PDA

View Full Version : Eclipse Awards (2009) final ballot on p4



Glimmerglass
Nov. 8, 2009, 06:28 PM
Likely best to create a devoted thread to the topic of the HOTY as opposed to folks passionately rooting for one interest over another on a particular horse's thread ;)

For 2009's Horse of the Year the options likely will be:

A - Gio Ponti (4-yr old colt); 2009 record: 7 4-2-0
His starts were all Grade 1 save for the Strub Stakes which was a Grade 2; he won coast to coast with Belmont, Arlington Park and Santa Anita. Earned $2.3M this year

B - Zenyatta (5-yr old mare); 2009 record: 5 5-0-0
4 grade 1 races and 1 grade 2 race; save for the BCC all races against fillies/mares. All 2009 starts were on California tracks (DelMar, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita/Oak Tree); first filly/mare to win the BCC. Earned $3.3M this year

C - Rachel Alexandra (3-yr old filly); 2009 record 8 8-0-0
5 grade 1 races, 2 grade 2 races, 1 ungraded race; raced seven different tracks and 6 different states; defeated older males; defeated males of the same age twice; multiple historical records. Earned $2.7M this year

Lamma70
Nov. 8, 2009, 11:24 PM
I LOVED the way Zenyatta beat the boys in the Breeder's Cup Classic, but I have to say that Rachel Alexandra is the clear winner. Like you indicated, she has won 8 out of 8 races over 7 different tracks. I would say Rachel is the clear winner, hands down.

Either way. Go GIRL Power! They are both really magnificent!

Calena
Nov. 9, 2009, 12:23 AM
The Eclipse Awards
Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon the Thoroughbred horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective divisions. The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age 5 and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.
Voting Overview
In voting that concluded Jan. 5, 2009, 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 basis. This voting established the top three finalists in each division, the names of which were released on Jan. 8, 2009. Eclipse Award winners, however, were determined by first-place votes only.
My (very subjective) vote came down to who do I think is the best of the three:

1 - Zenyatta, IMHO breaking Personal Ensign's win record and retiring undefeated after winning the Classic was the biggest, most outstanding achievement.

2 - Rachel Alexandra (phenomenal 3 YO filly)
3 - Gio Ponti (4 G1's, but he lost to Zenyatta)


It's hard to believe there are no 'dirt' males in the mix. Grass horses aren't popular choices for HOY in the States.

It's been a great year for racing.

grits
Nov. 9, 2009, 12:49 AM
Here are two published summaries of the battle between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta for HOTY: one from the AP (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hd1pll5UWrtbqyrS3_LB0eNuHrNwD9BRNJV82)and the other from ESPN (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/breederscup09/columns/story?columnist=finley_bill&id=4633464).

I'm sure there will be more . . . :yes:

Glimmerglass
Nov. 9, 2009, 09:12 AM
A bit obvious but worth stating is that all three horses - plus Summer Bird - will all earn at least one Eclipse:

1 - RA will win 3-yr old filly
2 - Zenyatta will win older mare
3 - Summer Bird will win 3-yr old male
4 - Gio will win older Turf male

So none are going home empty handed.

Einstein could get older male horse just because he was run on so many different tracks, surfaces, distances, and found success.

I'm not really keen on factoring in a lifetime - e.g. 2008 & 2009 efforts - record to garner a single year's achievement. The Hall of Fame induction is what culiminates in that recognition and Zenyatta will be a first year inductee.

Dallas Star Telegram's Gary West has Steve Asumussen's remark (http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/story/1745251.html):


Contacted in New Orleans, Steve Asmussen, Rachel Alexandra’s trainer, kept to the high road, too.

"A very deserving horse is going to win it," he said about horse racing’s highest honor. "Rachel Alexandra is incredible, and she did everything asked of her. Zenyatta is incredible, and she did everything asked of her."

West for the record (and I believe he is an Eclipse voter) gives HOTY to Rachel Alexandra but gives huge props to Zenyatta for her win in the BCC. From Gary West:


While Zenyatta raced exclusively in California this year, Rachel Alexandra traveled from Arkansas to Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York and New Jersey. While Zenyatta won five stakes, including four Grade I events, Rachel Alexandra won eight stakes, including five Grade I events. And, by the way, while Zenyatta defeated Summer Bird by three lengths, Rachel Alexandra beat him by six. On dirt.

How can she not be Horse of the Year?

danceronice
Nov. 9, 2009, 09:45 AM
For me, I have to factor in that Zenyatta beat better older males over a longer distance while being given less weight and winning beyond the theoretical margin of that weight allowance. RA on the other hand, while obviously VERY strong at her specialist distance, was always given a substantial amount of weight by her male opponents and in at least two cases her margin of victory was less than the allowance with the second-place horses closing, and has never been pushed outside her comfort zone in either surface or distance. She's also never really had a race that was a really bad trip, whereas in the Classic Zenyatta first had to load, stand while Quality Road flipped his $#!^, unload, and reload, broke on the wrong lead, and had to go very wide from nearly last around some of the best horses in the world.

Also a big one for me is when faced with the choice, RA's connections opted for shorter against less-prestigious (though older) male company with a bigger weight allowance rather than asking her to step outside her comfort distance and go against the best three-year-old males at a longer distance. They played it safe instead of taking a risk (and no, I don't think just the fact she ran against males is a huge risk given how overwhelmingly dominant she was against her own sex and age--it would have been poor sportsmanship after the Oaks NOT to run her against males.) In that department, even Gio Ponti wins as his owners gambled (and almost won) by taking him off the Turf for the BCC.

So overall--Zenyatta. Bigger winnings, all GI or GII, against better male company in more challenging circumstances and proved she can win at a longer distance with less of a weight differential, and we know she can run on poly or dirt. Second to RA for being unbeatable in her specialist distance against the best three-year-olds and good older males, but points away for not either going farther, carrying more weight, or changing surfaces. Third to Gio Ponti for dominanting his division and for stepping outside his comfort zone for the Classic, but I can't imagine he'll taken many votes away from either of them. Summer Bird for best three-year-old male, and next year I'd like to see him in the Marathon--time to start glorifying distances runners and not just on the turf!

And yes, to a certain degree, it's rewarding the connections--all RA had to do to be a total lock is either win a longer race (the Belmont, the Travers) or even show up and manage top 3 in the Classic. Jackson can gripe about the poly all he wants, but two Breeders Cups in a row with no catastrophic injuries or breakdowns is a pretty strong argument that it was NOT a bad decision for the horses. The Mosses COULD have played it safe by either retiring Zenyatta with her record intact or kept her in the Ladies' Classic as she's had so much success against her own sex and at a distance they know she can do. Instead they gambled and put her at a distance she'd never gone against a lot of the top male horses in the world. RA's connections chose the lower-risk options, Zenyatta's took chances, which IMO makes for better racing.

vineyridge
Nov. 9, 2009, 10:53 AM
Yes, but

RA had already beat all the 3 yo boys in the Travers except Quality Road. She trounced Summer Bird in the Haskell. Since she had beat the males of her year, the next step up for her was to beat older males. And she did in the Woodward, something that hadn't happened before, had it? The weight allowance shouldn't factor, since every female who runs gets it.

As to distance, Zenyatta is two years older than RA. That extra maturity can make a huge difference when you're talking about horses as large as those two. AND Zenyatta didn't run longer or against the boys until her very last race.

One race does not a HOY make.

Glimmerglass
Nov. 9, 2009, 11:21 AM
Just my opinion but I thought the comments by Jerry Bailey on ESPN post race were out of line when he suggested that Rachel Alexandra's connections somehow ducked "the" competition by opting for the Woodward over the Travers.

My recollection from all the press at the time was that the Woodward was chosen as no filly had won that race ever (the Travers had been won by a filly), she had already defeated several horses pointed to the Travers in her Haskell romp, and her stablemate Kensei was thought to be better suited to the Travers over the Woodward. So they tried the divide-and-conquer approach.

I have no reservations that she would've won the Travers had she been entered.

In terms of distance not unlike Zenyatta, who only tried the 1 1/4 distance for the 1st time in the BCC, I suspect stretching out won't be a problem for Rachel when they try it as well.

VirginiaBred
Nov. 9, 2009, 11:26 AM
Glimmer, I havent' read your take on the win by Zenyatta. If I remember, you didn't think she would win, did you?

Glimmerglass
Nov. 9, 2009, 11:52 AM
Glimmer, I havent' read your take on the win by Zenyatta. If I remember, you didn't think she would win, did you?

Never rooted against her but I thought it was too tall of a task and no I didn't think she could pull it off. Frankly during the race at the top of the stretch I thought she'd never find an opening in time.

She unquestionably delivered on some rather high expectations and proved beyond a doubt that she could come through in the clutch. Deserving of the "Zensational" term. We were in celebration of the moment here as just as much as any household. While Gio Ponte wasn't blow away by her it was a true horse race to the finish which what I like just as much as a win by daylight and then some. I think Mike celebrated with a bit of risk too early IMHO but still he nailed the victory just fine.

One comment post race was most telling I think it was by Randy Moss: she appeared to be even better suited to 1 1/4 mi distance then the shorter ones she's been entered in to. If you couple that with the long standing opinion of her trainer that she actually races stronger on dirt it then opens so many "what if only they had entered her in ..." scenarios.

It does make you wonder why her connections didn't try - before the BCC and on a highly familiar track - a race like the Jockey Club Gold Cup this year?

Steve Asmussen said it right that this year a very deserving horse will win the honors of Horse of the Year.

If we replay the races that were "wow" unquestionably this BCC race is there but sad to say it none of the other Zenyatta wins were terribly special or memorable. All were good to very good and a win is a win. However Rachel had many races which are exceptional and would make for top replay races with 2009.

Kentucky Oaks - replay (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRGvbUmqv-s)

Haskell Invitational - replay (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS1EG0zf8sk)

Woodward Handicap - replay (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrTMpHvew0U)

Plus the Oaklawn and Fair Grounds races were nothing to sneeze at either. Reflecting her ability to run on muddy ground (as she did in the Oaks) and also on fast dirt.

kcmel
Nov. 9, 2009, 11:52 AM
I have no reservations that she would've won the Travers had she been entered.
In terms of distance not unlike Zenyatta, who only tried the 1 1/4 distance for the 1st time in the BCC, I suspect stretching out won't be a problem for Rachel when they try it as well.
I disagree. She was all out to hold off a mediocre MTB in the Preakness and an average (at best ) older horse in the Woodward. An extra 1/16 to 1/8 is not going to help her. It's pretty clear based on Asmussen's strategy with her that he agrees.

GreenMachine
Nov. 9, 2009, 12:42 PM
What's going to be interesting is reading the criteria each voter uses to assess the candidates. I think it will come down to the value of an entire season's worth of work versus the Breeders' Cup Classic.

If we're looking at the full season, I think Rachel's accomplishments are more noteworthy. Look at the string of records or near-records, and the multiple historical moments. Gio Ponti's season was the second best, followed by Zenyatta's.

However, if you want to give extra weight to the Breeders' Cup, then Zenyatta stands out.

There's also the criteria of who you think would win a hypothetical race. I'm with Jay Hovdey who points out that there's no way to know who would win unless you put them on the track together, but I would probably put my money on the amazon five-year-old rather than the three-year-old.

What baffles me is the argument that Rachel's spots were "cherry-picked" while Zenyatta's connections took bigger risks. I'm trying to figure out how running in four of the same races she'd won last year against the same over-matched competition is at all risky. They rolled the dice by running in the BCC, and we're all grateful they did, but Zenyatta was far more protected over the course of the year than Rachel.

danceronice
Nov. 9, 2009, 01:33 PM
Zenyatta's connections took the risk when it counted--they knew to seriously contend for HOTY, they had to take a big chance. She's not had the DOMINATING margins of victory over her own sex that Rachel had. They decided to put her against the BEST males, closer to even weights, at a distance they had never tried her at, and for the first mile it really looked like they goofed.

RA has only run when she's given far too light an impost (it may be what's normal for a filly, but for RA, not a normal animal, it's a big-time advantage) at distances they know she likes. She has not beaten males outside the margin of that weight allowance--at even weights, she would have lost the Preakness. She almost got run down by a middle-of-the-road older male in the Woodward. She hasn't demonstrated she can go longer, and she has only beaten males when given a signifcant weight allowance. Zenyatta carried a much closer weight against better males at a longer distance and won going away.

Weight and distance matter where I'm sitting. Heck, that's why I will always hold Man o' War the greater horse than Secretariat. I would love to see a horse again like Phar Lap, who carried some truly staggering imposts and still won. And I wish the Breeder's Cup would move the Marathon to Saturdays and start giving it a marquee spot--1 1/4 did not USED to be a route.

Zenyatta this year. Let Rachel come back next year and if she can still beat the males and can do it going farther with more weight, then we can talk HOTY.

Marney
Nov. 9, 2009, 01:54 PM
I feel Zenyatta should get it. The reasons have been mentioned all ready. IMO I feel if RA would have run in the BC the results would have been the same. Zenyatta does what she has to and looks great doing it!

RedMare01
Nov. 9, 2009, 01:56 PM
If I had a vote, it would go to Rachel Alexandra. Hers was the bolder campaign. However, Zenyatta is also deserving, and I won't be upset if she gets it. Great year of racing :yes:.

Caitlin

Tutt
Nov. 9, 2009, 03:01 PM
Zenyatta.
I watched all of her races this year, plus RA's, starting with Kentucky Oaks, and all the rest after.
As brilliant as RA was, she didn't give me the goose bumps that Zenyatta does.
As top class as Asmussen, Calvin and Jackson are, there is something truly special about the team of Mike Smith, Shirriffs and the Mosses.
Z's triumph Saturday was the MOST special I've seen in three decades of watching racing on TV.
BTW the early results of the Bloodhorse poll has Z about 60 to 40 against RA.
Plus RA has next year.

VirginiaBred
Nov. 9, 2009, 03:14 PM
Zenyatta.

As brilliant as RA was, she didn't give me the goose bumps that Zenyatta does.



It's probably that wild come from behind style that she has. :yes: Does it for me!

Blinkers On
Nov. 9, 2009, 03:19 PM
Zenyatta HOY
Life is Sweet distaffer
Rach 3 year old filly

I have been Pro Rachel till this weekend. After seeing this performance by Zenyatta, I don't think Rachel could have beaten her. Not on this day.
Z retires perfect. Rachel has another year to shine if all goes well.
Yhis is the year of the girls, and the queen is Zenyatta.

kcmel
Nov. 9, 2009, 03:38 PM
To paraphrase my post in the other thread, I think Asmussen decided that if he won the Woodward he could sit back and they would hand him HOY. It was a good bet--the odds were definitely in his favor. The careful way in which Zenyatta was handled by her connections made a run in the BCC seem unlikely, and even if she ran she would have to win VERY impressively to unseat RA from her throne. And RA was the media darling; she had pretty much already been coronated. Unfortunately for Asmussen and RA, his gamble did not pay off.

DLee
Nov. 9, 2009, 04:01 PM
RA has only run when she's given far too light an impost (it may be what's normal for a filly, but for RA, not a normal animal, it's a big-time advantage) at distances they know she likes. She has not beaten males outside the margin of that weight allowance--at even weights, she would have lost the Preakness. She almost got run down by a middle-of-the-road older male in the Woodward. She hasn't demonstrated she can go longer, and she has only beaten males when given a signifcant weight allowance. Zenyatta carried a much closer weight against better males at a longer distance and won going away.

.

So the weight rules only count for little scrawny fillies? :lol: "Would have" doesn't count, remember?

I hugely admire both horses. RA had the tougher year and rose to the occasion every single time. And I'm sure all of the owners of the colts RA raced against this year are glad to know they are mediocre as is being stated over and over.
Seems I remember a time on this board when Mine That Bird was HARDLY considered "mediocre".

Blinkers On
Nov. 9, 2009, 04:19 PM
To paraphrase my post in the other thread, I think Asmussen decided that if he won the Woodward he could sit back and they would hand him HOY. It was a good bet--the odds were definitely in his favor. The careful way in which Zenyatta was handled by her connections made a run in the BCC seem unlikely, and even if she ran she would have to win VERY impressively to unseat RA from her throne. And RA was the media darling; she had pretty much already been coronated. Unfortunately for Asmussen and RA, his gamble did not pay off.


Well said and I agree with your thoughts whole heartedly

Glimmerglass
Nov. 9, 2009, 04:52 PM
Had Rachel ran in the BCC that would've been 9-starts in 2009 with six grade one starts in a row (5 of which she won, the BCC would've been unclear) which really is unheard of these days at that level of competition for a 3-yr old.

Zenyatta, at five, has had 14 career starts which is exactly the same as Rachel Alexandra, at three, has had in her life.

The fact that Rachel wasn't going to the Breeders' Cup - strategy or not - was so openly stated from about the first week on August onwards that it is irrelevant to cite that she didn't go.

If Rachel doesn't win the HOTY, which certainly could happen, it would beg the question: what else is a horse supposed to do to get it?

In 2009 she set 2 stakes records with times and (in two separate races from those stakes records times) set another 2 records for margins of victory; she crushed her own sex, took on males of the same age and older ones too then beat them three times, shipped to six different states, ran on fast tracks/ slow tracks / off tracks, won a leg of the Triple Crown from which she started from the 13-hole which no other horse had done in history, and was the only filly/mare to win the 55-yr old Woodward.

I don't think the debate should "dis" the other horse but can anyone cite one stakes record with time or margin of victory by Zenyatta? Just one?

Least it goes without mention but Rachel Alexandra won the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes in a stakes record time of 1:46:33 and by a margin of 19 1/4 lengths. That shakes loose all of Ruffian's prior stranglehold connections to that race.

Silvercrown90
Nov. 9, 2009, 05:05 PM
Had Rachel ran in the BCC that would've been 9-starts in 2009 with six grade one starts in a row (5 of which she won, the BCC would've been unclear) which really is unheard of these days at that level of competition for a 3-yr old.

Summer Bird made 9 starts this year, with 6 Grade 1 starts in a row.




If Rachel doesn't win the HOTY, which certainly could happen, it would beg the question: what else is a horse supposed to do to get it?



Show up at the championship race and enter against the best the world has to offer that year in a classic distance.

Glimmerglass
Nov. 9, 2009, 05:29 PM
Summer Bird made 9 starts this year, with 6 Grade 1 starts in a row.

Let's look at those 6 Grade 1s: 6 3-1-0 ... off the board twice

Rachel had five grade 1 starts and victories.


Show up at the championship race and enter against the best the world has to offer that year in a classic distance.

So if Rachel had raced in the Breeders Cup Classic and finished as Curlin did off the board it would've regardless been a slam dunk for the Horse of the Year "just because she started in the BCC"? Interesting.

Further by the same logic why isn't there a single person advocating for Summer Bird, despite the outcome from Saturday, being horse of the year? He was there in the BCC, he raced in 6 grade 1s, he's raced at the classic distance?

Scaramouch
Nov. 9, 2009, 05:35 PM
In the Mother Goose, RA beat two other horses. Sure, you can say it's because she so dominated fillies of her age that no one else wanted to run against her, but it's hard to take that victory too seriously since running her at all was sort of beating a dead horse, pardon the pun.

I also find it odd that you're holding Zenyatta's not racing as a 2-year-old against her (saying she's run as much as RA even though she's 2 years older), when every time there's a high-profile breakdown, people decry racing 2 year olds at all. She had so limited a number of starts as a three year old, that her career hasn't been that much longer than RA's. Additionally that doesn't really matter because it is Horse of the Year, not over their whole career.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the way she won the Woodward or the Preakness, to be honest. That doesn't change the fact that she did win, but since margin of victory seems to matter so much to everyone... RA and Zenyatta also have different running styles, it's harder for a horse who comes from behind to win by 20 than it is for a horse who runs up front from the start. Not that she's ever needed to get that far ahead to win.

The reason for the big argument seems to be that the RA and Zenyatta never met on the track, so we can't know once and for all who is the better horse. Summer Bird lost to them both on different occasions - though one could always argue that maybe he dislikes mud even more than synthetics. ;)

JER
Nov. 9, 2009, 07:41 PM
I don't think the debate should "dis" the other horse but can anyone cite one stakes record with time or margin of victory by Zenyatta? Just one?

Given Zenyatta's running style, this point is not very relevant. Same goes for her margin of victory over other horses.

As for the number of races, I'd expect (or is it hope?) a seasoned older horse to be running on a light, careful schedule planned around the BCC. Not so much with a 3 year-old who's chasing the big age-group races.

Blinkers On
Nov. 9, 2009, 07:51 PM
The only other thing Rachel needed to do was run against Zenyatta... BUT had Zenyatta lost this wouldn't be a conversation. BUT she won with her ears pricked yet again and handed horses RA had been beating up on their *sses.
They are both amazing females, no doubt about it.
I DO think that a chink in RA's claim to greatness will be that she never got a chance to meet the other greatest female of the year or last ten years+.
Zenyatta was managed to "show up" for BC. Rachel was managed to capitalize on whatever she could without running in BC.
I do think Zenyatta's win will be the freshest thing in the minds of voters come time. That works against Rachel.

Paragon
Nov. 9, 2009, 09:48 PM
B - Zenyatta (5-yr old mare); 2009 record: 5 5-0-0
4 grade 1 races and 1 grade 2 race; save for the BCC all races against fillies/mares. All 2009 starts were on California tracks (DelMar, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita/Oak Tree); first filly/mare to win the BCC. Earned $3.3M this year

C - Rachel Alexandra (3-yr old filly); 2009 record 8 8-0-0
5 grade 1 races, 2 grade 2 races, 1 ungraded race; raced seven different tracks and 6 different states; defeated older males; defeated males of the same age twice; multiple historical records. Earned $2.7M this year

Wow, this really spells it out, doesn't it? Rachel Alexandra ran more races than Zenyatta, ran more graded races than Zenyatta, won more races than Zenyatta, all in more states and on more tracks than Zenyatta. And against more boys.

After watching the BC, I thought "Golly, it must be close for these ladies." But it's really not.

This made up my mind for me. This is Horse of the Year, not Horse of the Last Two Years. This was Rachel's year.

Silvercrown90
Nov. 9, 2009, 11:54 PM
Let's look at those 6 Grade 1s: 6 3-1-0 ... off the board twice

Rachel had five grade 1 starts and victories.



Sorry, you are misunderstanding my statement. I did not say that Summer Bird should get HOTY. You said that it was unheard of in these days for a horse to run 9 races and 6 straight Grade 1 races. Contrary, most class horses commonly run a racecard like this. Notice that the Top 8 money earners in North America in 2009 all showed up at the Breeders Cup, with the exception of .................... Rachel Alexandra!

Why, why why?


So if Rachel had raced in the Breeders Cup Classic and finished as Curlin did off the board it would've regardless been a slam dunk for the Horse of the Year "just because she started in the BCC"? Interesting.


No one on this Board ever said that. Where did you read on this Forum that anyone said that RA would be a slam dunk for HOTY "just because she started in the BCC"? Interesting? It's interesting how you are twisting words to try to make your case.



Further by the same logic why isn't there a single person advocating for Summer Bird, despite the outcome from Saturday, being horse of the year? He was there in the BCC, he raced in 6 grade 1s, he's raced at the classic distance?


We are not advocating Summer Bird because he got beat by Zenyatta in the BCC. LOL. If he had won, then perhaps it would be a different story.


Zenyatta is currently the #1 money earner in 2009 and she also won the BCC against a distance that RA never tried, carrying more weight than 5 of the boys. Most importantly, RA chose to "dodge" the big races when it counted. No show at the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont, JC Gold Cup and BCC. Why? She clearly did not establish herself as Horse of the Year.

Silvercrown90
Nov. 10, 2009, 12:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmerglass http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4487842#post4487842)
B - Zenyatta (5-yr old mare); 2009 record: 5 5-0-0
4 grade 1 races and 1 grade 2 race; save for the BCC all races against fillies/mares. All 2009 starts were on California tracks (DelMar, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita/Oak Tree); first filly/mare to win the BCC. Earned $3.3M this year

C - Rachel Alexandra (3-yr old filly); 2009 record 8 8-0-0
5 grade 1 races, 2 grade 2 races, 1 ungraded race; raced seven different tracks and 6 different states; defeated older males; defeated males of the same age twice; multiple historical records. Earned $2.7M this year

Wow, this really spells it out, doesn't it? Rachel Alexandra ran more races than Zenyatta, ran more graded races than Zenyatta, won more races than Zenyatta, all in more states and on more tracks than Zenyatta. And against more boys.

After watching the BC, I thought "Golly, it must be close for these ladies." But it's really not.

This made up my mind for me. This is Horse of the Year, not Horse of the Last Two Years. This was Rachel's year.


Zenyatta stands at the top of the North American money earners in 2009 with $3.3 million. Rachel Alexandra is not the leading money winner this year at $2.7 million. Rachel won 2 races against the Boys, but they were not classic races at classic distances. She did NOT run the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont, the Jockey Club Gold Cup or the Breeder's Cup Classic. The Woodward is a nice G1, but most people have never heard of it and it is not considered one of the classics. Even Rags to Riches had the cahunas to enter the Belmont Stakes and WIN against Curlin!

Zenyatta is currently standing at #21 in lifetime winnings. Rachel Alexandra isn't even in the Top 50. She has time, if she comes out next year and meets ALL challengers -- big races -- and succeeds.

Rubyfree
Nov. 10, 2009, 01:32 AM
Zenyatta stands at the top of the North American money earners in 2009 with $3.3 million. Rachel Alexandra is not the leading money winner this year at $2.7 million. Rachel won 2 races against the Boys, but they were not classic races at classic distances. She did NOT run the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont, the Jockey Club Gold Cup or the Breeder's Cup Classic. The Woodward is a nice G1, but most people have never heard of it and it is not considered one of the classics. Even Rags to Riches had the cahunas to enter the Belmont Stakes and WIN against Curlin!

Zenyatta is currently standing at #21 in lifetime winnings. Rachel Alexandra isn't even in the Top 50. She has time, if she comes out next year and meets ALL challengers -- big races -- and succeeds.


That's three. The Haskell, Woodward and the Preakness, which IS a 'classic'.
She was not owned by her current connections at derby time, and had she not been sold it's doubtful she would have run against any males this year.
"Most people have never heard of it" is pretty irrelevant in this day and age- most people have never heard of anything other than the KY derby, and are sort of fuzzy on what it is exactly.

Rags did not enter herself in the classic. Pletcher considered her running style and pedigree and thought it a good spot for her; he was right. If RTR had carried on for the rest of the year winning races in that fashion, she would have been a valid contender for HOTY. But again- no relevance to this discussion.

No, it isn't common for class horses to run the sort of campaign that Summer Bird and RA did, especially not winning all along the way. Summer Bird didn't win all those outings. Neither did MTB, or Gio Ponti, or Einstein. Zenyatta certainly didn't have that sort of campaign. I said on the other thread that the Moss's sabotaged her HOTY chances by running her in the spots they did- by following the exact same path they did last year to the BC. It's absolutely commendable that they did so (presumably) in the best interests of the horse, but it was not a historical, difficult or earth moving decision to do so. She stayed in Cali, where she was known to be comfortable and successful. RA was sent to every port that called, and sent out in all conditions (another thing Zenyatta was denied- scratched from the Louisville Distaff due to track conditions), and was victorious.
Stating that RA didn't win "big races" doesn't make any sense- by that logic, neither did Zenyatta.

Saying that she shouldn't be HOTY because she didn't show up for the BC is silly. Horse racing doesn't work like the NFL. Did Mineshaft not deserve it? Should Personal Ensign have been given HOTY for retiring undefeated? Was Curlin given HOTY simply because he earned so much money last year?

I highly doubt anyone's mind is going to be changed on these threads, and I think it's fantastic that we're all so darn passionate about it. I can't tell you how loud I screamed for Zenyatta on saturday, and yeah, I cried. I cried when RA won the Woodward too. This is big, historical, moving stuff.
Let's not go jumping down someone's throat for being passionate about their position, certainly not in this year of heart breakingly beautiful firsts. I'm finding the debate fun and it's leaving me with a lot of warm fuzzy feelings, like a snuggie made of horse racing geekdom. Let's keep the threads that way, yes?

GreenMachine
Nov. 10, 2009, 09:29 AM
This is big, historical, moving stuff.

Indeed. By denigrating the accomplishments of one or the other, people are missing out on the truly historic nature of this year in racing.

Does anyone remember the hue and cry when it was announced that Rachel would be entered in the Preakness? Thanks to Rachel and Zenyatta, I think we can put to bed the misconception that poor, delicate females will breakdown when put up against males on the track.

danceronice
Nov. 10, 2009, 09:48 AM
From an amusing Blood-Horse commentary on Trevor Denman's call of the Classic:


No disrespect intended to the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Arlington Million, Champion Stakes, Pacific Classic, Travers, Sussex Stakes, Super Derby, Hawthorne Gold Cup, Santa Anita Handicap, Jerome winners, but on this day, I had selective hearing.

That's what Zenyatta beat at a new distance for her off a bad trip. Beat going away.

RA's connections did not send her to all ports that called. If that were true she'd have been in the Travers or the Gold Cup or the Belmont. Or the Classic. Dislike of poly is an excuse only in the last case. When faced with really challenging her in the Travers or going against middling older males in a race where she got a BIG weight gift over a shorter distance they picked the latter.

Should one race matter? When it's the cap of an undefeated season with no practical walkovers against the highest-quality field of the year at an unfamiliar distance in a race that a filly or mare has never won before? Yes, it should matter.

Pat Ness
Nov. 10, 2009, 09:57 AM
I love what both connections did with both horses. What a year 2009 has been for racing. I am glad they never met and will never meet. I don't think I could bear it.

I think Zenyatta will win as the win is fresh. I would pick Rachel. I admire both horses equally.

danceronice
Nov. 10, 2009, 10:10 AM
If Rachel continues to be as dominant *against males* next year, I may change my tune. But they'd have to either let her carry a lot more weight, or run her at a longer distance, or make a big surface switch. Right now, I'd give it to Zenyatta, for all the reasons above (plus beating the likely Three-Year-Old Male and Older Turf Horse soundly in the process.)

Chester's Mom
Nov. 10, 2009, 12:17 PM
Should one race matter? When it's the cap of an undefeated season with no practical walkovers against the highest-quality field of the year at an unfamiliar distance in a race that a filly or mare has never won before? Yes, it should matter.

Yes, this! /\

And... also from Bloodhorse, this time Steve Haskin


With her last to first dash through and around traffic, Zenyatta not only became the first female to win the Classic, she defeated eight grade/group I-winning males, including the winners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, Belmont Stakes, two Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Santa Anita Handicap, Pacific Classic, Arlington Million, Man o’ War, Santa Anita Derby, Champion Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and Manhattan Handicap. And she did it in her usual style – bounding past her opponents with gargantuan strides and winning with her ears pricked as if out for a morning’s exercise.

Rachel is a great 3 year old, no doubt. But Zenyatta moved to magnificent.

useventers
Nov. 10, 2009, 01:20 PM
When did the classic distance for mares become 1 1/4? Most of the classic filly/mare races in this country are 1 1/8. The DE handicap is one of the few I can think of at 1 1/4. In fact, I never understood why Zenyatta didn't come over for the DE handicap??

Azeri was horse of the year in 2002 and never ran over 1 1/8.

If distance is important, lets compare:

Rachel won her last 5 races this year at or over 1 1/8.

Zenyatta won only 2 races at or over 1 1/8 and has only won 4 race total at or over 1 1/8 in her whole career. The majority of her races were at 1 1/16.

Zenyatta also never ran over 1 1/8 until she was a 5 year old year old. Rachel ran 1 3/16 as a 3 yr. old.

If you really compare the numbers, RACHEL has been running in more classic distance races than Zenyatta.

useventers
Nov. 10, 2009, 01:33 PM
Indeed. By denigrating the accomplishments of one or the other, people are missing out on the truly historic nature of this year in racing.

Does anyone remember the hue and cry when it was announced that Rachel would be entered in the Preakness? Thanks to Rachel and Zenyatta, I think we can put to bed the misconception that poor, delicate females will breakdown when put up against males on the track.

I remember it well!

The best thing about this year is Larry Jones is finally vindicated for his decision to run Eight Belles in the Derby. He was so unfairly harassed by the media, blogs, fans and PETA. He's a class act that really cares about his horses and he never deserved that!

danceronice
Nov. 10, 2009, 03:22 PM
But Zenyatta ran a race at 1 1/4. Rachel hasn't. Rachel ran longer races on average, but nothing outside her comfort zone and NOTHING remotely comparable in terms of class of the field. The closest she came by comparison is the Preakness, where she beat some good three year olds, but was fading at the end. She's also beaten Summer Bird on dirt--but at her favorite distance, not his. Zenyatta beat Summer Bird at a distance better suited to him (though apparently not on a surface he liked!)

RA's run long races...for fillies. This is HORSE of the Year, though. She has not beaten comparable quality horses--the only older males she faced were not by any stretch of the imagination in the same class as the Classic field.

As for Azeri, who was the competition in 2002 for HOTY?

And in a side note, apropos of nothing, is anyone else getting REALLY tired of having to see and hear it spelled out "The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands"?

Larksmom
Nov. 10, 2009, 04:51 PM
BUT, it looks like she might not be a mile and a quarter horse. Matt C on TVG has been after the Mosses to run Zenyatta at 1 and a quarter for a long time. He thinks with her style, and the fact she hasn't run hard except fpr the one that was really close, she has barely shown any exertion. I sort of agree with this. I actually did think she had a chance. IF Rip Van Winkle didn't run his race, [he didn't], and the 2 birds didn't like the surface, [they didn't] and she got clear, she could easily win this race.
However, as fabulous as the win was on Saturday, Z won 5 races all year. I really really wanted her to run in the Pacific Classic. There was no reason for them not to try her there. She ran in the same races as last year, and beat the same horses until the last race.
RA won 8 races on 7 different tracks. She ran in the mud which the mosses decided not to ask of Zenyatta, so who was ducking who? They wouldn
t have met that day but they could have run on the same track. I don't think anyone on this forum will have their mind changed, but I vote RA.

Calena
Nov. 10, 2009, 07:31 PM
I've already stated my vote for Zenyatta as HOY and I see no reason to repeat myself. That doesn't mean I don't think Rachel isn't equally deserving.

Either Rachel or Zenyatta is going to wind up like Easy Goer in 1989. Here's his '89 record:


1989 NTR Aqueduct 8f (1:32.2) Gotham S.
Still to this day the Fastest Mile ever run by any 3yo in History. (1:32 2/5)
Still to this day the 2nd Fastest Belmont Stakes ever run behind only Secretariat. (2:26)
The only horse in history to win the Whitney(G1),Travers(G1),Woodward(G1) & Jockey Club Gold Cup(G1)
One of only two horses to ever win the Belmont(G1),Champagne(G1) & Travers(G1)
A True All Time Great.He lost HOY and Champion 3YO Colt to Sunday Silence. That argument will never end, except to say "ANY other year".

Both mares deserve it 100% and we have been incredibly blessed by both of them this year.

saratoga
Nov. 10, 2009, 09:29 PM
Zenyatta's race really blew me away and totally surprised me. I really didnt think she was *that* good because her campaign, especially this year, was so weak and pitiful. After seeing her in the Classic, I am now surprised that she didnt run against the males at least in CA or go east to try something different. I figured that Shireffs and the Mosses' number one goal was to retire her undefeated so they were afraid to challenge her lest she be defeated, but after seeing the Classic, I think she would have been tough to beat anywhere. Especially at longer distances. I loved watching Z win the Classic- one of my Top Ten races of all time, but I keep thinking what else she could have accomplished? As impressive as her record is, it seems that she could have done way more.

I cant understand how anyone thinks Rachel's year wasnt tough!! Please!! If anyone predicted that a 3 year old filly would win the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward, we'd all think they were nuts. I've been watching racing for almost 30 years and nothing like that has even been tried before. I think the Travers would have been way less of a test than the Woodward, considering she'd already beaten almost everyone in the Travers. Taking on older horses is always a challenge for a 3 year old and early Sept. is pretty early in the year for it. Has a 3 year old filly even ever tried the Woodward?

I would lean towards Rachel getting HOY. As much as I love the Breeders Cup, I think its kind of sad for there to be so much emphasis on it now, to the point where other races throughout the year become much less important. But I wouldnt mind if the award was shared this year!

Beandog
Nov. 10, 2009, 11:27 PM
I have to echo what some have said, as impressive as Zenyatta was in the BCC, it does lead you down the road of what if. What could have been had her connections not played it quite as conservatively up until then. However, what she did do was phenomenal.

Downplaying what Rachel accomplished is ridiculous. She did everything asked of her and did it with style. The argument of well she would have been caught had it been longer, or had it been this or that is just that..speculative. On the day, in the race, she prevailed.

As did Zenyatta.

A strong case can and will be made for either of those two, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the other. Don't cheapen what one accomplished, they both accomplished amazing things this year. Rachel has another year or two to dazzle us more, Zenyatta sounds as though she is headed for the broodmare band.

Whatever the politics of it shake out, and that is what will decide the winner..pure politics, in the end those two were a remarkable thing for racing this year. I'm thrilled to pieces to have been around to witness the year of the girls.

Silvercrown90
Nov. 10, 2009, 11:46 PM
I don't think anyone is downplaying Rachel's accomplishments in her 3-year-old campaign. I enjoyed watching and rooting for her.

But Zenyatta's accomplishments in the Breeders Cup Classic blew RA's winnings right out of the water in my opinion. No comparison.

It is interesting to take a look at the Horse of the Year winners over the last 10 years. Five (5) of them won the Breeders Cup Classic: Tiznow in 2000, Ghostzapper in 2004, Saint Liam in 2005, Invasor in 2006 and Curlin in 2007. The remaining five (5) years have horses that all WON at distances of 1-1/4 miles or greater in the year they won HOTY: In 1999 Charismatic won the Belmont at 1-1/2 miles and the Kentucky Derby at 1-1/4 miles; in 2001, Point Given won Travers at 1-1/4 miles and Belmont at 1-1/2 miles; in 2003 Mineshaft won Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1-1/4 miles; and in 2008 Curlin won Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1-1/4 miles and Dubai World Cup at 1-1/4 miles.

The only horse that won HOTY in the last 10 years and did not win at 1-1/4 miles or greater was Azeri in 2002. But she did compete in the Breeders Cup Classic that year and finished 5th.

All HOTY winners in the last 10 years competed at 1-1/4 miles or greater. Interesting statistics for those who enjoy this stuff.

useventers
Nov. 11, 2009, 12:58 AM
The only horse that won HOTY in the last 10 years and did not win at 1-1/4 miles or greater was Azeri in 2002. But she did compete in the Breeders Cup Classic that year and finished 5th.


Azeri did not run in the Classic in 2002 when she was HOTY. She won the Distaff in 2002 at 1 1/8. She never ran over 1 1/8 that year, but dominated with 5 Grade I wins and 2 Grade II wins. Almost identicle to RA, but Azeri was beaten once that year.
She didn't run in the Classic until 2004 when she was trained by Lucas.

Silvercrown90
Nov. 11, 2009, 01:09 AM
Azeri did not run in the Classic in 2002 when she was HOTY. She won the Distaff in 2002 at 1 1/8. She never ran over 1 1/8 that year, but dominated with 5 Grade I wins and 2 Grade II wins. Almost identicle to RA, but Azeri was beaten once that year.
She didn't run in the Classic until 2004 when she was trained by Lucas.

My mistake. Azeri ran the Classic in 2004 and finished 5th. In 2002, the year that she won HOTY, she ran the Breeders Cup Distaff and won.

I shouldn't read PP's after midnight!!

DLee
Nov. 11, 2009, 09:02 AM
Not sure if this has been posted anywhere, apologies if it has.

http://horseracing.bloginky.com/2009/11/10/in-horse-of-the-year-debate-rachel-is-still-the-one/

grits
Nov. 11, 2009, 10:05 AM
Ten minutes of sheer (http://www.breederscup360.com/archives/2009/exit-a-legend/)fun on this topic and some others . . . .

(There's also post-race video shot by John Shirreffs on youtube.)

Paragon
Nov. 11, 2009, 07:36 PM
Not sure if this has been posted anywhere, apologies if it has.

http://horseracing.bloginky.com/2009/11/10/in-horse-of-the-year-debate-rachel-is-still-the-one/

Thanks for posting this!

Horseforthecourse
Nov. 13, 2009, 03:06 PM
Just my opinion but I thought the comments by Jerry Bailey on ESPN post race were out of line when he suggested that Rachel Alexandra's connections somehow ducked "the" competition by opting for the Woodward over the Travers.

My recollection from all the press at the time was that the Woodward was chosen as no filly had won that race ever (the Travers had been won by a filly), she had already defeated several horses pointed to the Travers in her Haskell romp, and her stablemate Kensei was thought to be better suited to the Travers over the Woodward. So they tried the divide-and-conquer approach.

I have no reservations that she would've won the Travers had she been entered.

In terms of distance not unlike Zenyatta, who only tried the 1 1/4 distance for the 1st time in the BCC, I suspect stretching out won't be a problem for Rachel when they try it as well.

The comments from Jerry Bailey about Rachel going in the Woodward and skipping the Travers that had the "tougher" competition were honesty mind-boggling. No filly had ever won the Woodward in its 124 year history.

Horseforthecourse
Nov. 13, 2009, 03:23 PM
So the weight rules only count for little scrawny fillies? :lol: "Would have" doesn't count, remember?

I hugely admire both horses. RA had the tougher year and rose to the occasion every single time. And I'm sure all of the owners of the colts RA raced against this year are glad to know they are mediocre as is being stated over and over.
Seems I remember a time on this board when Mine That Bird was HARDLY considered "mediocre".

Mine That Bird isn't mediocre on dirt. He has proven for two straight years that he absolutely hates the pro-ride at Santa Anita;) Hopefully, the little guy will get a much deserved rest and bounce back next year.

Horseforthecourse
Nov. 13, 2009, 03:38 PM
The only other thing Rachel needed to do was run against Zenyatta... BUT had Zenyatta lost this wouldn't be a conversation. BUT she won with her ears pricked yet again and handed horses RA had been beating up on their *sses.
They are both amazing females, no doubt about it.
I DO think that a chink in RA's claim to greatness will be that she never got a chance to meet the other greatest female of the year or last ten years+.
Zenyatta was managed to "show up" for BC. Rachel was managed to capitalize on whatever she could without running in BC.
I do think Zenyatta's win will be the freshest thing in the minds of voters come time. That works against Rachel.

I disagree. I view it from the opposite end of things.

I wouldn't be so quick to say that Z is the queen. She never beat Rachel. They could have easily kept Z in training and faced Rachel in January on a neutral track like Oaklawn (where they both won) to decide the victor, but in the end, ultimately, Z ducked Rachel and did this sport a huge disservice. The publicity from a match up from these two would have put racing back on the map. A match up is something that everyone wanted to see, but we were stripped of that privilege.

You can make the argument that Z would have beat Rachel on Sat. Sure, but Rachel would have been at a huge and unfair disadvantage. It was Z's home track and pro-ride favors closers. Whereas Z had a carefully planned campaign, Rachel had ran her butt off all year. Rachel needed a break and Jackson said that he wouldn't race at Santa Anita since he bought Rachel. This is before Z even made a start this year or a matchup was on anyone's minds. He made that statement way before he knew that Z would be in the Classic. With the fact that no dirt horses won all weekend, I don't blame Jackson's decision to skip that BC when he bought Rachel. I think that they only decided to put Z in the Classic when they knew for a fact that Sea the Stars and Rachel were not coming. They sure did wait until the very last minute to make a decision.

We all know that Rachel is the faster horse and was the previous favorite for HOTY. Z needed to come and face her. As it stands right now, Rachel will go down in front of Z in the history books. They said that Z had nothing left to prove. She had a lot left to prove...she retired before facing the best horse in the country and possibly the best three year old filly ever.

So whereas you think that it will hurt Rachel that she never faced Z, I think the opposite. Rachel is way ahead of where Z was as a three year old right now. I have a feeling that Rachel will be in the starting gate of the BC Classic next year if she's healthy, so you can't really say that Rachel didn't run in the BC Classic just yet. Her career isn't over unlike Z's.

Horseforthecourse
Nov. 13, 2009, 04:02 PM
If Rachel continues to be as dominant *against males* next year, I may change my tune. But they'd have to either let her carry a lot more weight, or run her at a longer distance, or make a big surface switch. Right now, I'd give it to Zenyatta, for all the reasons above (plus beating the likely Three-Year-Old Male and Older Turf Horse soundly in the process.)

Danceronice...these statements admit your bias. Let's put this in perspective...

Zenyatta was only dominant against males once in her entire life. Once. That's it. Giving weight at that. She won by a length giving weight to a turf horse that can't run a sub-24 last quarter on the turf. Trust me, Gio Ponti picked the right spot. He would have wanted nothing to do with Conduit or Presious Passion in the previous race.

Rachel, a three year old filly, has beaten the boys three times. Three times already....on three different surfaces, two of which she didn't care for(Saratoga and Pimilico). You're kidding yourself if you don't think Rachel will keep racing the males next year when she is stronger and more mature. She would have no reason not too, and JJ is very sporting. She already beat the males this year anyway when she isn't as strong. She's already won in the slop, mud, synthetic, and fast dirt. Zenyatta won on the synthetic and fast dirt.

Then there is Summer Bird, who Rachel beat by six lengths in the Haskell. Six lengths. We know that the surface was not a problem to Summer Bird in the Haskell because summer bird won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in the same conditions.

Before Summer Bird started racing, John Sadler had him out in California. Because Summer Bird showed nothing on synthetics, John Sadler sent him east to see if he would improve on the dirt. The clockers at the BC had not been impressed with the way that Summer Bird had been working over the Pro-Ride surface. He would weave his head back and forth in the workouts as if he was uncomfortable with the surface. He was like Curlin. Class alone enabled him to finish fourth, as he did not care for the surface. Still, Zenyatta beat him by four lengths.

Rachel Alexandra should, without a doubt, be the HOTY. She had the tougher and more billiant campaign. This is the Horse of the Year...that means the entire year, and Rachel put a campaign together for the ages.

If Rachel doesn't win horse of the year, she should just stay in KY, race fillies and mares in four races (all at 1 1/16-1 1/8), and then race in the BC Classic at her home track...a track that she freaks over. She should have 50 days in between races and shouldn't travel at all. She shouldn't start racing again until late May, and if the track comes up sloppy, she should scratch. Sounds much more exciting and tougher than her campaign this year doesn't it?

DLee
Nov. 13, 2009, 06:34 PM
It's worth checking out this page, with all of RA's and Zenyatta's races on them. I just rewatched a bunch, and I had forgotten just how exciting they all were.
http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/racing-news/2009/November/11/Replays-of-Rachel-Alexandras-and-Zenyattas-09-races.aspx

I had forgotten how many Rachel won by lengths and lengths, under a hand ride and often being eased. Unreal.

WhiteCamry
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:07 PM
The comments from Jerry Bailey about Rachel going in the Woodward and skipping the Travers that had the "tougher" competition were honesty mind-boggling. No filly had ever won the Woodward in its 124 year history.
The Woodward has been run at different tracks at different distances. Effectively, it's just the one trophy handed out for different races over the years.

Likewise, a number of stakes have filled Saratoga's traditional slot of 9 furlongs for 3-year-olds and up. It's better to ask, which 3yo fillies have beaten 3yo+ colts at 9f at Saratoga? Or anywhere else, for that matter?

Glimmerglass
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:22 PM
The ballot won't allow for a write-in so unless the press is 100% evenly divided there will be only one horse given the HOTY honors.

Steve Haskin (BloodHorse) puts forth the accomplishments of both horses - here (http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/53468/haskin-on-horse-of-the-year-stalemate)

Seemingly as much as people would think having two super horses accomplish so much in one year would be good for the sport it really just seems to be bringing out the worst. Way too many boards and publications with people yelling in favor of X while making sure to denigrate horse Y.

VirginiaBred
Nov. 17, 2009, 05:57 AM
True enough Glimmer. That was the impression I have gotten. Haskin's article was a refreshing look at the way so many feel.

DuffyAgain
Nov. 21, 2009, 11:43 AM
I'm just glad the decision isn't up to me! I couldn't vote "against" either mare either. I just wish they could make them CO-Horse of the Years.

Glimmerglass
Nov. 21, 2009, 05:57 PM
Eclipse voter - and well respected writer - Bill Finley (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/columns/story?columnist=finley_bill&id=4675753) would vote for co-champions (but that's been ruled out as possible by NTRA head Alex Waldrop) so he will vote for Rachel Alexandra:


I've always believed that the Horse of the Year should be awarded to the horse who had the best overall year and accomplished the most. And that's why I will vote without hesitation for Rachel Alexandra.

As for the BC Classic win, being argued by Z supporters as the almost automatic trigger for garnering HOTY:


Here's the problem: Until someone comes along and changes the rules, the Breeders' Cup is not the Super Bowl of racing. Whoever wins the Super Bowl is the champion. Case closed. The Breeders' Cup is a very important event that has a lot to do with deciding year-end honors, and nothing more.

That's why no one dreamed of naming Classic winner Arcangues the Horse of the Year in 1993 and no serious observer will cast an Eclipse vote this year for a one-race wonder such as Sprint winner Dancing in Silks.

Glimmerglass
Nov. 25, 2009, 12:11 PM
As confirmed the proposal of have a co-champion was nixed. Further any voter who submits a split vote will have that vote tossed.

From The Daily Racing Form's Steve Crist (http://cristblog.drf.com/crist/2009/11/no-dual-option.html) (an Eclipse Voter):


Eclipse Award voters will not be given the option of naming Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta as joint Horse of the Year honorees, it was decided Tuesday morning by a 2-1 vote of the three organizations that present the awards.

The proposal to allow voters to choose co-winners this year was supported by Daily Racing Form but opposed by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the National Turf Writers Association.

Any "split" votes will not be counted. The net result is that the only way both horses could win the award is in the highly unlikely case of a statistical dead-heat among the roughly 250 voters.

I'm on record (http://www.drf.com/drfNewsArticle.do?NID=108924&subs=0&arc=0#jointaward) as supporting a dual-winners option and was disappointed by the outcome. I'll make a choice by Jan. 4, when ballots are due, and root for that highly unlikely statistical dead-heat.

It will be interesting to see if in fact every HOTY vote will be cast for one of the two favorites or whether a close vote might be decided by the oddball selections some voters feel compelled to cast. Last year, for example, Curlin (154), Zenyatta (69) and Big Brown (13) combined to receive only 235 of the 242 HOTY votes; there were two votes cast for Raven's Pass, two abstensions, and one each for Einstein, Goldikova and Peppers Pride.

Glimmerglass
Dec. 3, 2009, 09:53 AM
An interesting read from The Daily Racing Form in regards to Jess Jackson, who has otherwise been very quiet since Rachel ended her season, on the Horse of the Year debate as well as Zenyatta's performance in the BCC.

He continues to be less then my favorite owner, but him calling the Moss family was to be applauded as sportsmanlike.

DRF 12-3-09 "Jess Jackson: Shooting from the hip" (http://www.drf.com/news/article/109299.html)

excerpt


[After Zenyatta crossed the finish line] Jackson dialed up Jerry Moss's cell phone.

Moss, who co-owns Zenyatta with his wife, Ann, must have been en route to the winner's circle and didn't answer. "Exceptional!" Jackson said into his voice mail. "That was an exceptional performance."

Further he remarked - not directly to the Mosses


They're both great horses," Jackson said. "Zenyatta's win in the Classic was no surprise to me. I predicted a week before the race that she'd win."

Asked why Rachel Alexandra might prevail in the Horse of the Year vote, Jackson said: "You can't worry about what's in the hands of others, but I think she'll win. If they consider the facts, she'll win."

Other points include:

*JJ's support of a racing commissioner [although cited is that, despite folks thinking otherwise, it's been somewhat tried before in horse racing]
*JJ'c thinks the Eclipse voting should be reworked
*JJ's would prefer more longevity in the sport and indirectly less 2-yr old focuses

Glimmerglass
Jan. 4, 2010, 03:26 PM
The choices for the 2009 Eclipse Awards ...


DELETED - as the was not the final list - see below for finals

As cited by many voters if anyone casts against Rachel or Zenyatta for their respective female categories (3 and then 4 year old) said person(s) should be revealed and lose their right for future voting.

I'd like to see Jonathan Sheppard get the nod for trainer but it doesn't appear that's likely from initial revealed voting.

cloudyandcallie
Jan. 4, 2010, 03:30 PM
The choices for the 2009 Eclipse Awards ...



As cited by many voters if anyone casts against Rachel or Zenyatta for their respective female categories (3 and then 4 year old) said person(s) should be revealed and lose their right for future voting.

I'd like to see Jonathan Sheppard get the nod for trainer but it doesn't appear that's likely from initial revealed voting.

Sounds fair to me........with banishment of course.

danceronice
Jan. 4, 2010, 06:02 PM
Quality Road? Seriously? Who capped his three-year-old season by not loading? Summer Bird better be a lock.

Rubyfree
Jan. 4, 2010, 06:20 PM
Well, there have to be three finalists. I don't think there is any danger of SB losing.

I STILL wish they would allow co-HOTY honors. I know it's off the table, I'm just whining. Sigh.

LaurieB
Jan. 4, 2010, 06:29 PM
There are some incredibly competitive categories there. What a nice year of racing 2009 was. :)

Slewdledo
Jan. 5, 2010, 12:09 AM
WHERE THE HECK IS BLIND LUCK on the 2YO filly ballot?!!! :no:

Pat Ness
Jan. 5, 2010, 09:02 AM
How aobut Mine That Bird? He is 5th money maker of the year after Zenyatta, Rachel, Gio Ponti and Summer Bird.

It really seems like the first half of 2009 is pushed aside for the Eclipse awards. If the triple crown had been in the fall with the same results, Rachel would have a better chance of edging out Zenyatta and Mine That Bird would be on this list. I am not a fan of the connections with Mine That Bird, but the little horse did a good job the first 6 months of 2009.

Glimmerglass
Jan. 6, 2010, 03:53 PM
Sorry about that folks - my original post with the Eclipse Finalists was in fact too soon and a few choices I listed as being the final three have been changed.

Below is the final 2009 Eclipse ballot, winners announced January 18th, to be carried live on TVG:

Worth reiterating is that any voter who thinks they're beating the system by casting a vote for "both" horses in the HOY will have their vote tossed.



· Horse of the Year:
Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta

· Two-Year-Old Male:
Lookin At Lucky, Noble’s Promise, Vale of York (IRE)

· Two-Year-Old Filly:
Blind Luck, Hot Dixie Chick, She Be Wild

· Three-Year-Old Male:
Mine That Bird, Quality Road, Summer Bird

· Three-Year-Old Filly:
Careless Jewel, Flashing, Rachel Alexandra

· Older Male:
Einstein (BRZ), Gio Ponti, Kodiak Kowboy

· Older Female:
Life Is Sweet, Music Note, Zenyatta

· Male Sprinter:
Dancing in Silks, Kodiak Kowboy, Zensational

· Female Sprinter:
Informed Decision, Music Note, Ventura

· Male Turf Horse:
Conduit (IRE), Gio Ponti, Presious Passion

· Female Turf Horse:
Goldikova (IRE), Midday (GB), Ventura

· Steeplechase Horse:
Mixed Up, Red Letter Day, Spy in the Sky

· Owner:
Godolphin Racing, Juddmonte Farms, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss

· Breeder:
Adena Springs, Juddmonte Farms, Dolphus C. Morrison

· Trainer:
Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, John Shirreffs

· Jockey:
Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux

· Apprentice Jockey:
Luis Batista, Christian Santiago Reyes, Luis Saez

I'm absolutely dumbfounded that Jonathan Sheppard didn't make the final three. That's insane! Shafted as well is Augustin Stables in either the breeding or owner category. Do the turf writers dislike Penn-based folks?

Further stunning is the inclusion of Mine That Bird for 3-yr old male with his 2009 record of 8 starts 1-2-2 ..... that's simply baffling!

The same horse who finished 4th in the ungraded Sunland Derby against nobody, ducked the Travers Stakes, and ended his year with a 9th place in the BCC, preceded by the 6th place in the Goodwood Stakes.

Rubyfree
Jan. 6, 2010, 04:10 PM
Further stunning is the inclusion of Mine That Bird for 3-yr old male with his 2009 record of 8 starts 1-2-2 ..... that's simply baffling!


I agree with you on that. I like the little guy and rooted for him plenty this year but he just didn't put it all together. Who would your third choice have been? Anyone?

rcloisonne
Jan. 7, 2010, 07:21 PM
Further stunning is the inclusion of Mine That Bird for 3-yr old male with his 2009 record of 8 starts 1-2-2 ..... that's simply baffling!
Isn't the KD winner (and won it by a margin not seen in more than 50 years) usually included in the "Three-Year-Old Male" category every year?

MTB also came very close to clipping RA in the Preakness and acquitted himself well despite an incompetent ride in the Belmont. How many other three year olds have placed in all 3 Triple Crown races and not been nominated? Sheesh!

Summerbird will clearly take this one and rightly so.