But I thought Wise Dan was best horse in American on any surface. LOL, come on! This is a joke. Ducking the Breeders Cup Classic in favor of the easier spot will pretty much guarantee zero Eclipse Awards for Wise Dan this year and deservedly so.
So if Game On Dude wins the Classic and Wise Dan wins the Mile then Wise Dan is HOTY? That seems highly unlikely. Even if Wise Dan won the Mile by 30 lengths in stakes record time I still don't see him getting HOTY, should Dude win the Classic. Even if Dude loses the Classic, Wise Dan would still have an uphill battle against I'll Have Another, who's resume still remains the strongest so far.
Strange that Include Me Out has been excluded from your latest poll. I still think she has a tremendous chance in the Ladies Classic. With the likes of Questing, Love And Pride, and Awesome Feather all going to the front, the race could set up nicely if Include Me Out can track the leaders. Though it may not seem like much, 9 furlongs is a different ballgame than 8.5 and I think Include Me Out will fire her A race in the Ladies Classic. There's no better setting than the Breeders Cup to find a bargain price on a horse, and 12-1 on Include Me Out is far more than a bargain, it's a steal!
"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.
It's ironic that in an industry that's supposedly so geared towards breeding for speed, the Sprint Division is perhaps the least celebrated. I think Dr. Fager was the last sprinter to win HOTY, but that was after he ran train in every other division.
There are simply too many horses who haven't done enough this year. The only race Dullahan will have a chance in will be the BC Mile. With a win in the Breeders Cup Turf either Acclamation or Point Of Entry would have a strong case. If Ron The Greek wins he'll be HOTY, but I'm not so sure about Fort Larned. If he wins the Classic he'd probably lose out to I'll Have Another, who is still the front runner for the award. Same goes for Questing, unless she wins the Classic. Game On Dude is the clear standout in the older male division, in both his ability and resume, so I'm not sure who's "done more than he has". He looked better yesterday than usual, which could have something to do with Bejarano. He seemed more relaxed and fired when Rafael asked him. This comes as no surprise since Bejarano knows the horse well. With these adjustments made and the Classic being at Santa Anita this year, where he is now 5 for 5, Game On Dude is absolutely the horse to beat in the Classic this year. He's coming into this race better than he did last year, where he still ran extremely well despite the tiring track. The only horse who may be dangerous is To Honor And Serve, whose effort in the Woodward IMO was deceptively handy. But again, if he wins the Classic then I'll Have Another is HOTY, which is a scenario that's becoming more and more likely. I do agree with the message though of "Give every division its due
The only thing "historic" about Curlin's 2008 campaign was becoming the richest horse in history, which was largely inflated by his win in the Dubai World Cup. He beat nobodies(most notably Wanderin Boy) and lost the Breeders Cup. Zenyatta was 7 for 7 in 2008, with 3 grade 2s and 4 grade 1s(twice beating champion Ginger Punch), including the Breeders Cup Distaff. Curlin's U.S. resume was clearly weaker, with 5 wins in 7 starts, 3 grade 1s(and no Breeders Cup win). If there was no bias in that HOTY voting, then I don't know how else it ended up being so skewed towards Curlin. "The award(s) goes to the best and who dominated and accomplished the most". Perhaps if voters went by this criteria, Zenyatta would've been Horse Of The Year on 2008. My feeling is that they let bias get the better of them.
Dani, I call a mile a route and just because the race is one turn doesn't make it a sprint, unless every Breeders Cup Classic winner at Belmont is actually a sprinter as well. If the Dirt Mile deserves its own division, then so does the Marathon, the Turf Sprint, Juvenile Sprint, Juvenile Turf...etc. Many of these races were created as an opportunity for horses to get their Breeders Cuo win in a race type they specialize in. Horses who are true sprinters will tend to run in the BC Sprint. Horses who can't handle the pace intensity of the Breeders Cup Sprint will hide in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Caleb's Posse was unbeaten sprinting in 2011, but not against America's top sprinters. When comparing their big wins for the year, Amazombie won two open grade 1 sprints, while Caleb's Posse won one restricted grade 1 sprint and one open grade 1 route. In terms of Sprint Championship qualifications, this should've been a clear cut decision. And I don't deny that I harbor some bias towards my home state. But I am not a turf writer and therefore am not professionally obligated to be objective. Anyone who blogs has some level of subjectivity, for "to blog" essentially means "to opine publicly via the internet". In regards to I'll Have Another, I think if the voting were held today he would be Horse Of The Year. I don't believe wins in restricted company should be counted against an Eclipse Award contender, unless in the event of a tie breaker. If, for instance, Game On Dude were to win the Awesome Again Stakes and the Breeders Cup Classic, I would say he deserves Horse Of The Year since each would have won 3 grade 1s, but one horse did so in open company. And once again, I said "It's Tricky specializes in one-turn races". Nowhere did I say "only one-turn races". She can do both, but has been more impressive to me going one-turn as opposed to two. Regardless, It's Tricky's resume, as of yet, hasn't been as impressive as Include Me Out's.
The fact that Caleb's Posse was even considered for last year's sprint championship proves my point. That should've been a unanimous decision. The one actual grade 1 sprint CP won in 2011 was the King's Bishop, which is restricted to 3 year olds. His other grade 1 win came in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile...not a sprint. Amazombie won two real grade 1 sprints against fields of the fastest sprinters in the world. And I didn't say It's Tricky couldn't win around two turns, she obviously can, but she has a knack for one-turn races. I'm not convinced she can take on the best going two turns.
Just because recently turf writers have had no choice but to acknowledge the greatness of the California contingent doesn't mean that historically they haven't been biased towards East Coast horses. "2009, Lookin at Lucky and Zenyatta brought home Eclipse awards. That is not a bias". No, that's not a bias, but who else would they have voted for? In their respective divisions, those were clear standouts. "Right there you have a Horse of the Year and three champions, surrounded by two multiple grade one winners. No filly or mare in the West has a resume that can even come close to that". You're right, no single filly or mare out west has a resume better than all the mares you listed combined. But that's not a fair comparison. When you compare individual resumes, Include Me Out stands out in this group. This year, Include Me Out has 4 wins this year against older females with two of them being grade 1s, the fillies you listed don't near the same resume for the year. Royal Delta has yet to win a grade 1 this year, It's Tricky specializes in one-turn races, Questing has only beaten 3 year olds, My Miss Aurelia only beat Questing after being given 7lbs, and Awesome Feather has two wins this year in non-graded stakes(don't get me wrong, I believe Awesome Feather could very well be the best filly in training, but her resume simply doesn't stack up). So, given her superior resume, how can Include Me Out be ranked behind any of these fillies for any reason except some sort of bias? She appears to be the clear cut division leader. And while we're at it, how can Game On Dude, the Hollywood Gold Cup winner, be ranked behind Wise Dan, whose claim to fame this year is winning a mile turf race in Canada. Heck, how is Wise Dan ahead of Acclamation, who has two grade 1 wins, with both coming in the U.S.? Why isn't Ron The Greek ahead of Wise Dan? He has 2 grade 1s this year and has actually beaten Wise Dan. My point is that it's clear that NTRA polls don't often make sense, which is why Ron Ellis may have a valid point here.
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