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Horse of the Year Candidates...Outside the Classic Division.

Horse of the Year is always one of the most hotly debated awards in racing, and 2012 should be no exception. As of now the Older Male division has but one true leader and his name is Game On Dude. Both Fort Larned and Ron the Greek failed to fire their best in yesterday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup. That removes them from atop the mountain, leaving Game On Dude there by his lonesome.
 
It would take a win in the Classic by either one of those two to displace Game On Dude, but even then, would one really say they are worthy of Horse of the Year? A win for Game On Dude in the Classic is almost assumed. It is his home track and he has Bob Baffert, one of racing’s best current conditioners. However, nothing is certain, so one must ask the question, should he fall who is able to take his place?
 
As I see it right now, there are two horses that could easily step up to steal the honor right out from under the Dude, should he falter. The first and most likely is Point of Entry. Yes, he is a turf horse and I cannot remember the last time a turf horse took home racing’s highest honor. But this is an age of change, where old rules are broken and new records are being set.
 
Point of Entry enters this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf on a five race win streak. He is 5 for 6 this year, and four of his wins came in graded company, three came in grade one company. His lone loss was in an optional claimer run at nine furlongs, a distance which in hindsight was much too short for the distance loving son of Dynaformer. Should he win the Breeders’ Cup Turf he will have vanquished his Californian equivalent, Acclamation and any Euro stars that should venture to Santa Anita. With a possible record of six wins from seven starts, four grade ones and five graded stakes wins, how could one possibly deny him Horse of the Year?
 
The second horse is a name everyone in racing knows, Questing. Her starts earlier this season can be forgiven as they came over turf, a surface she later showed us was far from her best. Ever since her connections chose to make the switch to dirt she has been nearly unstoppable. She won three in a row, two of those were grade ones in the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama.
 
She met her match in the Cotillion when she face last year’s unbeaten Champion Juvenile Filly, My Miss Aurelia. She ran as game a race as any, and only lost by a head. It was her third grade one attempt and she was giving seven pounds to her rival. She also was running a distance that was more to her rival’s liking than her own.
 
The Breeders Cup Ladies Classic will be her fourth grade one attempt in a row. There she will face arguably the best Breeders Cup field that will be assembled this year. Three champions will await her along with at least four other grade one winning fillies. Should she beat that field, winning a total of three grade ones this year, taking down three champions, and beating her elders it would be hard to deny her Horse of the Year.
 
Again these are scenarios should the unexpected happen in the Classic, though I also feel these two should be in the voting for Horse of the Year, even if Game on Dude should win the Classic. Both have records worthy of consideration, and would have records arguably just as good or better than Game on Dude, or any other potential Classic winner.

Horse of the Year is not an award for just the male Classic horses. It should crown the horse that performed the best throughout the year and that accomplished most through the year. Both Point Of Entry and Questing have done enough to merit consideration. It’s time we broadened our minds and thought outside of just one division. Give every division its due. Give every division the respect it deserves.
 

 

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Older Comments about Horse of the Year Candidates...Outside the Classic Division....

sullivan, if you check the profile on my blog and the last name on this name you'll see they are the same. I am DeadHeat, this is just my FB login.
I could agree with Point of Entry for HOTY.
Point of Entry or Wise Dan for me, right now. The BC will tell me more.
Love and Pride has a very good record this year, there's no doubt about that, Dani. My point was that considering what Musical Romance's record looked like last year when she took home the award for Champion Female Sprinter, that you could not conceivably argue AGAINST Love and Pride for divisional honors because her record looks better than Musical Romance's did.
I was speaking to DeadHeat. The way you assumed I was speaking to you perhaps you are DeadHeat.
Icy, where did i say i discredit him for his races? I don't like that he has only raced four times, however up until he retired he had a full season at that point. He did run well, and I don't see another 3yr old running now that can overmatch what he has done. I'm not sure about HOTY, though he has done quite a bit and few have done more. The only horse i can think of that has is Point of Entry. Just as you can't blame him for not being around anymore, you cannot blame his competitors for not being able to race him, especially those in another division. Should a horse step up in his absence then that can't be held against them.
I agree icyhotboo. 100%
dani, it's just my opinion but I feel because so many of the good horses he beat aren't running now he does get forgotten. Those were exceptional races he ran, especially the SA and the Preakness I think was the best race run this year by a horse. have a nice day
Love and Pride actually does not have that bad of a record. Gets a lot of disrespect it would seem. In 8 starts she has finished first or second six times. She and Royal Delta stand 1 and 1 this year in two starts, same goes for her and It's Tricky. If she were to win the BCLC I could see divisional honors for her, having three grade one wins, five stakes wins total in 2012.
I agree icy, but its been so long since the preakness that people devalue IHA's wins.
The problem in taking the HOTY title from I'll Have Another is there isn't a horse worthy with more than 6 starts. He is 4 for 4 with 2 classics SA grade 1 and a grade 2. I know he's ranked sixth in the NTR Poll but I don't buy into that. He did it on the track. In any sport you have to beat the champ to be the champ and no one has done that.
Considering what Musical Romance's record looked like last year when she won an Eclipse Award, what do you think about Love and Pride taking home divisional honors? Horse of the Year honors? I'm not saying I would vote for her for HOTY, but if she wins the LC, that would give her 3 G1 wins for the year.
Wasnt there an article suggesting questing run in the BCC not the ladies classic?
I only see a couple fillies who could take it. I don't think Royal Delta, despite having a winning season would, just because she has just one grade one. It's Tricky only has one as well. Include Me Out could, already having two grade one wins. I'm just not just now sure how forgiving voters would be of that last start, even when considering she hasn't been worse than third this year. I named Questing because she has been brilliant like RD, but has done it in grade one races. MMA could, I wouldn't vote for her, for the same reason i wouldn't Acclamation. I'm not giving a horse with three starts in a year Horse of the Year, and i'm still iffy about a championship. I have the same belief towards Awesome Feather, who has yet to even win a grade one this year. It is a loaded field, with some very good very talented, very fast fillies. All capable of winning, all capable of running top races. I see only one that I'd give HOTY to if she were to win.
STILL a long way to go....a LONG way.
With the right credentials, any filly/mare that wins the Ladies Classic could conceivably take home Horse of the Year. Let me emphasize that I did say with the right credentials.
The big guns Ron The Greek, Fort Larned, To Honor And Serve lost it to I'll Have Another this past weekend and he'll get it.
Sullivan, I haven't ever ranked Margano, so to be honest if that shows on my page, I don't know how, since I rank very few horses. Never would I assign ones. I believe HDG was better than Acclamation, that is an opinion. You called Ron the Greek a west coast horse, which isn't true. Steve, the Woodbine Mile is a grade one, so he has won a grade one. Not sure if you missed that race or simply forgot. Should he win out this year he will either have two grade one wins or maybe three. Wise Dan has had a complete season Acclamation has not. I would not give the award to a horse that has run only 3 races in a single season. That is not enough for me. It is far from bias, since again if you didn't read my earlier statement he was my pick last year for both Older male and Turf Male. Please think twice before calling me bias, when you will actually see in a P/CP a while back I took Acclamation's side.
"Acclamation has not done enough this year. If he wins then the turf award goes to Wise Dan should he win whatever race he chooses to enter". So you're saying if Acclamation wins the BC Turf he won't win the Turf Championship? Even if, by some miracle, Wise Dan runs in and wins the Classic, having just one grade 1 win on turf in the U.S.(assuming he wins the Shadwell Turf Mile)? If that's not East Coast bias, it's certainly anti-West Coast bias. American Champion Turf/Horse Of The Year candidates shouldn't be building their resumes in Canada and Wise Dan has yet to win a grade 1 this year in the U.S., while Acclamation has two. I think award is between he and Point Of Entry because they've done the most on turf this year. As for Questing, whether or not the Ladies Classic field is actually stronger than the Classic is pure conjecture. I haven't seen any fillies that look like they could handle Game On Dude at 10 furlongs, especially at Santa Anita. At 8.5 furlongs I think Awesome Feather could beat him, but not 10. The most likely scenario I see is that Game On Dude wins the Classic and is named HOTY, or Game On Dude loses the Classic to someone like Fort Larned, Flat Out, or Ron The Greek while Questing wins the Ladies Classic, in which case voters will probably vote for I'll Have Another.
You ranked Margano a 1 and then ranked RA and Uncle Mo tens while Personal Ensign and Zenyatta got 9's... Personal Ensign could've kicked any of their butts. If she was alive she'd kick yours. Take your misinformed life out of racing and start anew: your favorite little Pletcher ponies aren't what the press thinks they are.

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