Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

Game On Dude controls his Horse of the Year destiny

Game On Dude Gold Cup 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers


In the always much debated Horse of the Year race, Game On Dude, Princess of Sylmar, and Wise Dan may be the three horses that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack, but there is only one horse that controls his own destiny, and his name is Game On Dude. I believe that the scenarios for what can happen at the Breeders’ Cup, and how they will decide the Horse of the Year, are quite simple if one or more of the three win at Santa Anita. 


Scenario #1 - If Game On Dude wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he is Horse of the Year. End of discussion.


Scenario #2 - If Game On Dude loses the Classic, and Princess of Sylmar wins the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, then Princess of Sylmar is Horse of the Year. Another win over Royal Delta, Beholder, and Close Hatches would trump anything Wise Dan could do in the Mile.


Scenario #3 - If Game On Dude and Princess of Sylmar both lose at the Breeders’ Cup, then Wise Dan becomes the repeat winner of the Horse of the Year with another win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.


Many would argue the order of two and three, but I stand by the horse who has run in more important races this year. 


Now if Game On Dude, Princess of Sylmar, and Wise Dan all lose at the Breeders’ Cup, which is certainly not out of the realm of possibility, then the whole thing becomes more of a crapshoot. I do believe, however, that it could be as simple as this…


Scenario #4 - If Game On Dude, Princess of Sylmar, and Wise Dan all lose at the Breeders’ Cup, then a Breeders’ Cup Classic win, capping an undefeated season, would push Graydar to the top of the 2013 heap. 


Scenario #5 - If Game On Dude, Princess of Sylmar, and Wise Dan all lose at the Breeders’ Cup, then Ron the Greek would ride the wave of a late season rush that includes a huge win in the prestigious Jockey Club Gold Cup, and become the Horse of the Year with a Breeders’ Cup Classic win. 


Scenario #6 - If Game On Dude, Princess of Sylmar, Wise Dan, Graydar, and Ron the Greek are all beaten at the Breeders’ Cup, then I believe the Horse of the Year award reverts back to the current leader, Game On Dude. 


So, not only is Game On Dude the only horse that controls his own destiny in the Horse of the Year race, but he is also the only won that can win the award after losing at the World Championships. That’s what a perfect five-for-five record, including dominating wins in the San Antonio, Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic, as well as, a trip east to win the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic, will do for you. 




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Older Comments about Game On Dude controls his Horse of the Year destiny...

Hey tom. You know it. The competition this year is rough. I'll be thrilled if Big Will powers in at 2nd place.
Man,sure don't take much to get a compliment out of you(LOL) .Would you settle for 2nd place right now?
furlonger!!! I sense Brilliance!!!
Pace horses tend to get better ON THE PACE as they mature as they can relegate energy further
Winner of Classic - - " Will Take Charge ".
Don't necessarily agree with the Dude scenarios. If the Dude wins the Classic, but the Princess wins by a more impressive huge margin in the Distaff, then I can see the East Coast Eclipse voters all voting for the Princess. If I recall from a few years ago, over 60% of the Eclipse voters are based in the East Coast so I can't see them voting for the Dude if he loses, even if the other top contenders all lose. As long as HOY is not based on a point system, it will always be biased towards the East Coast.
Was thinking about that. I think then we look at POS
Should the unimaginable happen and Ron The Greek win the BCC (which if he's on his game it could happen) he may not have the most wins, would have more losses, but would also have the three best wins in steep grade 1 company this year on dirt. Fastest too, at the classic N/A distance.
Excuse me...already favor Game On Dude...http://www.sbnation.com/odds/2013/10/17/4847742/breeders-cup-classic-odds-favor-game-on-dude
Game On Dude could miss the BC Classic, retire, and still be the HOTY. Odds just out already favor him...
I could not agree with you more RuffianLover. The Princess has already proved to be the best 3 yo in the land.Male or female.She has accomplished more.She also defeated a Champion.
PM winning or Wtc winning HOTY over princess wise Dan or game on dude would be a joke and a shot in the groin to the sport
Isn't it iroic then that the who won it last year, and was stationed "east of the missippi" got a grand total of 0 awards ? Thats a tired arguement.
If Game on Dude wins the Classic and is not Horse of the Year, they should change the award to Horse of the Year Who Raced East of the Mississippi.
I am not sure he is going to win, but I hope the Dude wins he deserves it. Win or lose I have no doubt this year he will run valiantly... draw a line through last years classic
Why has everybody suddenly forgotten about Palace Malice? If those three lose their races but PM wins the Classic, then he would be a fair choice.
  • Easy lGoer · with 3 wins on the year there is no way I could give it to him over the princess. By that logic you would have to say the same about WTC. · 1496 days ago
I think Frankel should be HOTY ;)
Money or no money, not getting HOTY would still sting.
That being said, I'm rooting for Princess. We Pennsylvanians gotta stick together :).

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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