• Miss Sunset (3-1) grinds out the win over Chalon in the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes.Posted 2 days ago
  • Bonus Points (3-1) swings wide and draws clear to win the Maryland Million Classic.Posted 2 days ago
  • La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 9 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 9 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 9 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 12 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 15 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 15 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 15 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 15 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Eclipse Awards ... Part One

As I mentioned in my last blog, the Breeders Cup did its job in some areas, producing year end champions after the very best were pitted together and one reigned supreme. However, in other areas it muddled an already fuzzy picture even more. So, what do we do? What horses are champions? Some are easy to crown and other divisions still are left with many fighting to take charge.

One of the easier divisions to crown is the Juvenile Filly. My Miss Aurelia left no doubt in anyone’s mind that she is without a doubt the best two year old filly this year. She is a perfect four for four, and of those she won the Adirondack, Frizette, and Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. Two of those stakes were grade ones and the other was a grade two. In the latter race, she beat the top fillies Wemissfrankie and Grace Hall, both fillies were also unbeaten. In this division she left no doubt of her dominance. My Miss Aurelia is your Eclipse Champion Two-Year Old Filly.

One would only think that after the win Hansen pulled off in the Breeders Cup Juvenile that he would your champion two year old. He’s unbeaten in three starts and considering the class hikes he took in each of his starts after his maiden it is an amazing feat. He also beat Creative Cause and Union Rags, the two most highly regarded juveniles in the country, so you would think he’s your champion, right? Nope, that may just be wrong. After a wide journey and running greenly down the stretch the Saratoga Special/Champagne victor, Union Rags still garners much support. Being that he only came up a head short many believe he was much the best and still deserves the Award. However, while I can see him winning and would not be crushed if he does, I still firmly believe that it is Hansen who should be your Eclipse Champion two-year-old.

The Turf award is another that is very up in the air, after both top contenders failed to make it to the Breeders Cup when found injured.  Goldikova had a shot to steal the show off of one race, but she finished third, falling short of a historic fourth consecutive Breeders Cup Mile. Now it comes to Acclamation, winner of five consecutive graded stakes wins, three were consecutive grade ones that are sandwiched between two grade two wins and a grade three. Or….Cape Blanco, winner of three consecutive Grade ones, all of which he traveled over from Ireland and back. He is unbeaten in America and considering all the traveling and the fact he was running injured in his final grade one, speaks volumes. However, to this writer, it does not speak enough. Acclamation should be your Champion Turf horse.

Royal Delta blew everyone away in the Breeders Cup Ladies Classic. She beat the rest of her three year old filly counterparts. She did the same thing at Saratoga in the Alabama, so the score for her this year vs Plum Pretty and Its Tricky stand 2-1 in favor of the regal daughter of Empire Maker. Royal Delta is you Champion three-year-old Filly.

The three year old male award is still very up in the air, unlike its filly flipside. In fact right now everything is so up in the air I cannot even narrow it down to a specific top three. Animal Kingdom will probably be nominated, even though his only big win was the Kentucky Derby. My top three, however, would be Caleb’s Posse, Shackleford and Stay Thirsty. Shackleford has done a lot this season, but it has been more placing than winning, and you need to win to win an Eclipse. Stay Thirsty has had some nice races, but all in New York. The Travers, Jim Dandy, and third in the Gold Cup says a lot, but non efforts in the Derby, Florida Derby and Classic. Caleb’s Posse has shown that his niche is sprinting, and in doing so he has beaten some of the best horses that were in training this year. Among his fallen foes are The Factor, Shackleford, and Uncle Mo. He has five stakes wins, two grade one wins, and is unbeaten while sprinting. Yes, he is a sprinter, but he has risen to the top of his class. Caleb’s Posse is your Champion three-year-old.

Now, before I lose everybody’s interest I’ll go ahead and save the rest of the divisions for another day. I hope this helps to clear up some of those muddled looking divisions, but something tells me I may have made things even tougher … oops.


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Older Comments about Eclipse Awards ... Part One...

the only top notch horse that cape blanco beat this season was a declining gio ponti.
Craig, Poly is far from what I call a neutral surface. I don't typically see a dirt horse relishing that type of surface. The Cushion is the most dirt like of all the syns and that is the on he ran on. Poly is quirky, even some turf horses have trouble with that surface. However, he did beat a very game multi surface threat in Candy.
The Dude is Game, and he deserves it. I wish Drosselmeyer could at least be considered, but he only "woke up" in the last two races he has run. HDG is awesome too, but she was beaten fair and square in the Classic.
try this angle. acclamation, a turf horse, blows the doors off one of america's best dirt horses, game on dude, on a neutral surface, poly, in the pc at del mar. in turn, game on dude, thoroughly beats the other hoy candidates, flat out and grace, in the classic. it's gotta be either acclamation, or game on dude as hoy based on head-to-head meetings. and with acclamation thoroughly beating god, acclamation gets hoy. i don't think that cape blanco would have fared any better on dirt than acclamation, or so you think, for that matter.
To win Horse of the Year on has to have met the BEST in the BEST and defeated many of the best...This horse was on the lawn...That doesn't hel
  • DeadHeat · I said best turf horse, not Horse of the Year. I haven't even posted who i believe should be that yet. · 2175 days ago
"Being that he only came up a head short many believe he was much the best and still deserves the Award." People believe he was "much the best"??? Really? If he was "much the best", wouldn't he have won DESPITE the trouble? How many horses that ran on the dirt on Saturday wired the field while running on the rail? That's right.....ONE! Hansen. Racing wide was hardly the major detriment everyone thinks it was absed on the condition of the track. Union Rags obviously had the worse trip.....but I'm not buying the "much the best" line. To me horses that are MUCH the best win DESPITE trouble, like Invasor in the Donn, or Afleet Alex in The Preakness.
  • JohnByrd · Like you say, UR may have had the worst trip, but Hansen took matters into his own hands, and made a great trip. · 2175 days ago
Wes, read before you write, I said five STAKES, 3 GRADE ONES. He is going for the Turf, Charles Town was on dirt. The other was at a distance much shorter than he liked. I'm pretty sure that if you asked Cape to go a mile he would have lost too.
Acclamation: 7 starts 5 in the money 2 off the board 3 (not five) Grade 1 wins CWittingham, Eddie Read, Pac Classic 2 Grade 2 wins Hirsch and Jim Murray Off the board 5th in F Kilroe Mile finishing behind horses named fluke Jeranimo and Times Gone by. Finishing last in the Grade 3 Charles Town Classic behind, Game on Dude, Tizway, Tacklebery, Gone Astray, Inherit the Gold, No advantage and Rule. Cape Blanco 3 for 3 in America Winner of the G1 Man O War, Arlington Million and Joe Hirsch. Won the top 3 Turf races in the United States and did so impressively against the Best Runners the US has to offer, ever ducking not one time. All 3 races far outweigh the turf races that Acclamation ran in. Consensus Cape Blanco Hands down Eclipse award Turf winner Acclamation distant Second. Hard to Win HOY when unable to win your own division Championship.
Havre de Grace easily wins Horse of the year, and older female. This is an easy one, Havre de Grace. No one comes close to matching her stats. Earnings per start $231,857. 5 Graded Stakes wins, 3 of those Grade 1. 6x Graded Stakes place, and a very good 4th in the BC Classic against the boys. Looking at... who she beat:She beat Blind Luck by over 3 lengths, beat Flat Out and the boys in the Woodward, beat Royal Delta, who won the ladies Classic by over EIGHT lengths.
gocash, I'm not one of those who believe he was much the best. Stand by and you'll get to read why ;)
Micheal Veitch at the Saratogan still believe the mare will take top honors.http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2011/11/05/sports/doc4eb5f8cb28852146108584.txt?viewmode=fullstory
Cape Blanco should be champion turf horse, but what about My Miss Aurelia pulling off a Favorite Trick & getting HOY honors as a 2 year old. I'm leaning toward Game on Dude, but I don't think she's out of the conversation.
Afree with your picks except the Turf. Acclamation should have went to Arlington to face Cape Blanco in the Million istead of staying in California to face lesser opponents. Cape should get the award!
spoke to a DRF columnist and he does not know how to vote
Brian, I'm trying to stave off horse of they year, blog wise for a couple of weeks. It's such a mess right now that it gives me a headache, no pun on the horse intended, just trying to debate in my own head whose merits are better. Mike, I haven't checked, but I don't remember the last time a 3yr old male winner only had one grade win to his credit, Derby or not. That is the same reason I don't think Thirsty or Shack may not get it. Like AK they placed in some nice races, but you need to do more winning. Ramon, Shack is another First Dude this year, and eclipse voters don't give awards for second best.
I agree with all your picks except for maybe the 3 year old male. Caleb's Posse would be a good winner, but I think Animal Kingdom will get a lot of votes. He won the big one, the Kentucky Derby counts for a lot in 3 year old racing,especialy
Considering the Pacific Classic win for Acclamation, and all the big turf wins for Cape Blanco ... is it possible that Acclamation gets Horse of the Year, but Cape Blanco wins Champion Turf Horse?
SHACK should win 3yo honors!!!
Ann chances are that she won't. She never beat males, needed a weight advantage to win the Del Cap and her record pales in comparison to Graces this year, overall. People will also look at the fact that out of two matches this year the record was 1-1. With it standing equal it goes to who had the better year. That would be Grace.
It still could be Blind Luck for female.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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