At the ceremony for the 2019 Eclipse Awards, held Jan. 23, Irish-bred Winston C was honored as North America’s top steeplechasing horse. Owned by Hudson River Farms and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, the 6-year-old gelding (Rip Van Winkle—Pitrizza, Machiavellian) won two Grade I races during the Saratoga season: the A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase and the the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Hurdle Handicap. Jockey Thomas Garner piloted Winston C to the wins.
Winston C earned 158 first place votes from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association racing secretaries, Daily Racing Form editorial employees and members of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters to win the award, which was presented at the 49th annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Other award winners included all-time leading steeplechase owner George Strawbridge Jr., who was honored as outstanding breeder.