I know I can ramble on and on, but for something to take me two blogs to cover goes to show just how complicated a certain a matter has become. This year’s Eclipse Awards are of that complicated nature, which is why I decided to split what would be a blog of epically long proportions into two separate pieces. Earlier this week I gave you the first half of my thoughts on the year end awards and now, after long endless hours of contemplation, I give you Eclipse Awards … Part Two.
Champion Sprinter: Earlier this year this award seem to be quite clear, only having two or three main contenders, however, now it has become like most of the others…blurry. Your top three nominees will probably be Caleb’s Posse, Amazombie, and Trappe Shot, but that is far from a certainty. While both Amazombie and Trappe Shot have been models of consistency I can’t help but think this should go to Caleb's Posse. He is unbeaten in sprints, won the ONLY grade one for three year old sprinters, beating Flashpoint and Uncle Mo, two very fast brilliant colts. His other Grade one came in the Dirt Mile, where he beat Shackleford, The Factor, and Trappe Shot himself. His list of fallen foes is indeed impressive, and lends credence to his claim on Champion Sprinter.
Champion Female Sprinter: The division is completely muddled after the Breeders Cup. Turbulent Descent looked to be the big horse going in, and would be a huge choice to win the award had she won this award, but that is not the case, as she faded badly in the stretch. She still may, and probably will get the title, but Dead Heat Debates thinks Hilda’s Passion should take it. She did lose three, but two of those were seconds, one was coming off a layoff, the other a close second to Churchill specialist Sassy Image. Other than that she was brilliant in winning the Inside Information, Vagrancy, and Ballerina. Yes, her season was cut short by a career ending injury, but up to that point there was no doubt about it. Hilda’s Passion was the fastest filly sprinter running.
Champion Turf F/M: In a relatively mediocre bunch, only two fillies rise to the top of the division, Stacelita and Winter Memories. The grey blur has a recorded four wins in six starts, but only has one grade one to her credit. Another negative, all her wins, while in graded stakes, were against only three-year-olds. This fact gives the edge to her older rival Stacelita. In four American starts she has recorded two grade one wins and ran third against colts in the United Nations. Her lone bomb was in the Breeders Cup, not a good place to throw a cluncker, but she had a brutal trip and can be forgiven. When it comes right down to it, she may have only four American starts with only two wins, but Stacelita showed in those two wins that she is your Champion Turf Mare.
Champion Older Female: While many would like to believe this award will be another smack down between Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, there really is no doubt about it, Havre de Grace will be your Champion by a landslide. She has two losses, one against males, and one to Blind Luck. However, her score against that rival is 1-1 this year, so in a neutral stance, the advantage goes to the horse with the best year and that was clearly Havre de Grace.
Champion Older Male: Can I wait until after the Clark to make my decision here? This division has no leader at all. One could make a strong case for Tizway who has two Grade ones, one in the Met Mile and the other in the Whitney, but what about Game on Dude? The horse only won the Big Cap and the Goodwood, while running second in the Hollywood Gold Cup and Breeders Cup Classic. Well if you think he’s the one then you can’t forget Acclamation, who blew his doors off in the Pacific Classic, before winning two grade ones on turf. And we can’t leave out Flat Out, who was runner up in the Whintey and Woodward, won the Suburban and Jockey Club Gold Cup. As of now I would say it’s between Tizway and Game on Dude, with my first choice being Game on Dude. However, that is subject to change since the Clark may attract the Dude, Flat Out, and Classic winner Drosselmeyer. If any of those three take home the prize that day it will move them into the driver’s seat.
Now, do not crucify me, but I’m going to make you all wait before I reveal my Horse of the Year. One I like the suspense it builds and most importantly I still have not decided yet. However, here are your final Eclipse predictions, now have at it.