Hoosier State of Mind begins a weekly Eclipse Awards debate with help from “The Chicago Dark Horse” Chris Sorenson. Over the next few weeks we will be discussing the Eclipse awards, division by division, debating each contenders credentials, and eventually deciding who should win the Eclipse award in their perspective division. We start this week with the Juvenile divisions.
Scott Dick: Dark Horse! It’s great to have you “Co-hosting” this eclipse debate. We’ll start with the Juvenile Filly division. My Miss Aurelia has been perfect so far, she’s already done something even Rachel Alexandra couldn’t do for her part owner Stonestreet Stables and her trainer Steve Asmussen, and that is win a Breeders’ Cup race. Don’t you believe she is the only viable option when it comes to the Eclipse award for Juvenile Filly?
Chris Sorenson: I do agree with you Hoosier-man! My Miss Aurelia really seems to be the choice here. She's a perfect 4-for-4 this season with victories in the Adirondack, Frizette, and the Breeders' Cup! I would imagine that she would be on the Kentucky Oaks trail next year.
SD: Is there any case to be made for Grace Hall? She was 3 for 3 going into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, she ran a strong race while encountering traffic, she still finished a solid 2nd behind the aforementioned Asmussen Filly. Do you see her garnering any votes?
CS: Sure you can make a case for her, but when they went head to head, My Miss Aurelia took the victory and therefore will get my pick. Hopefully, we will see a good rivalry in 2012 between these two!
SD: So Co-host, My Miss Aurelia is your Eclipse Award winner in the Juvenile Filly division?
CS: Yes Sir, She is.
SD: I agree with Chris, My Miss Aurelia is unbeaten, she has been more dominant in her division then any horse in the Eclipse Award divisions. It could be argued that she should be mentioned in the Horse Of The Year conversation.
SD: On to the Juvenile division, this is where it gets a little bit tricky, Chris. Brian Zipse wrote a blog stating that if you liked Zenyatta for Horse Of The Year last year, you have to like Union Rags this year in the Juvenile Colt division. Union Rags traveled quite a distance further than Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen, Rags was wide around the turn, drifting in and out in the stretch, he still was only beaten a dirty nose, what are your feelings on Union Rags?
CS: Union Rags is definitely worthy of the award in my opinion. If you look at what he has accomplished this year, he took the Saratoga Special and the Champagne. He just couldn't quite catch Hansen at the end of the Breeders Cup race and just lost by a nose charging home late.
SD: I’m going to throw a curve ball at you, Dark Horse. What about Secret Circle? This son of Eddington has been spectacular in 3 sprints. He bobbled at the start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, before bursting to the lead and spurting away in the stretch, he was a bit green in the stretch, it seemed he lost a bit of focus, drifting in and drifting out, he eventually straightened up and won by an impressive length. What is your opinion on Secret Circle?
CS: Secret Circle was certainly impressive in the Breeders' Cup. I actually tried to beat the bridge jumper in that race as he was shipping in from California and running on a good track, but he was much the best that day. I don't think anyone was going to beat Secret Circle that day. Besides, when Bob Baffert trained horses are bet down, you know there is a reason for that.
SD: Hansen has been perfect. He was dazzling in his debut, destroying a field of maidens at Turfway Park by nearly 13 lengths. His second start was even more impressive. He stretched out to a route distance for the first time and he did it in stakes company. Hansen cruised to a 13 length victory. Hansen garnered little respect in regards to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, with the betting public letting him go off at odds of 7-1. For those of us watching the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on track, it was just a gray blur, Hansen led from gate to wire, he dug in down the stretch to hold off Union Rags, how impressive has Hansen been?
CS: Hansen has been extremely impressive, Scott! In just three starts, the white horse has taken the country by storm! With two prior impressive double digit length victories you're right in the fact that he didn't get much respect at the windows on Breeders' Cup day. However as my friend Matt Fisher says, winners win, and he did just that just edging out Union Rags. I'll be paying very close attention to how he does on the Derby trail!
SD: So Chris, who gets the Eclipse Award for top Juvenile colt?
CS: Well, Scott, since Hansen did beat Union Rags, I'll go with Hansen, barely.
SD: Besides Horse of The Year, this might be the toughest award to give out, Union Rags is probably the most talented horse in the conversation, his wins in the grade II Saratoga Special and the grade I Champagne Stakes were spectacular, he had a tough luck trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. But, with that being said, Hansen is my Eclipse award winner. Hansen has done nothing wrong. He’s won 3 races by a combined 26 lengths, he stretched his speed out and displayed his talent on synthetic and dirt surface. Hansen is my Eclipse Award winner in the Juvenile Division!
In Honor of Tim (Tiznow) Reynolds, you changed all of are lives for the better and you'll be with us always. Donations can be made to the Timothy (Tiznow) Reynolds Memorial Fund. A memorial fund for his daughter, Lauren Reynolds.