Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Late to the dance

Due to the circumstances detailed in my previous post I did not participate in the debate over whether Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta should win Horse of the Year--much less whether the Eclipse Award voting rules should be changed so that there could be co-honorees.

Of all the bad ideas that have cropped up in Thoroughbred racing--many of which, sadly, were implemented--changing the voting rules surely was one of the worst. Sure, let's put the fix in so that both horses can win, that'll show the public how dedicated we are to playing by the rules. I was horrified when the idea came up (and let NTWA President Tom Law know my feelings), amazed when one of the three voting blocs actually approved it, and delighted when the other two scuttled the idea.

The Horse of the Year vote is a bit more problematic. I do have a vote, and I know who I'm going to vote for, but it's probably a bit unfair to publish that before the fact. Once the voting deadline has passed, then it's full disclosure time. Suffice to say that both mares are good enough to win in an average year.

There are several other championship categories that are even less clear cut. Champion 3yo colt is pretty clear, as are, obviously, 3yo filly and older mare. Just about every other category, however, lacks a definitive, clear leader. Sure, Zensational is probably the favorite for sprinter, She Be Wild for juvenile filly, and Lookin at Lucky for 2yo colt, but none are a certainty with Kodiak Kowboy, Hot Dixie Chick and Buddy's Saint probably getting lots of votes in those categories. Gio Ponti seems obvious for turf male, but Presious Passion won some votes in the BC Turf, and Conduit will probably get a few as well. Older male is a complete mess. Gio Ponti probably earned some votes in the BC Classic, but who else really proved he's worth a vote? Was Midday impressive enough in the Filly and Mare Turf to win?

All in all, it's actually one of the most interesting Eclipse Award ballots in years.


  1. I can't disagree more about the Eclipse awards being interesting this year. it is all too evident that the awards are based on the manipoulations of owners and trainers, not the brilliance shown by the horses. It does little for the fans or the horses, and it seems to me that it encourages people like Jess Jackson to spend whatever it takes to get Rachel Alexandra away from her original owners so that he can work towards being awarded HOY for his acquisition three years in a row. I am disgusted by the politics involved in the award process.

  2. I agree that the obvious attempts at manipulation are distasteful, and I believe it will affect many votes. Some folks have shown class in this process....others have not, and more than one person has noticed.

  3. wheh is hot dixie chick running again?

  4. I don't know when Hod Dixie Chick will make it back, but I don't believe she's supposed to run again until 2010.