By Dick Jerardi
Vequist, who began her career at Parx and trained there before she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland, was announced on Jan. 16 as a finalist for the 2-year-old filly Eclipse Award. The other finalists are Dayoutoftheoffice and Aunt Pearl. Vequist finished second to Dayoutoftheoffice in the Frizette before turning the tables in the Breeders’ Cup. Aunt Pearl waa dominant on the grass and won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The winners in all the categories will be announced Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. on TVG. Vequist, trained by Butch Reid, is a huge favorite to win the award. There was a similar situation two years ago when the John Servis-trained Jaywalk won the BC Juvenile Fillies and the brilliant, unbeaten Newspaperofrecord won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Each was a finalist. The voting was not close. Jaywalk got 214 votes; Newspaperofrecord just 31.
There were 249 eligible voters this year. A total of 238 returned their ballots.
The Horse of the Year finalists are: Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic, Improbable and Monomoy Girl. Authentic is a lock to win it. The top three on my ballot were Authentic, Improbable and Swiss Skydiver. Nothing against Monomoy Girl, but she raced just four times. Swiss Skydiver had a throwback campaign that I thought was more impressive.
By the way, in case you didn’t know, the Eclipse Awards are named for Eclipse, a 17th Century English horse that did not start racing until age 5. The horse, foaled April 1, 1764 and named after the Solar Eclipse, raced 18 times and won them all.
CARMOUCHE STAYS HOT
Parx Hall of Famer Kendrick Carmouche won his first Grade I and first New York meet in early December. He was hot when the fall Aqueduct meet ended. He is even hotter now that the Aqueduct winter meet is in full swing.
Carmouche, with 38 wins through Jan. 18, is 16 clear of second-place Eric Cancel. Last Saturday, he won four, three for trainer Todd Pletcher. Those three included the $100,000 Ladies Handicap on Thankful. The winter meet ends March 28.
It’s very early in the year obviously, but Carmouche is second nationally to Joel Rosario in earnings and second to Irad Ortiz, Jr., in wins.
FINAL 2020 PARX STANDINGS
Mychel Sanchez won his first Parx jockeys’ title in 2019 when he tied with Frankie Pennington. Sanchez won it outright in 2020 with 131 wins. Ruben Silvera finished second with 115.
Jamie Ness ran away with the trainers’ title. He had 109 wins to second-place Joe Taylor’s 50.
Jagger Inc., one of Ness’s main owners, won the owners’ title with 42 winners. Top North Racing was second with 24.