Eclipse Awards voters missed the mark by passing on Rushing Fall

January 26, 2018 06:30am

I will get right to the point of this piece: Rushing Fall, the winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, was robbed at Thursday night's Eclipse Awards. She clearly had not only a stellar season, but a better one than the champion 2-year-old filly recipient Caledonia Road, who won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Rushing Fall, the daughter of More Than Ready, won all three of her starts. The filly debuted at Belmont Park on Sept. 16 going one mile on the turf. The filly she beat that day, Daddy is a Legend, came back to break her maiden and then win the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar. Rushing Fall made her next start at Keeneland in the Grade 3 Jessamine Stakes. Once again, she lived up to her name, breezing by the field in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Stainless and Cash Out. Cash Out came back to finish third in the Grade 2 Golden Rod on the dirt. 

Finally, in her third start of 2017, Rushing Fall won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at odds of 3-1 over Best Performance and September. Best Performance had finished second in four other stakes, including two graded stakes, the Grade 3 Schuylerville and the Grade 3 Miss Grillo. September, on the other hand, had competed solely overseas and placed in three stakes races, including two Group 1 races.

However, the Eclipse Awards once again showed that in America, dirt trumps turf. Unless the award is specifically for dirt or turf, dirt seemingly always reigns superior. 

Caledonia Road, a daughter of Quality Road, won on debut Sept. 3 at Saratoga at odds of 10-1. The filly that came in second, Mockery, has yet to win a race. The third-place horse, Indy Union, broke her maiden but not before finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo. After that maiden win, Indy Union finished sixth in the Grade Two Demoiselle Stakes.

In her second start, Caledonia Road took on graded stakes company, finishing second in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes to Separationofpowers. Separationofpowers went on to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and finished fourth. The horse in third, Maya Malibu, finished 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Caledonia Road defeated these horses in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at odds of 17-1. The favorite for the race, Princess Warrior, finished 7th, nine lengths back from Caledonia Road.

With her win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Caledonia Road became the winter book favorite for the Kentucky Oaks -- on dirt. 

Year after year, the Eclipse Awards show that some horses are voted for simply because of the surface they run on, not the record they produce. Some horses are viewed as superior, even when their record isn't.

This is not the first time a Chad Brown-trained turf horse has been robbed of an honor she deserved. For example, in 2014, you had Lady Eli versus Take Charge Brandi. Take Charge Brandi was voted champion after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at odds of 62-1. Take Charge Brandi had four wins, one second, and three off-the-board finishes in graded stakes company. However, Lady Eli went 3-for-3 with her maiden win, the Grade 3 Miss Grillo, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. 

At Thursday's Eclipse Awards, history repeated itself.


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Meet Casey Laughter

I have loved horses for as long as I can remember, starting when Funny Cide crossed the wire in the 2003 Kentucky Derby. Thanks to my Dad, I now consume every ounce of thoroughbred literature I can.

When I am not stuffing my brain with pedigrees, I spend my free time with my fiancé, Daniel, and our dog, a Boxer mix named Piper. I enjoy hiking, reading, canoeing, and just relaxing.

In addition to Horse Racing Nation, for which I've shot numerous events, including the 2018 Kentucky Derby, I work for Bella Baby Photography, as well as a blog on my own platform.

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