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California Chrome has been named the United Stakes Horse of the Year for his wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, capping his rage to riches story.

The offspring of an $8,000 mare and $2,500 stallion, California Chrome also won the award for three-year-old males.

“This has been an incredible journey,” Steve Coburn, California Chrome’s co-owner, said.

California Chrome’s bid to become the sport’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978 was foiled in the Belmont Stakes when he finished fourth, but his year was still an unmistakable success with just over $US4 million ($A4.33 million) prize money and six wins from nine starts.

“This is a fairytale come true for us … it’s just amazing,” Coburn said.

Todd Pletcher extended his record with a seventh Eclipse award as top trainer, all in the past 11 years. Chad Brown was second and Art Sherman, California Chrome’s trainer, was third.

Pletcher recalled the story of how his application for stables at Gulfstream when he was getting started in 1995 was denied.

“And rightfully so,” Pletcher said. “I had seven horses, four of them were owned by my dad and they were all maidens. So at that time, I never could have even dreamed that being nominated for an award like this was possible.”

Javier Castellano won his second straight Eclipse award in the jockey division, making the 11th rider in history to take that honour in consecutive years. Castellano was the top choice on 77 per cent of the ballots cast.

Main Sequence got a pair of Eclipse awards, in the older male category over Palice Malice and in the male turf division over Wise Dan.

Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable was a unanimous selection for the three-year-old filly award.

The Eclipse Awards are voted on by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters.

 
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