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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

The Florida Filly's Eclipse Selections

Shortly after the 2011 Breeders’ Cup, I made my Eclipse Award selections. For most of the categories, I stand by my original selections, but there are a few divisions in which some end-of-the-year races caused me to change my mind. You can view my previous selections along with my commentary on each here. With the Eclipse Awards ceremony looming this evening, I now present my revised selections for each division as I get in on the Eclipse Award discussions.


Two-Year Old Male: Hansen
My 2010 HOTY vote was for the legendary Zenyatta despite her BC Classic loss, and, based on that, you would think that I would vote for Union Rags for this category. Well, I gave the flashy colt a lot of consideration, but, when it came right down to it, both him and Hansen entered the BC Juvenile undefeated, and only Hansen exited with his record intact. Sure, Union Rags had the better year on paper, but he also began his two-year old season two months before Hansen did. Because juveniles all start at different points in the year, I can hardly fault Hansen for not having made it into bigger races in the time that he had prior to the Breeders’ Cup.


Two-Year Old Female: My Miss Aurelia


Three-Year Old Male: Caleb’s Posse
This division has caused an on-going debate for the last two months. Based on his Kentucky Derby and Vinery Spiral victories along with a great showing in each of the Triple Crown races, many believe that the award should go to Animal Kingdom. Those who love a horse that shows up for each and every race and runs his heart out vote for Shackleford. Then there are those that believe that if Animal Kingdom should be considered without having won a race outside of Kentucky, then Stay Thirsty, the New York monster, should also be considered. Personally, none of these three do it for me. As much as I liked Stay Thirsty, he was my second choice, and Shackleford was my third choice. If Animal Kingdom had not been injured, then I would have been willing to give him the nod, but Caleb’s Posse gets my vote based on his year-long record. Sure, he did not do well at the “classic” distances, but when he ran at his favorite distance, he was nearly unbeatable.


Three-Year Old Female: Royal Delta


Older Male: Acclamation
This is a division that requires a disclaimer. For Champion Three-Year Old Male, I knocked Animal Kingdom for not running the entire year, but I am willing to give Acclamation the award for this category. Here’s why: in Animal Kingdom’s half a year, the colt only put together two wins. Acclamation, on the other hand, put together a five race win streak, with two wins in Grade 2 races and three wins in Grade 1 races.


Older Female: Havre de Grace
I would love for Blind Luck to win this division. She owns the rivalry between herself and Grace, but unfortunately the Delaware Handicap took a lot out of her and she had to be retired early. Winning the division over Grace would certainly provoke a lot of controversy since Grace is likely to be named Horse of the Year, and winning HOTY without winning her division would be an almost unheard of occurrence. I love Blind Luck, but Grace beat the boys and ran well in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, so I have to stick with convention here.


Male Sprinter: Amazombie
Sorry DeadHeat, but Caleb’s Posse is NOT a sprinter. I would rather leave the mile in limbo than try to categorize it as an extended sprint or a shortened route. I know there are already a lot of divisions, but I would be very happy to see the creation of a Mile Division. That’s just my personal opinion. Amazombie propelled himself from the allowance ranks in 2010 to being a Grade 1 winner in 2011. He had a stellar year facing some very good sprinters, and he deserves the award.


Female Sprinter: Hilda’s Passion
Right after the Breeders’ Cup, I chose Turbulent Descent because a three-month layoff and a troubled trip had resulted in her 5th place BC finish. However, she then went on to run poorly in the La Brea and was not even made a finalist in her division. After reviewing the past performances of the three division finalists, I ultimately chose Hilda’s Passion because, of the three, she had the most graded wins. Sassy’s Image had two Grade 1 wins to Passion’s one, but Passion had more than just three graded stakes victories. Therefore, she gets my vote.


Male Turf Horse: Cape Blanco
I originally chose Acclamation for this division, but Cape Blanco was shipped in from Ireland three times and won all three of his starts in the States. All three races were Grade 1s, so, after some tough consideration, I changed my vote and gave it to the Irish invader.


Female Turf Horse: Stacelita
Goldikova was my first choice here, but she was not made a division finalist. This division was perhaps the toughest for me to choose a winner. There was not a clear standout, but Stacelita had the most Grade 1 wins, so she gets the nod here.


Trainer: Bill Mott
His Breeders' Cup record in 2011 speaks volumes.




Apprentice: Kyle Frey

Horse of the Year: Havre de Grace


As for the Owner, Breeder, and Steeplechase awards, I really am indifferent to the three, particularly the latter since I admittedly do not know as much as I should about the sport. I will happy with whoever wins the award for these three divisions, so I will not throw out my personal selections here. These are my selections, and I invite you to tell me where you think I went wrong or which divisions you agree with me on.

 

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Older Comments about The Florida Filly's Eclipse Selections...

What can you tell his fans about his expected 2012 return race, manutim? Is he back from the farm yet?
any surface, any distance, Acclamation over Hdg
CP's minor Derby losses will be what prevents his from getting the award if he does not win it. He certainly was less than stellar at the longer distances this year, but he also won at 8.5 f while losing at 8 f at one point. Still, his victories still stack up to a better record than AK.
It's not a Zenyatta argument. It's a response that you think that you really have insight into why people voted like they did. Maybe you should make a statement like that after talking to all the voters.
I give Caleb's Posse huge credit for the BC Mile win, but not very much for the Foggy Jones mile. You can debate if the mile is in the sprint category. I have seen comments suggesting that 8.5 f. is a sprint compared to what the old time greats ran. Then you have to consider his Southwest loss. He gets credit, too for being one of the 3yo males that put in a whole year's campaign, and he does have those nice wins in the Amsterdam(although how was the competition/speed in that race?) and the King's Bishop over Mo, plus the impressive BC Dirt Mile, which must be balanced against his losses in the minor derbies in considering him for top 3yo male, which he may win.
Mary Z, DeadHeat and I have had a running debate concerning Caleb's Posse's status as a sprinter for probably about a month now. It has migrated from one HRN article to another and even found its way onto FaceBook. Amazombie is my pick for Sprinter. Caleb's Posse may very well have won a couple of sprints in 2011, but when it came right down to it, his connections chose to enter him in the Dirt Mile rather than the Sprint. To me, that says volumes about what they felt his chances of winning were in the Sprint compared to the Mile. Next year, if he has a record that tends more toward the shorter distances than the longer ones, then I will be willing to classify him as a Sprinter.
What debate? Amazombie.This is one tough sprinter. Should have had one more win on his '11 record, too. Caleb's Posse can put together an all sprint campaign this year. (I'll brace for impact. lol)
Mary Z, I agree with your assessment of the Female Sprinter Division with the exception of Turbulent Descent. Had she run better at the end of the year, she would have been a finalist. But she didn't, and she isn't, and I'm okay with that.
Travel_vic, of course I have never actually voted for the Eclipse awards since I do not yet have the credentials to be among that elite group. I try to be as unbiased as possible, but the point of this was to select who I thought should win the award based on conclusions I myself came to. I agree that Zenyatta probably did win HOTY due in large part to emotion and sentiment. Maybe Blame should have won, but voters are human, and humans are fallible. End of story. DeadHeat, I say we agree to disagree on Caleb's Posse vs. Amazombie. As stubborn as we two are, that debate would never end.
I agree with your choice of Hilda's Passion, but for slightly different reasons. As Florida Filly said, Hilda's Passion ran in all graded stakes sprints this year, 7 starts, 4 wins, 2 2nd. place, ending with her dominating Ballerina win after which her campaign was cut short. I feel as though the award should be between her or Sassy Image with the two grade 1 wins. Sassy Image won over Hilda's Passion at 7f. and Musical Romance (who may win due to the BC f&m sprint win). I didn't think Turbulent Descent should be a finalist for this division even before her loss in the La Brea, since she only won two sprints out of three sprint tries through the BC.
He had the better season. I refuse to get into another Zenyatta deal. It has been beaten to death. I don't agree with her getting HOTY last year, and think it was based on sympathy rather than stats. That is as far as i'm going with it.
Another brilliant statement as alwasy DeadHeat. I always thought that the Eclipse for HOY should go to the best horse. Who was best, Blame or Zenyatta. LMAO
There is no set critiria, and if awards were not based on emotion, then Blame wins in 2010.
Have you ever actually voted in any of these for real? The criteria culminating in a divisional winner is nonemotional
He's not a sprinter? Are ya sure? Even if you don't like him for the award, i'm pretty sure he won the grade two Amsterdam and Grade one Kings Bishop, lol. Otherwise you and I seem to agree on just about every other division. I do like Baffert for trainer, but Mott did something practically undeard of at the BC this year.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.