Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners is very proud to be represented at the Eclipse Award ceremonies at The Breakers Palm Beach on January 25 with Locked as a finalist for the Two-Year-Old Male of the Year and Candied as a finalist for Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year. These two follow Eclipse horses Sharing (2019), Aloha West (2021) and champion Nest (2022) as previous finalist.
Locked, by Gun Runner out of the Malibu Moon mare Luna Rose, was a $425,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2022. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Walmac Farm joined together acquiring Locked from the Eaton Sales consignment. Locked underwent the breaking process at Ocala Stud before joining Todd Pletcher’s string at Saratoga last May.
Locked made his racing debut at Saratoga on August 5. He had to check sharply at the start and trailed the field early on dropping over 11 lengths off the lead. I was there and my initial reaction was, “Oh no, this is going to be very disappointing.” Locked kicked into gear during the final ¼ mile of this six furlong race bringing smiles on faces as he exhibited a lot of courage in the stretch closing with every stride to finish third. In his second start on September 1, Locked again had to come from off the pace. He was ridden with confidence by Jose Ortiz. Locked put in a powerful stretch run winning by 7 1/4 lengths. With the end of the Saratoga meet on Labor Day, Aron Wellman and Todd Pletcher agreed to point for the $600,000 Breeders’ Futurity-G1 at Keeneland on October 7. A win in that race would guarantee Locked a place in the starting gate in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1 on November 3 at Santa Anita. Mission accomplished! Jose Ortiz again showed confidence in our colt by being seventh early on while racing outside of horses. Locked took off at the top of the stretch crossing the finish line a ½ length in front.
In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1, Locked once again found himself near the back of the pack early on. He did not appear to be handling the surface but then found his best stride at the top of the stretch putting in a strong late run finishing third.
Two wins and two thirds in four career starts accumulating $608,400 in earnings landed Locked the honor of being one of the finalist in the voting for Eclipse Award Two-Year-Old Male Horse of the Year. This is an honor he richly deserves, and we look forward to launching his three-year-old campaign on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in the Sam Davis Stakes-G3 at Tampa Bay Downs on February 10.
The Eclipse Thoroughbred filly Candied also earned Eclipse Award finalist honors in the Two-Year-Old Filly category. By Candy Ride out of the Roaring Fever mare Toni Tools, Candied was purchased for $165,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Yearling Sale from the Buck Pond Farm consignment. Candied went through the breaking process at Susan Montayne’s SBM operation in Ocala. She joined Todd Pletcher’s string in Saratoga in June of last year.
Candied ran three times as a two-year-old winning her first two starts before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 with earnings of $595,800 for the year. In an exciting racing debut at Saratoga on August 20, Candied came from sixth early on circling the field and getting up in the shadow of the wire to win by a ½ length under Luis Saez. Following the same plan Aron and Todd set for Locked, Candied also went to Keeneland to try to secure a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1. In the “win and you’re in” $600,000 Alcibiades-G1, Candied settled in mid-pack before launching her bid and in a determined effort got up in the stretch to win by a length. Just like Locked, “Mission accomplished!”
In the Breeders’ Cup, Candied had an unfortunate bobble at the start and was outrun early on. She showed grit and guts working her way through the field to finish third beaten only ¾’s of a length behind the winner. Not only did she earn the right to be an Eclipse Award finalist but also has given us all dreams of running in the feature race at Churchill Downs on the first Friday in May, the Kentucky Oaks-G1!
Previous to Locked and Candied, Eclipse Award finalists include Nest, Sharing and Aloha West. In 2022, Nest (Curlin – Marion Ravenwood by A. P. Indy) won three Grade 1 Stakes – the Ashland, Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes. She finished second in two Grade 1’s – the Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes. She also was best in the Beldame Stakes-G2 and the Suncoast Stakes. With these accomplishments under her belt, Nest was named Eclipse Award 2022 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Nest had eight wins, two seconds and two thirds in 14 career starts earning $2,172,675. Irad Ortiz guided Nest to her victories. She brought $6,000,000 at the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale.
Sharing (Speightstown – Shared Account by Pleasantly Perfect) was the first Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners horse to be named as a finalist for an Eclipse Award. As a two-year-old, Sharing won three of four starts capping off her campaign with a victory in the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1 at Santa Anita. She won by 1 ¼ lengths going off at 14-1 odds. Upon her retirement, Sharing was sold to Gainsway Farm for mega-millions.
Thanks to his thrilling victory in the 2021 $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1 at Del Mar, Aloha West (Hard Spun – Island Bound by Speightstown) was named a finalist in the 2021 Eclipse Award Male Sprinter category. Purchased privately following his second career start, Aloha West was trained by Wayne Catalano. Along with the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Aloha West won four other races for Eclipse including the Kelly’s Landing Stakes. In October 2022, a deal was worked out with Mill Ridge Farm in Kentucky to stand Aloha West at stud. Well received last year, Aloha West will begin his second season covering mares next month.
Having a horse nominated for an Eclipse Award is a great honor and we at Eclipse anticipate adding to our number of 5 in coming years.