Bricks and Mortar has been named Horse of the Year, as well as Champion Male Turf Horse, at the 49th Eclipse Awards after an undefeated year. The Chad Brown-trained 6-year-old was sire Giant’s Causeway’s winningest offspring in 2019, earning over $6.7 million in six starts with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard.
— TVG (@TVG) January 24, 2020
“We ran him against the best competition we could find,” owner Seth Klarman said as he accepted the Male Turf Horse award early in the night. “He danced every dance.”
Bricks and Mortar’s dominant year comes after a total of 440 days off between October 7, 2017 and December 22, 2018 due to an uncommon neuro-muscular condition in his right hind leg called stringhalt. Brown was told the horse had a 50-50 chance at returning to the same level of racing after corrective surgery.
A month after his return, Bricks and Mortar won the inaugural $3 million Pegasus World Cup Turf by three lengths. He went on to win a G2 handicap at Fair Grounds before picking up three big Grade 1 stakes races: the Old Forrester Turf Classic at Churchill, the Manhattan at Belmont and the Arlington Million. He closed out 2019 with a win in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November. Last month, Bricks and Mortar arrived at Shadai Stallion Station in Japan to begin his second career.
The connections of Bricks and Mortar also fared well at the Eclipse Awards. Ortiz Jr. beat out his brother Jose Ortiz for Outstanding Jockey, and Brown took home Outstanding Trainer for the fourth year in a row. Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William H. Lawrence, the partnership behind Bricks and Mortar, claimed Outstanding Owner, and his breeder George Strawbridge Jr. won his respective category as well.
Midnight Bisou was named Champion Older Dirt Female. She won seven of her eight starts in 2019, with her sole loss coming in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Todd Pletcher’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso won Champion Older Dirt Male.
Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Uni (GB), also trained by Chad Brown, took home Champion Female Turf Horse. Met Mile and Breeders’ Cup Sprint victor Mitole was the Champion Male Sprinter. Crowd favorite and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Covfefe was named Champion Female Sprinter and 3-Year-Old Filly. Three-time Grade 1 winner (and disqualified Kentucky Derby runner) Maximum Security was crowned Champion 3-Year-Old Male.
— TVG (@TVG) January 24, 2020
The dramatic and historic 2019 Kentucky Derby, which saw Maximum Security disqualified after crossing the Churchill Downs wire first, was the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)’s Moment of the Year.
In addition to honoring some of horse racing’s best, the NTRA honored retired Thoroughbreds at the Eclipse Awards by showing photos of former racehorses in their new careers as part of the new #NeverEclipsed campaign.
All Eclipse Award finalists (winners in bold):
Horse of the Year: Bricks and Mortar, Maximum Security, Mitole
2-Year-Old Male: Maxfield, Storm the Court, Structor
2-Year-Old Filly: Bast, British Idiom, Sharing
3-Year-Old Male: Code of Honor, Maximum Security, Omaha Beach
3-Year-Old Filly: Covfefe, Guarana, Serengeti Empress
Older Dirt Male: McKinzie, Mitole, Vino Rosso
Older Dirt Female: Blue Prize, Elate, Midnight Bisou
Male Sprinter: Imperial Hint, Mitole, World of Trouble
Female Sprinter: Belvoir Bay, Come Dancing, Covfefe
Male Turf Horse: Bricks and Mortar, Mo Forza, World of Trouble
Female Turf Horse: Got Stormy, Sistercharlie, Uni
Steeplechase Horse: Brain Power, Scorpiancer, Winston C
Owner: Gary Barber, Peter Brant, Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William H. Lawrence
Breeder: Calumet Farm, Godolphin, George Strawbridge Jr.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Chad Brown, Brad Cox
Jockey: Javier Castellano, Irad Ortiz, Jr., Jose Ortiz
Apprentice Jockey: Julio Correa, Angel Diaz, Kazushi Kimura