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Turn Around, Bright Eyes

I’ve had ample time to consider my Eclipse Award would-be votes; now that we have finalists, here are my thoughts:

Steeplechase: McDynamo — I’m not sure why they bothered putting anyone else as a finalist, we know he’s the one.

Older Male: Looks like Invasor. If only we had more older males to consider…

Breeder: I think breeding the Kentucky Derby and 2000 Guineas winners in the same year should be enough – but tack on Barbaro’s saga and you get another unbeatable choice in the Jacksons.

2YO Colt: It’s close between Street Sense and NoBiz Like Shobiz. Street Sense just wins this one by beating very formidable competition in the Breeders’ Cup, even if (according to legend) that did doom his Derby chances.

Older Female: I’d like to see Round Pond back to take the next installment, but Fleet Indian gets my nod.

Owner: Another easy win for Lael Stables here, for obvious reasons.

2YO Filly: Dreaming of Anna is moving like a tremendous machine in this category.

Sprinter: I’m not convinced Discreet Cat belongs in this category, Henny Hughes was retired too early and so only Thor’s Echo is left to take the prize.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher may have broken the earnings mark, but I still wonder about those drug positives…

3YO Colt: Here’s where it gets tricky. If we are basing this on what they did on the track, Barbaro won more consistently over more surfaces. Had Bernardini not been retired (or won the Classic) my opinion might have been different. Discreet Cat might be the fastest horse in the world, but he’s made so few starts that I tend to forget about him — and I’m a racing fan. Obviously if we factor in off-the-track stories, Barbaro wins by miles. So, Barbaro. While we are on the subject, I would like to add my congratulations to Dick Jerardi for his Media Eclipse Award honoring his coverage of Barbaro.

Male Turf: I’ve liked and undervalued Miesque’s Approval all year – I’ll finally recognize him here.

Jockey: One word: Prado.

3YO Filly: Wait a While – she is all versatility and class.

Female Turf: Ouija Board, naturally.

Apprentice Jockey: Julien Leparoux. It’s hard to lose this one when you are North America’s winningest jockey.

Horse of the Year: Ouija Board. Again, if we’re going purely on racing performance, no one has faced tougher competition on more continents than Ouija Board and she has shown herself to be a champion in every possible way. She was facing the world’s best in almost every race, not simply saving it up for Breeders’ Cup day. If one aim of the Horse of the Year award is to encourage that level of sportsmanship from owners and trainers, her connections deserve the recognition just as much as she does. After all, we have named a race after her and she’ll be a Kentucky resident soon enough, so she qualifies for ‘our’ award in my opinion.

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3 comments to Turn Around, Bright Eyes

  • Tote Board Brad

    I’m sure Dick Jerardi’s articles on Barbaro were outstanding, but I haven’t been able to forgive him for busting on the small time player. I wont soon forget that he said if you don’t have at least $100 on you when you show up at the track you serve no purpose and shouldn’t be let in. Nothing pisses me off more than someone being dismissive of the little guy.

  • Superfecta

    I missed that one…must have been before we moved here. Not that I ever bet much myself – I doubt I’ve ever done more than about $80, and that’s on Breeders’ Cup day…although I do occasionally come home with more!

    Very occasionally…

  • Tote Board Brad

    Here’s the quote from a Jerardi column a year or two ago: “They should search everybody who comes into the track. If you have less than $100, you should be sent home. Really, what purpose do you serve? Get out.”

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