After months of speculation and predictions, the dust has settled around the Horse of the Year debate. In the 48th edition of the Eclipse Awards on January 24, Triple Crown™ winner Justify was named the 2018 Horse of the Year.
After winning the 2018 Kentucky Derby®, Justify went on to claim victory in both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes to become the 13th Triple Crown winner in history. Every Triple Crown winner since 1935 has gone on to be named Horse of the Year, so his win doesn't come as a complete shock until you take a look at the second place finisher.
The main contender for the Horse of the Year crown was Accelerate, who won six of seven starts in 2018, including a conquest in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs® in November.
Justify also took home the award for Champion 3-year-old male, and his breeder John D. Gunther was named the Outstanding Breeder at the Eclipse Awards.
Here is the complete list of winners from the year end awards!
2018 Eclipse Awards Winners
Horse of the Year: Justify
Champion Older Dirt Male: Accelerate
Champion Older Dirt Female: Unique Bella
Champion Turf Male: Stormy Liberal
Champion Turf Female: Sistercharlie
Champion 3-year-old Male: Justify
Champion 3-year-old Filly: Monomoy Girl
Champion 2-year-old Male: Game Winner
Champion 2-year-old Filly: Jaywalk
Champion Male Sprinter: Roy H
Champion Female Sprinter: Shamrock Rose
Outstanding Trainer: Chad Brown
Outstanding Owner: Hronis Racing
Outstanding Breeder: John D. Gunther
Outstanding Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Outstanding Apprentice Jockey: Weston Hamilton
Champion Steeplechase Horse: Zanjabeel
Will the 2019 Horse of the Year be at the Kentucky Derby?
In 2018, Derby Experiences guests got to see Horse of the Year Justify start his journey towards becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner in history. Could 2019 have the same fate? With an Official Ticket Package to the 2019 Kentucky Derby from Derby Experiences, you can enjoy premium hospitality at Churchill Downs while also experiencing the biggest racing weekend of the year.