Criminal Type was named horse of the year yesterday in a pronouncement of Eclipse Award winners that brought few surprises.
A legacy of the sire Alydar, Criminal Type received 44 percent of the votes by 249 turf writers, track racing secretaries and representatives of the Daily Racing Form, outpointing Unbridled and the late filly Go for Wand, in being awarded thoroughbred racing's highest honor. He also earned an Eclipse as outstanding older male of 1990 for winning four Grade I victories -- the most by a male last year -- before injury prompted his retirement to stud at Calumet Farm. Criminal Type totaled 110 votes, Unbridled 71 and Go for Wand 38. Thirty votes went to other horses.
Carl Nafzger was named the year's best trainer, principally for his work with Unbridled, and Craig Perret, who won the Kentucky Derby on Unbridled, the top jockey after he tied Jorge Velasquez's record of 57 stakes victories.
Mark Johnston was voted top apprentice, the fourth time in five years a Maryland-based rider has been so honored. Although his apprenticeship expired in July, he led all apprentices in victories and purses.
Go for Wand, whose dramatic breakdown and forced destruction in the Breeders' Cup Distaff marked racing's darkest and most memorable moment last year, was the nation's top 3-year-old filly. She had won seven of eight starts before her final day and led all thoroughbreds with six Grade I victories for the year. A seventh seemed within her grasp when she led Bayakoa by a neck with a half furlong left in the Distaff, then fell when her right foreleg snapped.
Unbridled won the 3-year-old male title on the strength of victories in America's most prestigous races, the Kentucky Derby and the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic, and led the nation in earnings with $3,718,149. He won four of 11 starts and was essential in bringing an Eclipse Award to his owner, Frances Genter.
Bayakoa, bidding to become the leading female money winner of all time, was a runaway winner in balloting among older fillies and mares. The only female to eclipse $1 million last year, she concluded with three straight victories.
Fly So Free and Meadow Star were named superior 2-year-old male and female. Fly So Free effectively earned his title when he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile; Meadow Star's championship status brought scarcely a doubt. She was unbeaten in six starts before closing with a five-length victory in the Breeders' Cup race for 2-year-old fillies.
Housebuster denied the Maryland-bred filly Safely Kept a second straight title by winning the Eclipse Award for sprinting. Safely Kept won the year's definitive test -- the Breeders' Cup Sprint -- but only after the English colt Dayjur twice jumped shadows and lost momentum as he was pulling away to apparent victory. Moreover, Housebuster dominated the nation's sprinters from January through September, winning nine out of 10 before a lusterless Vosburgh Stakes that led to his retirement.
Safely Kept, who didn't race against Housebuster, won eight of 10. She had two victories and two fourth-place finishes against males.
Among thoroughbreds, the only uncertain divisions were those for male and female turf specialists. Itsallgreektome was running in California allowance races early in the year but finished his 3-year-old campaign with two Grade I victories and a second in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Laugh and Be Merry was named the best female on turf
Morley Street was voted the top steeplechaser.
Criminal Type, a 5-year-old last season, won seven of 11 races and nearly $2.3 million.
The awards were announced in San Francisco.