass in the Man o' War, and on the Santa Anita polytrack in the BC Classic. After winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in September, he became the first thoroughbred to surpass $10,000,000 in earnings.
This year he begins his career as a professional lady's man, receiving a fee of $75,000 for each romance. Long live the Cadmium Orange horse!