Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

The Kentucky Derby is Restricted? C’mon Man!

I'll Have Another wins the 2012 Kentucky Derby
I’ve had a splinter underneath my fingernail for the past few days, and today is the day I pull it out … If one more person says the reason that I’ll Have Another should not be considered a legitimate Horse of the Year winner is because he only ran in “restricted” races, I might blow. Sure, by strict definition the Kentucky Derby is "restricted" to three-year-olds, but calling the Kentucky Derby restricted is like calling the Super Bowl restricted because it is only for football teams. The Kentucky Derby is not restricted!
How can I say this when the fine print clearly states that the Run for the Roses only allows for three-year-olds to run? Simple; the Kentucky Derby is the one race that everyone wants to win. From the owner to the groom, from the trainer to the jockey … winning the Derby is the dream. 
Look at it this way: When a thoroughbred is born, the ultimate hope instantly becomes winning on the first Saturday in May. It doesn’t matter if the horse is regally bred or bargain basement, from Kentucky or Oklahoma, or even a colt or a filly. That horse and their connections have approximately three years to see if they have what it takes to win the Derby, and nothing else would be quite as good. Because of this, I say the Kentucky Derby is the least restricted race in America.
Did I’ll Have Another win only against three-year-olds this year? Absolutely, but he also won the most important race. The Kentucky Derby is the most important race, considering all facets, just ask anyone in the industry. He also won three other stakes races, including two grade 1 stakes, and the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, without a loss.
Do I think I’ll Have Another will be, or should be, Horse of the Year? That remains to be seen, and the Breeders’ Cup results will rightfully have a big say in the answer, but I cannot stress enough that running in “restricted” races, like the American Triple Crown, should not be the reason he does not … see Seattle Slew.
Now if you want to argue that a horse who only ran four times, or ran only in the first half of the year, should not be awarded Horse of the Year, that is an argument that holds more validity, but is another debate for another day.


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Older Comments about The Kentucky Derby is Restricted? C’mon Man!...

There have been a few more besides Goldikova. For example, last year Cape Blanco came over from Europe and put a beat down on our turf horses, going 3 for 3 (all in G1 races) while here and was voted Male Turf Champion. But I like your spirit, even if I don't necessarily agree with all of it.
Ah, guess it was wishful thinking, We never get any of the great Euro's to come here, EXCEPT for Goldikova. Don't change the fact that I'll Have Another is not "our" horse anymore, why waste the honors? Besides, I'll bet IHA would like to kick Redham upside his head, the horse wouldn't want us to reward him for being a dick, just sayin' ***
On second thought IHA brings back memories of gold which are rare these days.
He should get the 3yo HOTY award but HOTY is up in the air, Fort Larned should he win out the season including the classic is the one for me.
Agree. There's no way around it, I'll Have Another stands out as a legitimate HOY contender. Remember, he became the first Santa Anita Derby winner to wear the roses since Sunday Silence in ‘89. That is a pretty tough test and he nailed it. If that didn’t prove his value then think about his performance in the Preakness Stakes, a drop in distance that he wasn’t supposed to handle as well. But again, he nailed it in the stretch. Great horses finish at the wire better than other and IHA was that kind of horse.
Frankel has not raced in the U.S., so he's not even eligible for any of our Eclipse Awards, Karen. As for giving Eclipse awards to foreign horses, Goldikova twice won the Eclipse Award for Champion Female Turf Horse.
I'll Have Another is a Japanese horse now. Want to give the award to a foreign investment? How about Frankel? I'd like to see horse of the year go to a horse who actually SURVIVED the year. A true blueblood survivor would be Paynter, if he pulls through all this with a clean bill of health. I loved IHA, but Redham doesn't deserve another feather in his cap.
He was not undefeated , he was undefeated in 2012. He was beaten twice I believe as a 2 year old. The arguenent that he has only beaten sub-par horses is also a null point. He beat Dullahan - who beat the 4 year olds. I would never consider Dullahan one of the better horses, that just add more validity to IHAs tallent. Yes he broken down, and that is a dark mark .. but come on, he should get the horse of the year with out question.
@Brian - At this point, IHA have my vote. About Restricted races, just about every horse race in the US have restriction. But "Restricted" race has its own definition which I don't agree with but that is just my opinion.
had this horse not been injured, i believe he would have had one of the best chances to win the TC. does he deserve horse of the year.? absolutely.
I agree with this.
thanks Brian for saying what I think!
What about the trainer of IHA having a significant drug usage suspension and a high rate of breakdowns......And the four starts? I guess IHA will win 3yo of 2012 but WISE DAN is a much better HOY CANDIDATE inmy mind.
  • Armada · What does his trainer have to do with this? This is about IHA, who was not on drugs. Idk how many times that has to be said. · 1949 days ago
thank you Brian for saying what I feel!
Not that Union Rags and Dullahan aren't nice, UR's Belmont just didn't inspire much and Dullahan kinda sucks on dirt.
Who really cares what races he won, lets look at the horses he beat and some of what they did after. Three from the triple crown races have come back with grade 1 wins, Union Rags- retired, Alpha- Travers deadheat, and Dullahan- Pacific Classic on sythetics against older horses. Below that Trinniberg has a Gr2 sprint to his name, Teeth of the Dog a Gr2. Hansen and Prospective have captured Gr3 events, along with Cozzetti winning a Gr3 on turf. Finally, Optimizer got an allowance win on the grass. The only horse I'll Have Another beat that came back to do much of note is Alpha. At this point I would still lean towards I'll Have another for 3yo male though.
  • digidot · Not that Union Rags and Dullahan aren't nice, UR's Belmont just didn't inspire much and Dullahan kinda sucks on dirt. · 1949 days ago
Not sure I follow that, digidot ... didn't Union Rags win the Belmont, and Dullahan win the Pacific Classic?
Totally agree with you Zipse!
If Ron the Greek can win the JCGC and the Classic, then that's a lock down, but aside from that, IHA has the best record thus far.
If had to vote right now for HOY, there is absolutely no question that IHA would receive my vote. He has won more grade ones, on different tracks, on the East Coast and the West Coast, than any other horse, including two of the MOST prestigious races in North America. I do not see a horse having a sweeping end of the year that will result in a better body of work than what IHA had in the first half of the year. A solo win in the Classic is not going to be enough. You can get 8-1 on IHA to win the HOY at online sports books and I think that is a great bet!

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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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