As if things were not confusing enough, Drosselmeyer’s mild upset in the Breeder’s Cup Classic made the Horse of the Year discussion even less clear cut.
The Breeder’s Cup Classic instead of adding clarity to candidacy of the various horses in contention for Horse of the Year made the choice even more ambiguous.
In most years there are usually two or maybe three that are vying for horse of the year. It looked as if Tizway was going to be the leading candidate for awhile having etched two consecutive Grade 1 victories – the Met Mile and the Whitney Handicap, but he was injured unfortunately. A strong case can be made for Tizway, even though he established a course record at Belmont Park in the Met Mile. The people who do the voting always tend to remember the most recent triumphs and tend to place less importance on races run earlier in the year, especially if the horse is not around at year’s end. It is really an irrational and unfair way of doing things, but it is just the way things always seem to work.
So that left us with Flat Out who won the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap powerfully with a 113 Beyer Speed Figure and in a time of 146.64 drawing away. He then came back and finished second to Tizway in the Whitney and second to Havre de Grace in the Grade 1 Woodward. He got his first Grade 1 in winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup and looked to be a reasonable candidate for Horse of the Year if he could take the Classic. But his fifth place finish makes him a shaky candidate now.
And Havre de Grace dazzled by winning the Woodward over Flat Out, and then finished right with him in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, finishing a so-so fourth. Though she has won three Grade 1’s this year, two of them were over other females who did not represent competition anywhere near what she was up against in the Classic.
Certainly Stay Thirsty will not win despite having taken the Grade 1 Jim Dandy and Travers after his 11th place disappointment in the Classic.
It would be hard to make a case for Drosselmeyer on the strength of the Classic win and a second place finish in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He might get a few votes simply because there is no clear cut frontrunner here.
Personally my vote goes to Tizway. He registered two Grade 1 victories against older male handicap horses. No other horse can make that claim. He ran the second fastest time in 118 running’s of the Metropolitan Mile and ran a time only three-fifths of a second off of the track record. Given how many mile races have been run over the Belmont Park surface over the last hundred years, it is no wonder his trainer James Bond said he is the best he ever trained.
Each year, thoroughbred racing has its special award (Eclipse Award) given to the most recognized and accomplished race horse for that year. There is now a free horse racing game that allows you to take these Eclipse Award winners and build virtual races/simulations of champions competing against each other at different racetracks from around the world on different surfaces. Get involved with horse racing like you’ve never experienced before. You become the Race Secretary deciding which superstar of yesterday will be racing against the current champion thoroughbred race horses. There has never been any type of racing game for horses like this.