Remembering the champions we lost in 2023
Through Dec. 18, nine former Eclipse Award-winning Thoroughbreds are known to have died in 2023. Here are short sketches of each one in chronological order according to the year their championships were attained.
A charismatic, 17-hand gray, Daylami earned champion turf male honors in 1999 following an explosive win in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Gulfstream Park, which followed earlier top-level wins in the Coronation Cup (G1), King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1), and Irish Champion (G1) for Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Winner of the classic French 2000 Guineas (G1) for original owner The Aga Khan, Daylami also won the 1998 Man o' War (G1) at Belmont Park, in which he defeated that season's champion turf male and Breeders' Cup Turf winner Buck's Boy. Daylami died on April 5 at age 29.
A homebred campaigned by The Aga Khan and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Kalanisi followed in the footsteps of Daylami by clinching champion turf male honors in 2000 following a victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf, in his case at Churchill Downs.
Kalanisi claimed victory in the Champion (G1) and Queen Anne (G2) earlier that season, and had narrowly been defeated by Giant's Causeway in both the Eclipse (G1) and Juddmonte International (G1). Kalanisi died on May 25 at age 27.
The 2001 Kentucky Derby (G1) remains a puzzling loss for Point Given, who swept every other race he competed in that season en route to champion three-year-old male and Horse of the Year honors.
Owned by the The Thoroughbred Corporation of Prince Ahmed bin Salman and trained by Bob Baffert, Point Given finished a distant fifth in the Kentucky Derby after impressive wins in the San Felipe (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1). He rebounded with emphatic victories in the Preakness (G1) and Belmont (G1), and later added the Haskell Invitational (G1) and Travers (G1).
A Hall of Fame inductee in 2010, Point Given died on Sept. 11 at the age of 25.
The popular New York-bred gelding Funny Cide bankrolled more than $3.5 million in a 38-race career, which was highlighted by wins in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Although he fell short in his quest for the Triple Crown, finishing third to Empire Maker, Funny Cide was voted champion three-year-old male.
Owned by Sackatoga Stable and trained by Barclay Tagg, Funny Cide resided at the Kentucky Horse Park in retirement. He died there, after a bout of colic, on July 16 at the age of 23.
One of the top sprinters of his era, Speightstown was awarded that division title in 2004 after winning five of six starts that season. Among his triumphs were the Churchill Downs H. (G2), True North H. (G2), Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G2), and Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Lone Star Park.
Owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk and trained by Todd Pletcher, Speightstown became an influential stallion at WinStar Farm. He died on Dec. 8 at the age of 25.
The champion two-year-old filly of 2010, Awesome Feather won 10 of 11 starts, her only setback being the 2012 Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) in her final career race.
Awesome Feather swept the Florida Stallion Stakes series for juvenile fillies at Calder prior to winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs as a lukewarm 4-1 favorite. Infirmities limited her from racing with great frequency at ages three and four, though she did capture the 2011 Gazelle (G1).
Owned by Stronach Stables and trained by Stanley Gold at the time of her championship, Awesome Feather died on March 2 at the age of 15.
Havre de Grace
Havre de Grace was the second female Horse of the Year in a row when taking top honors in 2011, as well as the older female championship (Zenyatta had won both awards in 2010). Havre de Grace won five of seven starts that season, including the Apple Blossom H. (G1) and Beldame (G1) against mares, and also became just the second female ever to win the prestigious Woodward (G1).
Owned by Fox Hill Farm and trained by Larry Jones, Havre de Grace died after foaling a colt by Into Mischief on April 30 at the age of 16.
A California-bred gelding, Amazombie earned champion male sprinter honors in 2011 after winning five of nine starts, including the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs and the Ancient Title (G1). Owned by Thomas Sanford and trainer Bill Spawr, Amazombie was retired with earnings of more than $1.9 million.
Amazombie was a resident of the Old Friends retirement facility in Kentucky when he passed away Sept. 18 at the age of 16.
Work All Week
Only the second Illinois-bred ever to win a division championship (the other was the aforementioned Buck's Boy), Work All Week was the nation's top male sprinter in 2014 after winning four stakes that season, including the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita and the Phoenix (G3).
A winner in 13 of 19 career outings, Work All Week was owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds and was trained by Roger Brueggemann. Also a resident of Old Friends, he died on Nov. 13 and age 14.