Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Horse of the Year

To get the month off to a good start for entries I've decided for a quick entry about HOY. In the horse blogosphere there has been some discussion going on as to who is the Horse of the Year, at least up to this point. Dana over at Green But Game, has a poll in progress that as I write this has Curlin (41%) leading Zenyatta (34%) and Big Brown (26%). Dana gave her reasons for choosing Zenyatta in her 9/17 post .

Undefeated? Check. Won on multiple surfaces? Check. Beat an impressive reining champion? Check. Beat the impressive reining champion while making first start on new surface? Check.

And off course her extremely impressive win Saturday in the G.I. Lady's secret can be added to that description. That's 3 G.I wins this year and 3 G.II wins. That is an unbelievable resume no matter the year or the division. But she would not be my pick at this point.

At this stage I would have to cast my vote for Big Brown. My reasoning is based on a quirk of [American?] racing that has few competitions that have distaff division runners running against the boys. The fact that our biggest races are generally run only by colts/horses does unfairly tilt the balance of importance to their side. As unfortunate as that may be for a fillie as great as Zenyatta I still think it is right. And who knows what may have been had Eight Belles not met such a tragic end?

In any case Big Brown danced in all the big dances and won 2 of those. He has four G.I's and a winning performance on grass against a graded stake field (in my opinion). Sure one can quibble over the talent of the crop, but that's not BB's fault and perhaps they are not so poor as it seems. Let's give them time to see how they develop. Fair's fair and they were all on an even playing field. And yes one can be disgruntled over having a race created just for him, but he still had to go out and win and he did. It's a no-brainer that if he wins the Classic with Curlin running he is Horse of the Year. I don't expect that to happen but it's not unthinkable at all.

As for Curlin, everyone that reads my blog knows he is one of my favorites, ever. However, as much as I sing his praises, especially about his ability to maintain such a high level of racing, I don't think his record - this year - warrants HOY. He too has four GI's and a second place finish on the turf to Red Rocks in the G.I Man O' War. But he did have the advantage of being able to pick all of his spots. Not that I believe they ducked anyone. Actually I think it just the opposite, many ducked him, but it does make it a bit easier when compared to a Triple Crown run. He has also had a bit lighter schedule than the other two. For me the only way he can win Horse of the Year is to repeat in the Classic. I think he will.

Having said all this if both Big Brown and Curlin succumb to some other foe I would cast my vote for Zenyatta. Again, you can't blame a horse for the competition they run against, but I still have to weigh the importance of achievements in the male division higher to this point.


Wind Gatherer said...

"Let's give them time to see how they develop"

If they stick around long enough. Three Chimneys is probably finishing the negotiations for Guadalcanal's stud deal...

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I had this convo with Ernie as he was kind enough to explain to me why the general conversation wasn't including Zenyatta.

This mentality bums me out (not yours, generally speaking) as it favors 3 year colts first and route dirt colts overall.

There are other divisions and one could argue that the most competitive division this year is the distaff. I grow less and less fond of the triple crown machine daily.

Thanks for the link and quote! I just added a new poll today.