After reading Jon White’s latest Xpressbet column regarding the Eclipse Awards, one thing became very clear: the 2-Year-Old Male of the Year is completely wide-open.
In fact, it’s so wide open that I believe one of five horses could end up winning the award. This tends to happens when a longshot wins the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), which is what happened when Storm the Court crossed the wire first at 45/1 a few weeks ago. Here’s my outlook on who could possibly win one of the most prestigious Eclipse Awards:
1. Tiz the Law
After an impressive victory in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park over Green Light Go, his connections opted to skip the Breeders’ Cup. Instead, they immediately pointed towards the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. If he can win there, then he may move to the top of the list, pending the result of the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct and the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. Even if a prime contender wins one of those two races, Tiz the Law could still be the divisional leader.
2. Storm the Court
You have to consider him the clubhouse leader after his 45/1 shocker in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). However, his resume leaves a lot to be desired, which is why several other horses have a shot. His only other win came against maiden special weight company on debut; he was unsuccessful in two other attempts against graded stakes company. For him to win, he will need all of the other prime contenders to struggle in their final 2-year-old races.
It’s surprising to me that Structor hasn’t garnered much talk for this award. Historically, turf horses tend to get ignored when it comes to 2-year-old honors, but this would be the perfect year to give it to one. He is perfect in three starts, including a Grade 3 win in the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park and an impressive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to round out the season. At the very least, he should be a finalist, and his connections have said that they’ll take a shot on the Kentucky Derby Trail next.
4. Independence Hall
His next start is up in the air, which is why he is fourth on the list. Independence Hall owns what could be the most impressive stakes win of all 2-year-olds, coming in the Nashua Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct last time out. He was pointing to the Remsen Stakes (G2) after that win, but his connections have since removed him from consideration. Without another start in 2019, it will be impossible for him to move up the list.
5. Honor A.P.
This future Southern California star is pointing to the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) after a dazzling maiden special weight score at Santa Anita last time out. Even if he wins that spot on December 7, though, his resume could end up being a little light to take home the award. Still, style points are going to matter in this close division. With a blowout victory at Los Alamitos, he could at least factor into the outcome. More importantly, he has a great shot to enter 2020 as the top Kentucky Derby prospect.