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Godolphin and Essential Quality honoured with Eclipse Awards


Godolphin secured Outstanding Owner honours for a third time at the 50th Annual Eclipse Awards, with unbeaten colt Essential Quality receiving the Champion Two-Year-Old Male accolade at a virtual ceremony on the evening of Thursday, 28 January.

In a highly successful year in North America, Godolphin enjoyed three G1 victories, headlined by a top-level double from Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Futurity and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Fair Maiden graduated to G1 glory in the La Brea Stakes, while fellow three-year-olds Maxfield, Shared Sense, Pixelate and Mystic Guide also posted notable Graded-race victories. All six horses were born and raised by Godolphin in a significant 2020 for the operation as both an owner and a breeder.

Godolphin USA President Jimmy Bell said: “This certainly puts an exclamation point on what has been a most exciting and enjoyable year of racing for Godolphin. Thank you to the voters that made this happen as well as a tip of a hat to Klaravich Stables and the Authentic racing group, for what had to be a very, very competitive category.

“Thank you too to our trainers for all your support and all the opportunities that you gave the horses over the past year. We really feel privileged to be part of your operations. “Godolphin’s racing programme both benefits and supports our breeding programme. All 19 of our Stakes performers that raced in 2020 were homebreds. Our farm staff deserve a lot of credit for all the success we are enjoying.

“This year will mark the beginning of the fifth decade that Sheikh Mohammed has been racing in the United States. He has enjoyed a lot of milestones along the way and I am sure that these Eclipse Awards rate very highly on his list of accomplishments.

“On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and our entire Godolphin team, thank you once again for this prestigious honour.”

Essential Quality ended his year as one of North America’s most exciting juveniles of recent years.

The Tapit colt made a winning introduction on the Kentucky Derby undercard in September before a dominant display in Keeneland’s G1 Breeders’ Futurity in October.

He confirmed his position as the best of his generation with another G1 victory at Keeneland in November, when he galloped out strongly to take the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His handler Brad Cox was also honoured at the Eclipse Awards as he was named Outstanding Trainer.

Jimmy Bell added: “We certainly want to thank all the voters who saw fit to make Essential Quality their Champion Two-Year-Old and a quick thank you to Brad Cox and his entire team for the patience they showed in developing this colt. In all fairness, Brad told us early on that he thought he had a real runner on his hands. To his credit, he didn’t make his first start until September.

“Sheikh Mohammed also enjoyed following his progress and greatly enjoyed watching his run in the Breeders’ Cup. I certainly want to stop and thank the folks at the farm for their hand in raising another top athlete.

“We are all anxiously awaiting Essential Quality’s three-year-old debut and can only hope that he continues to be as happy and as healthy as he is today.

“On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, thank you so much for voting Essential Quality as your Champion Two-Year-Old.”