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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Three-Year-Old Male Eclipse Award Scenarios

 

Orb - Despite riding a three-race losing streak, the championship is still Orb’s to lose. His excellent form in Florida, combined with winning the most prestigious race in America, is more than anyone else in the division can boast. A win in either the Jockey Club Gold Cup or Breeders’ Cup Classic would almost certainly clinch it, with the only possible caveat to that being if one of his closest competitors beats him while winning the Classic. If Orb loses both, his connections will need to hope another three-year-old could not win either, as well.

Wins (4) Kentucky Derby, Florida Derby, Fountain of Youth.


Palace Malice - It does not matter that this is the one that I think is the best; with only two wins this year, he simply needs more to win a championship. His bad luck and narrow losses do not, and should not, mean a heckuva lot when the year-end awards are handed out. The good news is that it is still all out on the table for the Dogwood runner. Much like Orb, a victory in either the Jockey Club Gold Cup or Breeders’ Cup would likely catapult him to the top of the heap.

Wins (2) Belmont Stakes, Jim Dandy


Verrazano - The best overall record, and most graded stakes wins don’t mean much when you run up the track in your two most important races on the schedule. Perhaps distance challenged, Verrazano might be best suited to targeting the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. An impressive win there, while the older horses win the Jockey Club and Classic, and Verrazano would likely get plenty of late support for the award, much like happened with Caleb’s Posse. Would that be enough for the championship? Food for thought.

Wins (6) Haskell, Wood Memorial, Tampa Bay Derby, Pegasus Stakes


Will Take Charge - It sounds like Lukas is leaning towards a Pennsylvania Derby run before the BC Classic. A win over good horses there combined with losses by Orb and Palace Malice in the JCGC would bring the Travers winner to all but equal footing with Orb as the leader of the division. Considering the momentum he would have, it could come down to which horse runs the best race at Santa Anita on the first Saturday in November.

Wins (3) Travers, Rebel Stakes, Smarty Jones 


Departing - This terrific gelding from the Al Stall barn probably does not belong in this conversation as of yet. Impressive wins in the Illinois and West Virginia Derby were visually appealing, but only a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic would bring the Claiborne runner into the forefront of the division. More likely he will add another Derby or two, starting with the Super Derby on September 7, before making a more serious run at a championship next year.

Wins (4) Illinois Derby, West Virginia Derby, Texas Heritage Stakes


Moreno - Eric Guillot has become my favorite quotable conditioner, and since Moreno was gelded and headed East, he has a legitimate horse to crow about. With only one stakes win, though, there is only one possible scenario for the speedster to have a shot to rally late and scoop up the year-end award, and that would be winning both the Pennsylvania Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Now if he had held his Travers lead just a few more yards, it would have been a whole lot more likely to see the trophy dripping with a bit of bear grease.

Wins (2) Dwyer Stakes.


Oxbow - Unfortunately, the Preakness winner is on the shelf for the rest of the year. I don’t see any scenario that could end with an Eclipse Award for Oxbow. 

Wins (2) Preakness, LeComte Stakes 

 

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Older Comments about Three-Year-Old Male Eclipse Award Scenarios...

mschneider, why did Zenyatta still win HOY when Blame beat her then? What about the year Boise beat Oklahoma? Even better, what about the year Utah beat the snot out of Alabama? You're comparing apples and oranges here. The comparison you're making is most closely related to Stall beating Shirreffs as opposed to Blame beating Zenyatta because you're focused on connections rather than the "teams" or "talent" exuded in given years.
Tmallios1 - A good day to you aslo. I hope you know I am a huge fan of Verrazano, just not of the opinion he should be 3YO Eclipse winner. Is Cross Traffic the rocket ship you are referring to?
Then we agree mschneider. you have a good day.Either way it will be some race.
Placace Malice, with more time and schooling getting out of the gate, he looks to be the best 3yo judging by his last three races. For the start he had in the Travers, he would have had no trouble with this crop.
tmallios1 - I would completely applaud such a move. The horses health and safety should be first and foremost. I made my comments only becasue others were claiming he should be 3YO champion.
tmallios you mentioned Verrazano in a hypothetical race at the standard 1 1/8 miles. The standard for thoroughbreds in the United States is the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles not 1 1/8. Verrazano needs to win at the classic distance to be Champion 3 year old. The steady shortening of races, especially in New York, is contributing to the decline of the breed in the United States in my opinion.
mschneider,maybe the connections of VZ. are not as enthralled by the 3 yo Eclipse award as John Q and his many followers are.They have stated their plans for the remainder of the year.Maybe,let us think a little extreme and out of the box as it seems.Maybe they are doing what they feel is right by the horse and are not allowing John Qs' opinion to sway them.Somehow, i think their intentions are a little more prevelant than John Qs'. They are not ducking, as you are implying.Todd already has the rocket ship that will spank the up and comers in the JCGC. Verrazano developed trmendously as a late 3yo in physical stature. All Todd is doing is waiting on next year . I keep laughing at John Q sometimes.On one hand ,they complain how horses are being retired at such young ages. For whatever the reason this happens.Yet when someone does what is right by the horse,John q gets upset that they are being deprived of the so called "showdowns" they covet.Same with Wise Dan,They want him to run here and there.Against him or her,maybe the connections see he is a happy hose where he is right now.
Have to respect the fact that the two leading candidates for 3YO Eclipse will race head-to-head in the JCGC and possibly the BC Classic. Orb or Palace Malice will emerge as the worthy champion by competing against each other to earn the award. Verrazano people know where both Orb and PM will be racing Sept. 28 - why is Verrazano not getting inot the race? Race to long then why is Verrazano not going a 1-1/8 at the Penn Derby and competing against the other two horses who drilled him in the Travers = Will Take Charge and Moreno.
Track & Field is a close comparable to our sport. Verrazano winning 3YO Eclipse would be like Tyson Gay beating Usain Bolt and designated Champion. Usain wins the Gold medal in the Olympics (or Worlds in off-Olympic years) and beats Tyson Gay twice in head-to-head competition but Tyson Gay is crowned Champion becasue he won a couple of other races. Just my opinion, that is a tough sell to people.
Both of you are correct.But Mschneider,this award along with every other award,is not structured to quench the thirst og John Q. Public.It is there to name the superior race horse within the respective Division.This year has been a strange but good one for 3 year olds.They have taken turns beating each other.This does not make this crop a bad crop,it makes it a deep crop.That being said,I think Orb would desrve it,because he won the highest profile 3 yo race run in the U.S. this year.If you told me that we would run a hypothetical race at the standard 1 1/8th of a mile and that every horse woul be in peak form.I think Verrazano would run rough shot over the field.Unfortunately we can't do that.Bottom line,there is no real eclipse top 3yo in America this year.Come to think about it,i hope all the divisions were as difficult to judge as this one.It lends to excellent racing.
Come on Ruff - that is not what I said. Go a little deeper. I will try one more time. 1) Our sport promotes as the premier races the Triple Crown races and distances and the BC Classic (largest purse and press) 2) John Q. (both current and potential new fans) watches those races and connects with who won those races. And the average fan connects with those distances becasue our sport promotes those distances. The average fan does not care plus has limited access to watch 6 furlong races, a mile, etc. 3) If John Q. connects with Orb, Oxbow or Palace Malice from the promotion/exposure our sport provides to them, but then some other horse wins 3YO Champion and that horse did not win a promoted/premier race or never beat any of the horses who did win our sports premier races then no one gets that 4) That makes the 3YO Champion fuzzy math and John Q. does not get fuzzy math. John Q. gets great athletes have to beat other great athletes to be Champion. Therefore, my point is, Verrazano and even Departing, while wonderful horses, did not Win the premier races at the distances our sport promotes to the public at large. Therefore, Verrazano and Departing would have to beat those horses who did Win the premier races (which would be at the longer distances since that is where those horses will run). If they do not beat them, John Q. can in no way understadn by any sense of logic how Verrazano or Departing would be Champion. Verrazano is 0-2 against both Orb and Palace Malice. Imo, he has no business winning 3YO Eclipse award and this would be bad for our sport becasue the average fan and potential new fans do not get that, under any scenario. Ruff, at least try to understand what I am saying and not re-configuring my position. I have no problem disagreeing on opinion but please don't change what I am saying.
Mschneider if you think Verrazano shouldn't win because he didn't show up in two races the entire year then Orb Palace Malice and WTC shouldn't have a shot at winning either. All the horses have taken turns beating each other this year. How common is it that a 3YO winner or even a HOTY wins every single race? Verrazano has more graded stakes wins than any of the others so how can you say he wouldn't be worthy? If Havre De Grace can win HOTY then the potential is enormous for any of these talented three year olds to take the title. It's about results- not potential
and to those who say who did Verrazano beat . In TB derby he beat the Next out Grade ! bluegrass winner Javas War who btw beat Palace Malice in there . In the Wood he beat 4th place derby runner Normandy invasion . and in the Haskell he beat oxbow and 2nd place derby runner golden Soul by 16 lengths.
if orb loses out which i believe he will. he beat zip in the florida derby . not one graded winner at 3 did he beat in there . got perfect storm in derby with pace meltdown sloppy track perfect trip and wtc getting stopped in his tracks. his last three on fast tracks with resonable pace have shown his true colors . PM will out perform orb in jcgb imo he is the better horse who seems to improve with each start. much the best in travers after poor start. but if he loses out also and verrazano win bc mile defeating olders while capturin his 3rd grad 1 and 5th graded win @ 7/9 on the year he is hands down deserving of the eclipse .
Oh, icy! We know that, but as Mike in SB said, the 3y/o male division usually is won by a colt that has been a winner at 1 1/4 mi. I personally do not think Verrazano will win the 3y/o Eclipse without having done so. Many people thought Caleb's Posse was deserving, but he wasn't a classic distance horse. So, I don't plan to have a stroke and I wish you a good day as well! (And Go, Cowboys, tonight!)
There aren't any guidelines by which the voters are bound by. I was going to use restricted but didn't want to cause another stroke level thought process. have a good day.
goblin - I agree. That is why verrazano should not win the 3YO Eclipse. He can't compete at the distances our sport prmotes nor can he beat the horses who do win at the premier races when he gets the chance. Again, he is a great horse but not 3YO eclipse winner imo.
Sully - I completely understand your opinion. I am not comparing apples-to-oranges. I mentioned individual sports and the PGA Tour comes to mind. They have the FedEx to decide who the individual PGA Champion is. All I was saying is our sport needs new fans and if a fan cannot understand how a champion is determined then we will have a tough time drawing in more fans. John Q. watches the Triple crown races and knows Orb, Oxbow and Palace Malice won those races. John does not understand Verrazano won a couple of races against not so well recognized horses. If John watches the Travers and sees Verrazano beat Orb, PM, etc. then he knows Verrazano is becoming a pretty good horse. If Verrazano never beats Orb or PM but wins 3YO award no one gets that. And if a fan cannot figure out how a champion is crowned then I am not sure we can expect the fan base to grow. Luckily, the two leaders, Orb and Palace Malice will do battle in the JCGC and possibly the BCC. A true champion will emerge from these races.
mschneider, As Mike in SB said above, winning at the classic distance of 1 1/4 mi. has been the standard for 3y/o divisional year end honors. It's not so much that Verrazano does not do well in "big races", as that he has not run well at 1 1/4 mi. so far. Horses such as Skip Away and Holy Bull did not win a TC race, but they won at 1 1/4 mi. later in the year on their way to 3y/o championships. (Skip Away even managed to beat Cigar in the JCGC '96.)
And before you go off on a tangent, trust me, I know what you're talking about. I'm a sports enthusiast. However, like I said, you're comparing apples and oranges here. Think about it. You're focusing on programs, which the correlation in the racing world would be the trainers'/owners' barn and not the given results from THAT particular season. Many SEC fans have this false pretense. Just because they had the best team in the nation for that given year, the SEC is clearly "the best conference." LOL, no, that BCS championship only meant you had the best team that year, in that game, etc. If it were the same in horse racing, guess who wouldn't have been the '10 HOTY, and depending what's deemed the "championship game" wouldn't have been HOTY since Curlin in '07.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.