Aiken has ties to several of the finalists for tomorrow evening’s 42nd edition of the Eclipse Awards, which will be held at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Darley Stable is a finalist in the outstanding breeder category, and his Godolphin Racing is a finalist in the outstanding owner division. Aiken resident Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, a winner of three stakes races in 2012, is a finalist in the outstanding steeplechase horse category. Godolphin Racing’s Questing (GB), a winner of the third jewel of the New York Racing Association’s Triple Tiara, is also among the finalists in the Three-Year-Old female division.
Darley has it’s breaking and training division in Aiken, and a number of their Grade 1 winners trained over the Aiken Training Track, a list that includes the 2012 Aiken Trained Horse of the Year Alpha, Better Lucky, Emcee and the 2011 Aiken Trained Horse of the Year It’s Tricky.
“We’re very proud to be a part of the team,” said Tim Jones, Darley’s trainer in Aiken. “It’s quite an honor to be recognized. We’re just glad to be able to make a contribution, and we’re all working toward the same goal. We’ve been very blessed to work with these kind of horses.”
A daughter of the 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, was among those that came through the program, and the filly chose to win her first Grade 1 in the last start of her sophomore campaign. Better Lucky’s Grade 1 victory came in the Matriarch Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 25 at odds of 35/1. She had a stakes score earlier in the year, capturing the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes on May 28 at Belmont Park.
“She was a pleasant surprise,” said Jones. “Those are the horses that we’re looking for.”
Godolphin Racing, a finalist in the Eclipse Award owner category, captured seven Grade 1s in 2012, It’s Tricky, the Ogden Phipps; Questing (GB), the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama; Emcee, the Forego Handicap; Dance Card, the Gazelle and Alpha dead heated for first in the Travers Stakes.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative won two Grade 1s, the New York Turf Writers Handicap in August at Saratoga, and the bay gelding would close the year with a win in the Colonial Cup at Camden’s Springdale Race Course. The son of Elusive Quality is trained by Richard Valentine.