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Godolphin receives Eclipse Awards for Champion Male Turf Horse, Outstanding Owner and Outstanding Breeder


Breeder’s Cup hero Modern Games was crowned Champion Male Turf Horse at the 2022 Eclipse Awards on Thursday, 26 January, with Godolphin taking both the Outstanding Owner and Outstanding Breeder Awards for a second successive year.

Modern Games emulated Daylami, Fantastic Light and Yibir as he came out on top in a category that included his stable-mates Rebel’s Romance and Nations Pride, who also enjoyed G1 success for Charlie Appleby in North America last year.

During an exceptional 2022, Modern Games stormed to victory in the G1 Woodbine Mile and G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, in addition to European Classic success in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains. The Dubawi colt remains in training for 2023 and looks set for another ambitious campaign as a four-year-old.

On receiving the award, Dan Pride, Chief Operating Officer, Godolphin USA, said: “In the spirit of our founder Sheikh Mohammed, the goal is to compete in the best races in the world at the highest level. The common theme here is Charlie Appleby – he and his team travelled these horses multiple times last year. It has been very special to be a part of that and to watch it.

“Modern Games is in training and is going to work back from the Breeders’ Cup in Santa Anita. I don’t think anyone here loves the Breeders’ Cup as much as Charlie!”

Godolphin took the Outstanding Owner Award for a third consecutive year, and fifth time in total, following a 2022 that produced the winners of 23 Graded races, including 13 at G1 level, and prize money in excess of US$16m.

Michael Banahan, Director of Bloodstock, Godolphin USA, said: “I’d like to thank the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and all who voted for Godolphin to get the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner. This is truly a golden era for Godolphin and these accolades recognise how special it is. It means so much to Godolphin and our founder Sheikh Mohammed.

“We are really starting to fall in love with this decade as Godolphin has a perfect trifecta of Outstanding Owner titles in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Now the pressure comes to try and improve and hit greater heights going forward. It’s great to reflect on these meaningful achievements, but what drives Godolphin forward is the ambition to set new goals to get us back here to collect future Eclipse Awards.

“Thank you to our trainers – Bill Mott, Brendan Walsh, Brad Cox, Mike Stidham, Eoin Harty – and a special shout out to our resident trainer Johnny Burke. He’s our secret weapon, who gets all our horses back to the trainers in excellent fettle, so that they can be so successful on the track at the highest level.

“I’d also like to thank the jockeys who have ridden our G1 winners in 2022 – Junior Alvarado, Flavien Prat, Joel Rosario, Tyler Gaffalione, William Buick and James Doyle.”

All 23 of Godolphin’s Graded Stakes victories in 2022 were achieved by homebreds, helping Godolphin pick up the Outstanding Breeder Award for a second straight year.

Michael Banahan added: “I’m honoured to be representing Godolphin’s founder Sheikh Mohammed by receiving this coveted award. Everyone in the industry appreciates how difficult it is to breed a G1 winner, or even any Graded winner. For Godolphin to breed 10 G1 winners, to win 13 G1 races, in 2022 is a fantastic achievement. To cap the year with four Breeders’ Cup winners, culminating with Cody’s Wish winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, was extra special.

“This is the first time Godolphin has won back-to-back Outstanding Breeder Awards and I would like to acknowledge some of the team behind them. Danny Mulvihill, Gerry Duffy, Rafael Hernandez, Benji Amezcua and Paul Seitz. They do all the hard work and invest a lot every day back in Kentucky to make this happen. Through all their hard work, we get up here, reach the pinnacle of the industry and are able to get these Eclipse Awards.”

Cody’s Wish was also recognised twice at the ceremony for his life-affirming bond with Cody Dorman. NBC Sports won the Eclipse Media Award for Feature Television Programming for a piece on the duo that aired during its Breeders’ Cup coverage.

His victory in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and the emotional scenes with the Dorman family in the winner’s circle, was also voted the 2022 FanDuel Racing-NTRA Moment of the Year by members of the public.

Cody Dorman said: “Thank you everyone for following and supporting Cody’s Wish and me, and thanks for voting too. I hear your cheers and I love seeing how much this means to you and how it touches your hearts. I hope that you never lose this feeling, I promise you that I never will. Thank you everybody, you make me so happy, God bless you all.”

Danny Mulvihill, Stud Farm Manager, Godolphin USA, added: “What a story! It’s important to remember where this started back in 2018, when we had Cody as part of Keeneland’s Make A Wish day. The story has just grown legs from there. I think it is like one of the best books you have ever read, you can’t put it down and every page you turn is better than the one before.”