Kazushi Kimura wins Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice

20-year-old native of Japan is Woodbine's third leading rider and just started his jockey career in the summer of 2018. Plus, all the Eclipse winners.

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By: Canadian Thoroughbred/Press release |

Woodbine’s talented jockey KAZUSHI KIMURA was voted Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in the U.S. at the Jan. 23 Eclipse Awards at Gulfstream Park. The 20-year-old from Japan received 74 first-place votes compared to 60 for Julio Correa and 53 for Angel Diaz.

Kimura, who lost his apprentice allowance in October, was the 2018 Outstanding Apprentice at the Sovereign Awards and is a shoe-in to receive the same award for 2019 at the April Sovereign Awards ceremony.


KAZUSHI KIMURA rode for HRH The Queen in the E.P. Taylor Stakes – Magnetic Charm was second – JOHN WATKINS PHOTO

“I am very proud of the Eclipse Award,” said Kimura. “Thank you to my agent Jordan Miller, we always stay together, and thank you to all the trainers, assistant trainers, grooms, owners, everyone.”

Kimura began preparing to be a jockey when he was 10-years-old. He rode horses at his parents training centre in Hakkaido, Japan. Taking a cue from fellow Japanese apprentice Daisuke Fukumoto, who came to Canada to begin his own riding career, Kimura came to Woodbine in 2017 and was often seen sitting in the grandstand watching horses train.

He did not speak much English but met Hall of Fame trainer Reade Baker, who was impressed by videos that Kimura showed him of his riding. Baker, and soon others, had him exercising horses in the morning. He rode his first race in the summer of 2018.

In 2019, Kimura was the 3rd leading rider at the meeting behind Eurico Rosa da Silva and Rafael Hernandez and riding for trainers such as Mark Casse.



BRICKS AND MORTAR, unanimous as Champion Turf Male, was voted Horse of the Year at the Jan. 23 Eclipse Awards – Cindy Pierson Dulay – horse-races.net photo

Canadians John Gunther and daughter Tanya are the breeders of VINO ROSSO, named the Eclipse Champion Older Male.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced this evening that Bricks and Mortar, who was undefeated in six starts last year, was voted the 2019 Runhappy Horse of the Year at the 49th Annual Runhappy Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.The Eclipse Awards, honoring excellence in North American Thoroughbred racing, presented by The Stronach Group, Daily Racing Form and the Breeders’ Cup, are voted on by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.

Owned by Klaravich Stables Inc. and William Lawrence, and trained by Chad Brown, Bricks and Mortar received 204 out of a possible 241 first-place votes for Horse of the Year. Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Mitole, who was voted Champion Male Sprinter, received 19 first-place votes to finish second. Gary and Mary West’s homebred Maximum Security, who was voted Champion Three-Year-Old Male, finished third in the Horse of the Year balloting with 14 first-place votes. Midnight Bisou, the Champion Older Dirt Female, Vino Rosso, the Champion Older Dirt Male, and Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach, each received one first-place vote. There was one voter abstention.

Bricks and Mortar won five Grade 1 races in 2019. The son of Giant’s Causeway kicked off his 5-year-old season with a victory in the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational last January. From there, Bricks and Mortar proceeded to dominate the grass male ranks in methodical fashion by posting five more graded stakes triumphs – including Grade 1 wins in the Turf Classic Stakes, Manhattan Stakes, and Arlington Million – before capping his career with a victory in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“Horse racing has a way of getting into your blood…I love so much of this sport,” said Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables. “I never thought we’d ever have a chance to win this award. We are so grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime honor.”

In addition to taking the ultimate year-end honor, Bricks and Mortar was a unanimous pick for Champion Turf Male, earning all 241 first-place votes.

All of Bricks and Mortar’s connections won individual Eclipse Award honors. Brown won his fourth consecutive Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer while Klaravich Stables and Lawrence captured the Outstanding Owner title. Irad Ortiz Jr., who piloted Bricks and Mortar in all of his starts last year, won his second straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. George Strawbridge, Jr., who bred Bricks and Mortar, won his first Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder.

Maximum Security had a roller-coaster of a 3-year-old campaign that ultimately concluded on a definitive peak. In his first try against graded company, the Jason Servis-trained colt led every point of call to take the Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby by 3 ½ lengths on March 30. He would go on to hit the wire first in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve but, after nearly 22 minutes of deliberation by the stewards, he was disqualified to 17th and his roses were handed off to initial runner-up Country House due to interference.

Despite the heartache of that infamous result, Maximum Security’s quality would prove indisputable during the second half of the year. The son of New Year’s Day went on to post victories in the Grade 1 TVG.com Haskell Invitational, Grade 3 Bold Ruler, and Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap with the last two triumphs coming against elder rivals.

Mitole took the raw talent he had teased of previously to another level in 2019. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Mitole registered six victories and four Grade 1 wins during a campaign that was capped by a sublime triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe won two Eclipse Awards Thursday evening, capturing both the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly title and Champion Female Sprinter. A bay daughter of Into Mischief trained by Brad Cox, Covfefe won five of six starts in 2019, finishing off the year by taking the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.


The popular 3-year-old filly COVFEFE won 2 Eclipse Awards for Three-Year-Old Filly and Female Sprinter – Cindy Pierson Dulay – horse-races.net photo

Another filly who recorded an outstanding season was Bloom Racing, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s Midnight Bisou, who won seven consecutive races during her 4-year-old campaign last year – including three grade 1 tests – en route to Champion Older Dirt Female honors.

The Champion Older Dirt Male, Vino Rosso won both the Gold Cup at Santa Anita and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic to secure his divisional crown for Repole Stables and St. Elias Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher.

Cox had a second Eclipse Award winner on the evening when British Idiom, owned by Michael Dubb, the Elkstone Group, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables, won the Champion Two-Year-Old Filly title. British Idiom won all three of her starts last year, including the Darley Alcibiades and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

The Champion Two-Year-Old Male of 2019 is Exline-Border Racing LLC, David Bernsen, Susanna Wilson and Dan Hudock’s Storm the Court (Court Vision), trained by Peter Eurton, who won the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Voting Overview

In voting that concluded January 2, 2020 Eclipse Awards voters cast their ballots to rank the top three horses and individuals in each Championship division on a 10-5-1 point system. This voting established the top three finalists in each division, whose names were released on Jan. 4, 2020.

The tallies below represent only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities, NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters.

Voter participation rate: 241/254= 94.88%

(Name, First-Place Votes)

Runhappy Horse of the Year (Name, First-Place Votes)

Bricks and Mortar; 204; Mitole, 19; Maximum Security, 14; Midnight Bisou, 1; Omaha Beach, 1; Vino Rosso, 1. Voter Abstention, 1.

Two-Year-Old Male

Storm the Court, 147; Structor, 51; Maxfield, 12; Independence Hall, 8; Tiz the Law, 6; Four Wheel Drive, 4; Dennis’ Moment, 3; Anneau d’Or, 2; Eight Rings, 2; Thousand Words, 2; Basin, 1; Nucky, 1; Voter Abstentions, 2.

Two-Year-Old Filly

British Idiom, 222; Bast, 12; Sharing, 6; Alms, 1.

Three-Year-Old Male

Maximum Security, 217; Omaha Beach, 16; Code of Honor, 8.

Three-Year-Old Filly

Covfefe, 189; Guarana, 19; Serengeti Empress, 11; Iridessa (IRE), 9; Concrete Rose, 6; Dunbar Road, 6; Cambier Parc, 1.

Older Dirt Male

Vino Rosso, 129; Mitole, 108; McKinzie, 3; Voter Abstention, 1.

Older Dirt Female

Midnight Bisou, 210; Blue Prize (ARG), 31.

Male Sprinter

Mitole, 236; Maximum Security, 5.

Female Sprinter

Covfefe, 235; Belvoir Bay (GB), 4, Mia Mischief, 1; Serengeti Empress, 1.

Male Turf Horse

Bricks and Mortar, 241. (unanimous)

Female Turf Horse

Uni (GB), 126; Sistercharlie (IRE), 61; Got Stormy, 33; Iridessa, (IRE) 15; Concrete Rose, 3; Vasilika, 2; Cambier Parc, 1.

Steeplechase Horse

Winston C (IRE), 158; Brain Power (IRE), 44; Scorpiancer (IRE), 3; Voter Abstentions, 36.


Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William H. Lawrence, 184; Gary Barber, 18; Peter Brant, 11; Calumet Farm, 6; William and Corrine Heiligbrodt, 3; Gary and Mary West, 3; Joseph Besecker, 2; End Zone Athletics, Inc., 2; Hronis Racing, 2; Madaket Stables LLC, 2; LNJ Foxwoods, 1. Voter Abstentions, 7.


George Strawbridge, Jr., 122; Calumet Farm, 94; Godolphin, 8; Edward A. Cox, Jr., 2; Gary and Mary West, 2; WinStar Farm, 2; William S. Farish, 1; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 1; Stonestreet Thoroughbreds, 1; Voter Abstentions, 8.


Chad Brown, 204; Steve Asmussen, 19; Brad Cox, 5; Jason Servis, 5; Karl Broberg, 2; Mark Casse, 1; Voter Abstentions, 5.


Irad Ortiz, Jr., 205; Javier Castellano, 21; Flavien Prat, 5; Joel Rosario, 3; Mike Smith, 3; Jose Ortiz, 1. Voter Abstentions, 3.

Apprentice Jockey

Kazushi Kimura, 74; Julio Correa, 60; Angel I. Diaz, 53; Cristian A. Torres, 19; Jorge I. Velez, 3; Reylu Gutierrez 1; Keimar Trotman, 1; Voter Abstentions, 30.

Media Eclipse Awards

Media Eclipse Awards also are given in the categories of photography, audio and multi-media Internet, news/enterprise writing, feature/commentary writing, national television–feature, and national television–live racing programming to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The 2019 Media Eclipse Awards winners, determined by a judges’ panel for each category and previously announced, are:

Television – Live Racing Programming – TVG, “TVG Pacific Classic,” Aug. 17, 2019

Television – Features – FOX Sports 2, “When Rachel Raised the Rafters,” Aug. 30, 2019

Feature/Commentary Writing – Joe Nevills, Paulick Report, “Biting The Dust: A Long Goodbye to Mount Pleasant Meadows,” July 22, 2019

News/Enterprise Writing – Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, “Anniversary of Deadly San Luis Rey Fire Strains Still,” Dec. 8, 2018

Audio/Multi-Media Internet – Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), “2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Nov. 2, 2019

Photography – Jim Leuenberger, DRF.com, “2019 Kentucky Derby,” May 4, 2019

In addition to honoring the 17 winners in the horse and human categories, Scott Coles received the Eclipse Award as the 2019 Horseplayer of the Year.