Wise Dan was named Horse of the Year for 2012 and also won two other awards on Saturday night at horse racing’s annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park.
Wise Dan, who won five of his six races last year, also won the voting for Older Male and for Male Turf horse. All of his wins were in Grade 1 stakes with four on turf and one on a synthetic surface.
He beat out I’ll Have Another and Fort Larned, the other two Horse of the Year top vote-getters in balloting by racing writers and industry officials.
Last year, I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Fort Larned won the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Royal Delta and Trinniberg, two horses owned by South Florida residents, won the Eclipse Awards for older Female and Male Sprinter, respectively.
Benjamin Leon Jr. of Miami owns Royal Delta. Shivananda Parbhoo of Davie trains Trinniberg, and his family owns the 4-year-old colt.
Little Mike, owned by Carlo and Priscilla Vaccarezza of Parkland, finished second to Wise Dan in the Turf category.
The Vaccarezzas own Frank & Dino’s Restaurant in Deerfield.
Leon is the founder and chairman of Leon Medical Centers, which owns and operates seven hospitals in Miami.
Leon and his family own Besilu Stables, which owns about 40 horses including broodmares at its farm in Ocala.
Besilu bought Royal Delta for $8.5 million in November 2011 at an auction in Lexington, Ky.
She was sold in a dispersal of horses following the death of her previous owner, Prince Saud bin Khaled of Saudi Arabia.
In 2012, Royal Delta’s wins included the Breeders’ Cup Distaff Stakes at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint was among Trinniberg’s 2012 wins.
Parbhoo was joined by father and trainer Bisnath and about a dozen other family members in accepting Trinniberg’s award,
“When we started in this business, our goal was to win just one $55,000 stakes race,” Shivananda Parbhoo said. “It is unbelievable to be here on this stage tonight.”
Little Mike’s wins included the Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes and two other Grade 1 turf stakes. But he received just 78 first-place votes, compared with 170 for Wise Dan in the Turf category.
Eclipse Awards were presented in 17 categories.
Other winners included:
• 2-Year-Old Male: Shanghai Bobby, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes.
• 2-Year-Old Filly: Beholding, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes.
• 3-Year-Old Male: I’ll Have Another.
• 3-Year-Old Filly: Questing, a winner of three Grade 1 stakes.