Up to the Mark took home the Eclipse Award for Champion Turf Male of 2023 during Thursday’s award ceremony held in south Florida to become the second Eclipse Award winner in as many years by Not This Time.
Epicenter, the 2022 Champion 3-year-old colt, helped Not This Time secure the top spot on that year’s Third-Crop Sire list, while Up to the Mark, with his three Grade 1 wins in 2023, put the Taylor Made stallion atop the Fourth-Crop list and in the top 10 on last year’s General Sire list.
Up to the Mark, owned by Repole Stables and St. Elias Stables LLC and bred in Kentucky by Ramspring Farm, began the year rather inauspiciously with a pair of allowance wins at Gulfstream Park, then finished a solid third in the Makers’ Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland, his first stakes start.
The Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day was next, and Up to the Mark rolled to a 3 ¾-length victory. He followed that up with another dominating win in the Manhattan S. (G1) in early June.
Given the summer off, he returned to Keeneland to win the Turf Mile (G1) in a thrilling battle with Master of the Seas (IRE). The 5-year-old ended his career with a narrow loss to Auguste Rodin (IRE) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
With five victories, as well as a second and third, in seven starts last year, Up to the Mark earned 141 first-place Eclipse votes, far ahead of runner-up Auguste Rodin’s 60.
“This is what breeders strive for, especially for a small breeder–this could be once in a lifetime. Clay Patrick, COO of Ramspring Farm, said. “It would be a fitting tribute to my parents, Mary Leigh Patrick and the late O.M. “Mac” Patrick, who have endured in this industry since 1976, and a compliment for breeding a horse worthy of such a coveted award and in honor of an exceptional horse, which they bred and helped nurture to the top of the sport.”
Up to the Mark retired with earnings of $2,511,050 and is one of three millionaires by Not This Time. The bay colt was consigned by Taylor Made to the 2020 Keeneland September sale, where he sold to his owners for $450,000.