Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, a three-time Grade 1 winner last year, was crowned as the 2014 Eclipse Award winner as champion steeplechase horse on Saturday at the annual awards dinner at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Trained by Richard Valentine and ridden by Robbie Walsh, the imposing Elusive Quality gelding prevailed over Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune, a two-time Grade 1 winner who was the 2013 Eclipse champion.
The vote tally was overwhelming. Demonstrative received 206 first-place votes to 12 for Divine Fortune. Irv Naylor’s two-time Grade 3 winner Decoy Daddy received five first-place votes, while Merriebelle Stable’s Makari, the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) winner, received two first-place votes and was an Eclipse finalist based on cumulative voting.
After finishing a nose behind Makari in the Smithwick, Demonstrative went on a tear through Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), and Far Hills’ $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1). He concluded the season with a third-place finish in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) behind Divine Fortune, who also had won the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in May.
Mrs. Ohrstrom, Valentine, and Walsh accepted the award. “We’re delighted and look forward to 2015,” Valentine said.
Joe Clancy, editor of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and a member of the American Steeplechase community, was honored with an Eclipse Award for his coverage of California Chrome’s victory in the Preakness Stakes.
Steeplechase owners Sarah and Ken Ramsey received the Eclipse Awards for outstanding owner and outstanding breeder.