A flip forward to future weeks with quick glance always caused me to do a doubletake:
“What? This early?”
I had to hastily scrawl a “The” above “Eclipse” to stop the “What?” and involuntary spike in adrenalin.
My days have enough of those.
So, “Eclipse” refers to this:
Now for the juicy stuff
This post was going to end with the painting of Eclipse, but my hunt for images uncovered some great trivia y’all will dig.
The Eclipse Award trophy statuette
Keeneland marketing director and Lexington, KY, artist Adalin Wichman based her design on the Stubbs painting, according to her obituary in the Daily Racing Form.
The Stubbs painting of Eclipse
I tried to track down the Stubbs painting of Eclipse, as in, which museum displays it. The near-to-me Yale Center for British Art holds a sizeable collection of Stubbs paintings.
This gallery listing indicates the painting of Eclipse is still in private hands. The description also mentions it commemorates his final race at Newmarket.
I also found two Eclipse paintings by Stubbs. One is the famous one of Eclipse at Newmarket. The other is a family portrait with his owner William Wildman and sons.
The Wikipedia entry says Eclipse was a handful, which led to him being gelded eventually. His personality is potrayed in the flat ears and flared nostrils. Notice one the boys in the family portrait holds what could be a quirt.
Something else about Eclipse the horse turned up in the Wikipedia entry.
Eclipse was reportedly born on April 1, 1764, the day of a solar eclipse.
That’s the journalist in me talking.
Once a journalist, always a journalist. She never left, and she shakes her head at me when I get excited and mess up. She grudgingly nods at the fictioneer side of me and insists she do her due diligence about research, too.
Turns out, there was a solar eclipse on April 1, 1764, and its main path crossed England, according to this page on Boston Rare Maps.
Also, as the fictioneer points out to my inner journalist, why do you think they named the horse Eclipse?
Worse. As I polish this post before publication this morning, I realized I knew that. You probably did, too.