Accelerate has beaten Arrogate before...unlikely to happen again. But he should get second.
Nice pics! I hope you submitted that one of Oso Ready for Eclipse consideration - it's fantastic!
What a mare for the ages is Beholder. Although I must correct you: she and Stellar Wind split decisions this year, with Stellar Wind edging her in the Clement Hirsch and Zenyatta while Beholder beat her handily in the BC Distaff and Vanity Mile. That alone should decide it (BC Distaff biggest race of the year after all) but add in Beholder's strong second in the Pacific Classic and there is no contest.
Yes, she technically meets the criterion but she didn't run in any American stakes or face any American fillies. She was champion in Europe, where she raced, which seems fair to me. I think the Eclipse rules should be amended to say that a horse needs to win a G1 race in America to be considered, or at least a graded stakes race. If I were voting, this is the personal criterion I would use and I can only think of three instances off the top of my head where a horse voted champion wouldn't be eligible, based on it (La Verdad, Benny the Bull, and Smoke Glacken).
Nice article, and I agree with almost everything you said except...how can you decry someone voting for Frankel for HOTY but then say you'd vote for Lady Aurelia for 2yo filly? She only ran a single race here, and it was a maiden! Champagne Room is certainly near the bottom on the list of 2yo filly champions of the last couple decades but the fact is she won the biggest race of the year fairly, as well as another graded stakes. New Money Honey simply wasn't impressive enough to overcome a dirt bias. I would also vote for Finest City (won biggest race, consistent all year; despite the fact that my heart is with Haveyougoneaway), Drefong (won two huge races in division impressively, faced best competition overall), and Highland Reel (ran Flintshire off his feet in the BC Turf, simply a better horse. If Flintshire had won the Joe Hirsch I'd give it to him but he choked twice). But I think the cases you make for their rivals are totally arguable.
I also don't agree that you should not be allowed to abstain; as a voter I would use an abstention to signal that I did not think a horse put together a season worthy of the championship.
Juddmonte is playing the smart game because they hold all the cards, as opposed to the 8 or so people who have a spot but no horse. There will be a bidding war between them to get rid of those final spots in the last week or two. What's gonna look better: taking a $500K+ loss to sell your spot to Juddmonte or someone else or getting stuck with "a portion of handle" for a race that will have a 1-20 favorite if only Chrome goes and dismal handle and taking an $800K+ loss?
You can add Neolithic as possible after a nice Gulf allowance win this week.
Good article Scott - I agree on all counts. Another reason: she's on an upswing. Her last 3 races have been progressively faster and three of her best, on numbers. She is my favorite horse in training and I'll be very sad to see her go but I have confidence she can give us a finale to remember.
I think the only one who can is Arrogate. Frosted just isn't good enough and is better in NY, like most of McLaughlin's horses. But I think Chrome will win as well.
Maybe the best Distaff field or close, but 3 champions is not unprecedented. Royal Delta (winner), My Miss Aurelia and Awesome Feather all lined up together in 2012(?).
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