Eclipse Award Nominees for Top Trainer and My Pick

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D.S. Williamson

January 16th, 2017

mediaEclipse Award Nominations are out! Three of the best trainers in the world have been recognized for their work in 2016 by being nominated. The three nominees for Outstanding Trainer are Mark Casse, Chad Brown, and Bob Baffert. The photo attached is of great trainer Bobby Frankel who won the Eclipse four years in a row from 2000 to 2003. Which of the following trainers listed below is my choice for the 2016 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer? Keep reading to find out!
Mark Casse

Canada's Eclipse Award for trainer of the year is the Sovereign Award. Casse has won 6 Sovereign Awards. He won the Sovereign in 2006 through 2008 as well as winning it in 20011, 2012, and 2013. 2016 is the first year where Casse's barn made a huge impact on American Thoroughbred Racing.  Casse trained multiple Grade 1 winners Classic Empire, Noble Bird, Tepin, and Catch a Glimpse in 2016. Classic Empire won the Breeers' Cup Juvenile last year. He's the big favorite to win the Kentucky Derby going into 2017.
Bob Baffert

2015's Eclipse Award winner for outstanding trainer is looking for his fifth Eclipse. Baffert won the award in 1997, 1998, and 1999. The greatest trainer to ever live trained two sprinters in 2016 that are nominated for the Eclipse Award for top sprinter, Lord Nelson and Defrong. Baffert also trained three-year-old Arrogate to an upset win over California Chrome in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Arrogate is nominated for Horse of the Year.
Chad Brown

Chad Brown's horses won an amazing 41 graded stakes races in 2016. That's close to unbelievable. Although Brown is known as one of the top turf trainers in the United States, if not the best in the U.S, he's gotten better and better at getting horses ready to run over the dirt. Practical Joke is one of the top Kentucky Derby prospects for 2017. Brown also trained top turf horse Flintshire, and Connect to a win in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile over Aqueduct's dirt.


My Pick:  Chad Brown

No offense to Mark Casse or Bob Baffert. Both of those guys had terrific years. But, no trainer was as impressive in 2016 as Chad Brown. Brown dominated turf racing on the East Coast. He won an incredible 41 graded stakes races. Out of those 41 graded stakes wins, 12 were Grade 1 races, and Brown wasn't just successful with his most recognizable trainee in 2016, Flintshire.

Connect won the Cigar Mile at 5 to 1 odds. Dacita won the Grade 1 Diana at 4 to 1 odds. Brown won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar with Annals of Time at 6 to 1 odds. In a year where both Mark Casse and Bob Baffert were great, Chad Brown was greater than both. If I had a vote for Eclipse Award for Top Trainer, my vote would go to Chad Brown.