Race of the Week 2017

The Day after Breeders' Cup: Eclipse Award Picks

Groupie Doll wins her second Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Photo: Don August


Suffering from Breeders' Cup hangover, and a little bit jet-lagged, I've decided to leave some serious writing about the World Championships off until tomorrow. For now, please take in my estimations on how the Breeders' Cup results likely decided each Eclipse Award category, and as always, don't be shy about telling me where and why I went wrong.


Champion two-year-old maleNew Year's Day - Yes, I like Honor Code better as well, but this one won the race you need to win.


Champion two-year-old filly: She's A Tiger - She's fast, she's brave, and she was screwed out of a Breeders' Cup victory.


Champion three-year-old maleWill Take Charge - Any lingering doubts about whether or not he had developed into the best three-year-old male, were put to bed in classic fashion.


Champion three-year-old fillyBeholder - I love Princess of Sylmar, but I'm afraid that the fleet footed Californian stole her championship in the time it took her to win the Distaff.


Champion older maleMucho Macho Man - I've said it before, and I will likely say it again ... I want to be a Mucho Macho Man!


Champion older female: Royal Delta - She may have have gone out like a lamb, but she showed enough lioness this year to win another championship.


Champion male sprinter:  Secret Circle -  Only two races ... Am I crazy? I'll answer that with another question ... Do you have a better idea?


Champion female sprinterGroupie Doll - Mizdirection may have a serious beef here, but in America, dirt trumps turf. I'll take the Doll.


Champion turf male:  Wise Dan - Do I need to explain this?


Champion turf female: Dank - I think the American turf mares would be more than happy never to see this Euro monster again.


Horse of the YearWise Dan - Two years in a row for the fantastic gelding. He's the best American miler we've seen in a long time.



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Older Comments about The Day after Breeders' Cup: Eclipse Award Picks...

I'm as much of a Princess of Sylmar fan as anybody, but let's face it, a 6th place finish does her in. Even though Beholder has not won this year on any track other than Santa Anita, she has not finished any worse than 2nd in any race, and the first 2nd place was in a sprint after a break. You can also point out that Beholder finished ahead of the other double grade one winner of the class, Close Hatches, both times they faced while Princess is only one out of three. So unless Beholder does something before the end of the year to mess up her record I would give her the edge.
really beholder has never won at any other track besides a maiden win at delmar than santa anita.all that princess of sylmar has done this year . she took the heart out of royal delta and how many of one of the best kentucky oaks field ever didn't come back. a kentucky oaks win ,cca oaks win alabama win and a beldame win come on guy it's not the horse of the year at her own track but what you've done all season.
I think Goldencents should be 3yo male. He won against older horses, and Palace Malice and Will Take Charge didn't. There was NO speed bias in the mile because Golden Ticket closed like a maniac. Goldencents has two G1s (so does Orb) to the others' one. I don't think we should dismiss him because it wasn't a mile and a quarter race where he beat older horses.
  • Show All 4 Comments
  • https://www.facebook.com/kyndle.fischer · Yes Annie, who did he beat? the winners of 20 combined graded stakes? That's great, the Classic had nearly twice that. And all those seemingly impressive stats you list fall apart under closer inspection. The 2012 Travers proved to be a very weak field with only two of the field they beat going on to win since, in lesser stakes. The 2013 Haskell, Wood Memorial and Tampa bay derby (G-2) were all won by the same horse, Verrazano who beat subpar field in each of those races (where are they now? what have they done since?) The woodward, won by the very inconsistent Alpha was his only win this year with a record of 7-1-0-0, who was distanced in his subsequent races and he was sent off the second longest shot on the board in the dirt mile, a good indication of his class. And The 2012 Donn Handicap won by Hymn Book who never won in graded stakes company after and is winless this year. Golden Ticket who dead heated with Alpha in the 2012 Travers has only managed two optional claiming wins and a non graded stakes win since. Sometimes you have to look a little deeper to gauge a horses class and Goldencents hasn't beat anyone impressive yet. There's no way hes even in consideration for champion 3yo so im confused as to why you are arguing his case to me. Hes a very good second tier regional horse. · 1478 days ago
  • https://www.facebook.com/kyndle.fischer · And a side note to annies explanation of the quality of the dirt mile field with its 20 combined stakes victories, the combined total earnings for that field was 9.5 mil, the combined earnings for the Classic was 26 mil. The Distaff with half the field of the dirt mile still had more earnings with 10.2 mil.. It is the breeders cup so stakes winners are expected but it's very obvious it was a second tier field. · 1477 days ago
Champion 3 YO Male...Will take Charge? HUH??? Love him but Goldencents and Orb have 2 Gl wins each...He only has one! Goldencents won SA Derby and BC Mile. Orb won FL Derby and KY Derby. Goldencents place in two other Gl races and placed in a G2. Orb had a 3rd in Travers and Belmont. His credentials put him in the third spot in by my calculations!
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  • annieoakley · Really Natasha…an OK horse? WOW…never heard of a world champion, multiple Gl winner and multiple Gl placed horse referred to as an “OK” horse. He won the Gl SA Derby and was just crowned world champion in the BC Dirt Mile (also a Gl). Won the Sham stakes and was 2nd in the Gl Bing Crosby, 2nd in the SA Sprint Championship which is also a Gl and the Gll Pat O’Brien! BTW…you might want to watch his race in the SA S Championship…It was a beautiful effort that set him up perfectly to win the BC Dirt Mile! MANY horses were a “failure” in the KY Derby (Palace Malice 12th, WTC 8th, etc) and as many trainers have stated…draw a line through that one. CD always messes with the track and not many horses take well to it on Derby day. You really need to do a little homework if you think Goldencents hasn’t improved until BC! You obviously did not watch his race prior to the BC and didn’t see the promise he showed as a 2 YO, running second to eventual champion Shanghai Bobby in the Gl Champaign. Orb is also a really nice horse but he seems to be off the radar screen. I’m excited to hear that Goldencents is going to race as a 4 YO. Major kudos to his connections for bringing us (the fans…I’m not a horse owner) something to look forward to in 2014. · 1480 days ago
  • https://www.facebook.com/kyndle.fischer · There is no title of "world Champion". · 1478 days ago
I do have a better idea, two actually: Pointsoffthebench and Sahara Sky. Doesn't a G1 victory on the east coast in the Met Mile and a close loss in the Carter after two blazing victories over speed biased Santa Anita in G2's mean anything?
  • annieoakley · Not over horses that have multiple Gl wins and multiple Gl places. I love Pointsoffthebench but think it comes down to Goldencents and WTC. Let's hope we see them both out there again soon. Seems like the rest have retired to the breeding shed. · 1478 days ago
The three-year-old title could still be open. If I was in management at Churchill Downs I would be on the phone trying to get Will Take Charge and Orb to run in the Clark. I don't think it would take much convincing to get Lukas on board. I don't really understand why Shug would point Orb to the Cigar Mile anyway. He hasn't shown brilliance that it usually requires to win that one and The Clark is at a track where he won his biggest race.
Goldencents will probably get some votes for Champion Three-year-old, but lets face it, the Dirt Mile has been a consolation prize for horses that don't seem to fit anywhere else. If he would take the Cigar Mile or the Malibu and could get some influential journalist to champion his cause he would have an outside chance.
  • annieoakley · Goldencents ran from Jan - November and didn’t duck a soul. He won at multiple distances on dirt and synthetic. Beat many Gl stakes winning horses in the BC Dirt mile. It’s a relatively new race at the World Championships and you’re right…doesn’t enjoy the respect yet that the other races do. Hope we get to see him run again before the end of the year. Seems like the rest are heading to the Breeding shed. Hope to see WTC run again this year and rumor has it he may run in the Clark. Hands down in my book, it’s between these two. WTC has one Gl win. The second in the Classic was impressive but not deserving of 3YO champ. Goldencents beat multiple Gl winners of all ages in the mile. Orb got lucky on the HORRIBLE Derby track. So much for his connections being good sportsmen and caring about the best interest of not only the horse but the sport. If they thought he had a chance of being a top 4 YO he’d be out there. They don’t so they’re headed to the shed. One shot wonder! I hope we get to see Goldencents and WTC again before the end of the year. · 1478 days ago
I know I am probably in the minority here, but I have to admit I will be slightly dissappointed in MMM gets older male this year .. when last year there was horse with a better record going into, and going out of the BC that got 0 awards. I know it's old news and there is nothing I can do about it, but Ft. Larned was absolutely snubbed last year.
Orb won the florida derby also, so 3g1 wins to go with his G2
Agree with everything except sprinter and champion 3yo. Heres why your selections won't win.. Champion sprinter goes to Points Offthebench, he has two G-1's to Secret Circles one and he never had the chance to prove himself in the BC. Plus the sentiment. Champion 3yo will go to Orb, although i think WTC is the best 3yo NOW, he does not have the wins to justify it, and finished behind Orb 3-4 Times, in the most important 3yo races of the year. Orb was obviously a better first half hours and WTC a better second half horse but the fact that Orb is a dual G-1 winning Classic winner, who also won the G-2 Fountain of youth and ran 3rd in both the G-1 Belmont and the G-1 Travers (the only time WTC beat him). WTC simply does not have the credentials to justify champion 3yo with only 1 G-1 win. And anyone talking about Goldencents should hit the books because there's no way a regional second tier horse who never beat any of the top 3yo's and finally settled in the weaker mile division. Who did he beat? Sorry, not gonna happen.
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  • https://www.facebook.com/kyndle.fischer · obviously i watched the race, but you can't give a horse a championship off second place finished. The fact that Orb came out on top 3 out of 4 meetings puts the icing on the cake..I strongly believe WTC is the best 3yo at the moment but he wasn't for the first half of the year and that's what it's going to come down to. Orb is more accomplished and came out on top in all but one of their meetings, end of story. · 1478 days ago
  • https://www.facebook.com/kyndle.fischer · And if you think that's how the voters think, just look at Champion 3yo filly last year.. Questing won it off two big G-1s while My miss aurelia had a lesser G-1 and a second in the BC Distaff. I may be relying on statistics, but statistics are the foundation of voting. In other words, there has to be a method to the madness. At any rate, we will have to wait until January. · 1478 days ago
Id have to agree with all of your picks, I might say beholder has a shot at Horse of the Year. In America dirt trumps turf and female classic distance trumps a mile. Just throwing that out there.
  • Sully · Then on this comment, you're crazy buds. There is no dispute for HOTY. It's Wise Dan's! · 1479 days ago
What's wrong with Mizdirection for Turf Female?
  • buds · Dank won the 2 biggest turf races in America · 1481 days ago
  • Sully · Thanks for throwing that up, buds. It also clarifies Will Take Charge's deservedness of 3YO male. Will Take Charge won the Travers (one of only 2 10F races for 3 YOs), narrowly lost the Classic, won the G2 Penn Derby and Rebel Stakes, and was the only horse running with Orb in the Derby until he ran up on Verrazano's heals in the Derby. If you're arguing Goldencents, this is pretty comparative to Dank and Mizdirection. End of that discussion. If you argue Orb, we will neve know if WTC wouldn't have beaten Orb in the Derby. · 1479 days ago
The only arguments I have against your list, ZATT, are Game on Dude for older male. While I believe Mucho Macho Man could've easily gone undefeated in Cali, he didn't. His losses compared to Gon D’s loss in the Classic are just enough to seal the vote for GonD...the Sunshine Millions Classic to Ron the Greek when GonD beat RTG twice this year, the Criminal Type (overnight stakes loss) and the Whitney. If you’re going to question GonD’s ability based on a west coast bias, then you have to do the same for M3 since his only wins came in Cali. And, drum roll, please…Points Offthebench. He would’ve been a huge favorite in the Sprint, and I don’t feel comfortable taking the award from him because of a life ending injury. Secret Circle ran great, but ask yourself this before you vote…how would’ve Points Offthebench ran? We don’t know so don’t take the award away from him. He’s deserving. Other than that, your posting is more in line with what I see compared to some others I’ve seen. For example, I see people saying Havana for 2YO male. How can anyone honestly say that when New Year’s Day beat him on the square? Then you say you like Honor Code better, but Havana beat that one so I’m assuming this is an Honor Code bias…the difference is you’re not saying either deserve the award. Could you honestly give Honor Code the award off a maiden victory???
You may rely on Groupie Doll emerging victorious.
I think Mizdirection is a horse for course whereas Groupie Doll has proven to be more versatile. She has won all over the country and on polly or dirt therefore ending any possible debate for the eclipse.
Timeform had Wise Dan run to 124 but if he'd run to 127 in the Classic and been 3rd/4th he'd not win the overall award? Why would that be? (His Woodbine is their top rated in the world given Treve's allowance)
Gonna be an emotional Eclipse Award show if Pointsoffthebench wins
Gonna be an emotional Eclipse Award show if Pointsoffthebench wins
Champion 3yo Filly: Princess of Sylmar; Champion Sprinter: Points Offthebench. While I can kind of see why someone might say Beholder should get it (even if I do not agree), I have to laugh when people say Secret Circle should get the award for sprinter. Points Offthebench won 4 races this year, 2 of them GI, and lost only once when 2nd. As apposed to Secret Circle's two starts and one GI win. Don't get me wrong, I really love Secret Circle, but NOT for the award. I really hope Points Offthebench gets it postmortem.
I doubt will take charge will run again this year. He has had a super long campaign this year and deserves a rest. It is amazing in itself that he has not gotten hurt as most three year olds do. I doubt they will take a chance of him doing that just to fight for an eclipse ward. I don't think he has anything else to prove to anyone. Let him come back next year. People said Verrazano couldn't get the eclipse for zero wins at a classic distance so neither will goldencents. Orb or wtc in my opinion deserve it. Also Havana even tho only one grade one win has a nice second place in a grade one so will probably win it over New Year's Day. Also I don't see mucho macho man winning older male over wise Dan and game on dude. He was beaten too many times. The princess shouldn't lose points just because of one sound loss. She had an amazing year and didn't dodge anyone. Can we get a dead heat for an eclipse award? :)

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