Horse of the Year is always one of the most hotly debated
awards in racing, and 2012 should be no exception. As of now the Older Male
division has but one true leader and his name is Game On Dude
. Both Fort Larned
and Ron the Greek
failed to fire their best in yesterday’s Jockey Club Gold
. That removes them from atop the mountain, leaving Game On Dude there by
It would take a win in the Classic
by either one of those
two to displace Game On Dude, but even then, would one really say they are
worthy of Horse of the Year? A win for Game On Dude in the Classic is almost
assumed. It is his home track and he has Bob Baffert, one of racing’s best
current conditioners. However, nothing is certain, so one must ask the
question, should he fall who is able to take his place?
As I see it right now, there are two horses that could
easily step up to steal the honor right out from under the Dude, should he
falter. The first and most likely is Point of Entry
. Yes, he is a turf horse
and I cannot remember the last time a turf horse took home racing’s highest
honor. But this is an age of change, where old rules are broken and new records
are being set.
Point of Entry enters this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf
five race win streak. He is 5 for 6 this year, and four of his wins came in
graded company, three came in grade one company. His lone loss was in an
optional claimer run at nine furlongs, a distance which in hindsight was much
too short for the distance loving son of Dynaformer. Should he win the Breeders’
Cup Turf he will have vanquished his Californian equivalent, Acclamation
any Euro stars that should venture to Santa Anita. With a possible record of
six wins from seven starts, four grade ones and five graded stakes wins, how
could one possibly deny him Horse of the Year?
The second horse is a name everyone in racing knows,
. Her starts earlier this season can be forgiven as they came over
turf, a surface she later showed us was far from her best. Ever since her connections chose
to make the switch to dirt she has been nearly unstoppable. She
won three in a row, two of those were grade ones in the Coaching Club American
Oaks and the Alabama.
She met her match in the Cotillion when she face last year’s
unbeaten Champion Juvenile Filly, My Miss Aurelia
. She ran as game a race as
any, and only lost by a head. It was her third grade one attempt and she was
giving seven pounds to her rival. She also was running a distance that was more
to her rival’s liking than her own.
The Breeders Cup Ladies Classic
will be her fourth grade one
attempt in a row. There she will face arguably the best Breeders Cup field that will be
assembled this year. Three champions will await her along with at least four
other grade one winning fillies. Should she beat that field, winning a total of
three grade ones this year, taking down three champions, and beating her elders
it would be hard to deny her Horse of the Year.
Again these are scenarios should the unexpected happen in
the Classic, though I also feel these two should be in the voting for Horse of
the Year, even if Game on Dude should win the Classic. Both have records worthy
of consideration, and would have records arguably just as good or better than
Game on Dude, or any other potential Classic winner.
Horse of the Year is not an award for just the male Classic
horses. It should crown the horse that performed the best throughout the year
and that accomplished most through the year. Both Point Of Entry and Questing have done enough to merit consideration. It’s time we broadened our minds and thought
outside of just one division. Give every division its due. Give every division
the respect it deserves.