The NTRA did a good job with their dozen candidates for the 2013 Moment of the Year, but as the old saying goes … You can’t make everybody happy all the time. With that thought in mind, and no offense intended to the good people at the NTRA, I offer up four races that certainly made my Top 12 moments of the year. Check ‘em out, and then I encourage you to tell me your favorite moments from 2013 that you think should have been on the list.
This year’s Westchester Handicap was a good as it gets. The lightly raced upstart, Cross Traffic, was running his eyeballs out, while the old pro, Flat Out was bound and determined to beat him to the wire. As fast as Cross Traffic had run early, he should have wilted to the pressure put on by Flat Out coming out of the turn. He did not. What ensued down the Belmont Park stretch was pure magic. Youth would not be served on this afternoon, my friends, as the seven-year-old recent retiree refused to lose. It was a beautiful case of two excellent thoroughbreds giving it everything they had, and we were the beneficiaries.
What is a seven furlong race from France doing on my list? If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘turn of foot’ when describing the events of a horse race, and wondered what exactly it meant, look no further than Moonlight Cloud’s scintillating stretch run in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp. The Freddie Head trained five-year-old looked hopelessly beaten while still toiling in last with a quarter mile left to go in the seven furlong affair, when all of sudden a magic button was pressed and the mare took of at warp speed. Not only did Moonlight Cloud catch her group 1 competition, but she did it so explosively quick, that she was able to she simply coast to the wire an easy winner.