AS EXPECTED by many, Bricks And Mortar was crowned the Eclipse Award Horse of The Year at a ceremony at Gulfstream Park in Florida last Thursday night, capping a season that saw the son of Giant’s Causeway record five top level triumphs. The 6yo, bred by George Strawbridge, raced in the colours of Klaravich Stables and William H Lawrence and will commence his stud career at Shadai Stallion Station next month. Just 12 months ago, however, the champion was gearing up for the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, in which he defeated Magic Wand by two and a half lengths. He went on to win the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic in May, the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes in June, the Grade 1 Arlington Million in August and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in November.
Bricks And Mortar, who also received the prize as the leading Male Turf Horse, is the first horse trained by Chad Brown to win the top prize at the Eclipse Awards, and Brown also picked up the award for 2019’s leading trainer. Bricks And Mortar’s other connections also scooped prizes, with Seth Klarman and William Lawrence receiving the trophy as leading owner, George Strawbridge picking up the leading breeder award and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr collecting the leading jockey trophy. Another of Brown’s leading turf performers, the British-bred mare Uni received the accolade of Champion Female Turf Horse, for a season in which she claimed two top level triumphs, including in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Formerly trained in France by Fabrice Chappet, she was bred by Haras d’Etreham. Other winners on the night included the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic victor Vino Rosso, also successful at the highest level in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May, who was crowned Champion Older Dirt Male. The Older Dirt Female trophy went to Midnight Bisou, who was second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but claimed a hat-trick of Grade One triumphs throughout the season. The Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint heroine Covfefe scooped two prizes, as leading 3yo Filly and as leading Female Sprinter, while Mitole scooped the Male Sprinter award. The prize for Champion 3yo Male went to Maximum Security, disqualified from first place in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, but twice a Grade One winner later in the season.
Among the juveniles of 2019, Storm The Court was crowned Champion 2yo Male having won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, while the unbeaten dual Grade One heroine British Idiom was a deserving winner of the Champion 2yo Female award. The only other prize on the night was the award for leading apprentice, which went to the 20yo Japanese-born Kazushi Kimura who is based in Canada and won 117 races with prize money of over $3.7m before he lost his apprentice allowance in late October.