John Henry won the sixth championship of his illustrious racing career as the winners of the Eclipse Awards were announced today. The 10-year-old was voted the country's best male or gelded grass runner of 1984, which was no surprise.
Neither was the selection of Slew o' Gold as the leading male dirt runner. These two horses are considered the leading contenders to receive the horse-of-the-year trophy at the Eclipse Awards banquet in Los Angeles next month.
There were no upsets in the balloting conducted by members of the National Turf Writers Association, the Daily Racing Form and the racing secretaries who are members of the Thoroughbred Racing Association. All of the organizations agreed on the champions in all equine categories.
Chief's Crown and Outstandingly were named the top 2-year-old colt and filly.
Swale was the posthumous choice as the champion 3-year-old colt, and Life's Magic was the choice as 3-year-old filly.
Eillo was also a posthumous winner, as the country's champion sprinter. Princess Rooney was named the best older filly and mare on the dirt, and Royal Heroine the best female on the turf. Flattered was named the champion steeplechaser.
The results of the balloting confirmed the importance of the newly created Breeders' Cup in determining America's thorougbred champions. Of the seven races run at Hollywood Park in November, five of the winners and two second-place finishers were given awards.
Pat Day, who had an outstanding ride aboard Wild Again in the Breeders' Cup Classic, was named the country's leading jockey.
John Franks was voted the leading owner, Jack Van Berg the leading trainer and Wesley Ward top apprentice rider. Claiborne Farm was chosen leading breeder and owner C.V. Whitney was voted a special award for meritorious service.