Godolphin homebred and Bridlewood Farm alumnus Cody’s Wish was honored with the two Eclipse Awards as the 2023 Horse of the Year and Champion Older Dirt Male to lead the way among several graduates of Ocala and Marion County early training programs similarly celebrated. Cody’s Wish is one of two Eclipse Award winners who graduated from Bridlewood Farm as Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Pretty Mischievous is also a product of the early race training program at the iconic Ocala facility.

The 53rd annual Eclipse Awards were held Thursday night at the Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Fla., and honored Thoroughbreds and individuals for their racing industry achievements in 2023.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who won his fourth Eclipse Award as champion trainer Thursday night, Cody’s Wish took the Grade 1 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for the second consecutive year to cap 2023 with four wins, all in graded stakes, in five starts with earnings of $1,773,900. The son of Curlin was retired following his Breeders’ Cup victory, ending a career that saw him win 11 of 16 starts with one win and four thirds and a bankroll of $3,106,030.

Named after the late Cody Dorman, a boy born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome and confined to a wheelchair with severely restricted body movements, Cody’s Wish was linked to the courageous Dorman throughout his career as the young man and his family were in attendance for many of Cody’s Wish’s races. Dorman passed away the day after attending the Breeders’ Cup to again watch his namesake.

Mott also trained Just F Y I, the Eclipse Award champion 2-Year-Old Filly; and Elite Power, the Champion Male Sprinter.

Blue Rose Farm took home the Eclipse Award for their Champion 3-Year-Old Male Arcangelo, who is trained by Ocala’s Jena Antonucci. Antonucci initially trained the winner of the Grade 1 Belmont and Grade 1 Travers at her HorseOlogy operation based at Paul Bulmahn’s GoldMark Farm in Ocala. Antonucci made history with Arcangelo’s Belmont win as the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race.

Another Eclipse Award honoree with central Florida ties is First Row Partners and Team Hanley’s Goodnight Olive, who was named the Champion Female Sprinter for the second time after she successfully defended her title in the Grade 1 PNC Bank Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. The daughter of Ghostzapper was consigned by Marion County’s Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck in the name of their Summerfield to the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Fall Yearling Sale and received her early training in Ocala from Paul Sharp.

Ocala Stud and their race training program was represented by two Eclipse Award winners in Champion Male Turf Horse Up to the Mark and Champion 2-Year-Old Male Fierceness.

Repole Stables and St. Elias Stables LLC’s Up to the Mark won five of seven starts in 2023 including the Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile, Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Manhattan, Grade 1 Old Forester Bourbon Turf Class.

Repole Stables’ Fierceness won two of three starts during the year including the Grade 1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by TAA.

Return to Jan. 26 issue of Wire to Wire