How much value should the Eclipse Award voters place on
the results of the Breeders’ Cup?
There are no easy answers to the above question, but we
may gain a better understanding of how the majority feels on the subject
according to how the voting for this year’s 2-year-old Filly Championship goes
down. In the one corner you have the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner,
Beholder, while in the opposite corner, there is four-time stakes winner, and
runner-up on Friday, Executiveprivilege (below). It would seem there could not be a
more clear-cut delineation between siding with the Breeders’ Cup winner or the
horse that accomplished more during the year, with this pair of young ladies.
If you believe it all comes down to the Breeders’ Cup,
then you have to favor Beholder. She defeated her rival in the big one; case
If you believe what happens during the entire year
outweighs the result of one race, then you must love Executiveprivilege’s
chances. She holds a 4-to-1 stakes wins advantage, and a 2-to-1 head-to-head
advantage over Beholder; clearly she had the better overall year.
Of course, it will boil down to personal preference,
and then a counting of the votes, to decide this one, but let’s take a look at
this decision with a pair of similar historical references.
In 1979 (pre-Breeders’ Cup) the vote came down to the
unbeaten Genuine Risk and the prolific Smart Angle. In their only meeting,
Genuine Risk (left) won the Demoiselle by a nose in both fillies seasonal finale.
Despite winning the showdown, albeit narrowly, and a perfect 4-for-4 record,
the Firestone filly was denied an Eclipse Award, as voters sided with the
Demoiselle runner-up, who had already won six stakes that year. Smart Angle won
the championship, but would it have been different if the Demoiselle had been
the BC Juvenile Fillies?
In 1999, Chilukki entered the Breeders’ Cup with a
perfect six-for-six record, including five stakes wins. In the Juvenile
Fillies, she put her winning streak on the line against a pair of D. Wayne
Lukas fillies in Surfside and Cash Run. Surfside was the more highly regarded
one, but it was Cash Run who impressively carried the day at Gulfstream Park
over Chilukki (2nd) and Surfside (3rd). When it came time to vote on the
championship, Chilukki easily reversed the Breeders’ Cup result with a sizable
win to nail down the Eclipse Award over the $1.2 million yearling purchase, but
winner of a lone stakes race at two.
While these two comparisons relate to this year’s
decision, every Eclipse Award vote is like a snowflake; no two are quite the
same. Should Executiveprivilege be rewarded for her body of work, including a
solid performance when second on Friday, and two previous grade 1 wins, or did
the Breeders’ Cup truly establish the better filly? Keep in mind that despite
winning only a single stakes score, Beholder was only a scant nose short of
Executiveprivilege in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, before running the biggest
speed figure of the division in a romping allowance prep.
It’s an interesting question, and one that I, myself,
am currently struggling in finding the correct answer, so … let the debate
begin. Who do you think should be the champ, Beholder or Executiveprivilege?