• Awards season: My Eclipse Award ballot

    POSTED Jan 3, 2012
    The Iowa Caucus promises to be far more interesting than my Eclipse Award ballot. Previous Horse of the Year battles would have put the Republication nomination process to shame, but this is a tame year. Better to let the race for leader of the free world to have the spotlight, anyway.
    I won't bother with long drawn out explanations in each category. Some are obvious and the ones that aren't have been reasoned rather well in other forums.
    I made Cape Blanco my Horse of the Year. In a down year by many accounts, I thought he strung together the most impressive resume of Grade 1 races while winning a truly marquee race to boot. Acclamation and Havre de Grace round out my top three for that category, and I really couldn't argue against either winning. It gets dicier for me after that.
    I try to stay consistent in my voting style each year without being obstinate. My tenets are
    • -Winning Grade 1 races matters most
    • -Head to head victories earn extra cache
    • -Related to points 1 & 2: you have to win the race for me to consider it a head to head victory (i.e., "finishing in front of" is not good enough).
    • -Races restricted by age mean less to me than those that aren't (e.g. for female sprinter Ballerina > Test; for male turf Sword Dancer > Secretariat
    • -General special consideration for winning races people most want to win (e.g. classics, Breeders' Cup)
    Horse of the Year
    1. Cape Blanco, 2. Acclamation, 3. Havre de Grace
    Two-year-old male
    1. Hansen, 2. Union Rags, 3. Wrote
    Two-year-old female
    1. My Miss Aurelia, 2. Grace Hall, 3. Stephanie's Kitten
    Three-year-old male
    1. Caleb's Posse, 2. The Factor, 3. Animal Kingdom
    Three-year-old female
    1. Royal Delta, 2. It's Tricky, 3. Plum Pretty 
    Turf male
    1. Cape Blanco, 2. Acclamation, 3. St Nicholas Abbey
    Turf female
    1. Stacelita, 2. Dubawi Heights, 3. Never Retreat
    Older male
    1. Acclamation, 2. Game On Dude, 3. Tizway
    Older female
    1. Havre de Grace, 2. Blind Luck, 3. Ask the Moon
    Female sprinter
    1. Sassy Image, 2. Hilda's Passion, 3. Musical Romance
    Male Sprinter
    1. Amazombie, 2. Caleb's Posse, 3. Regally Ready
    Jockey
    1. Ramon Dominguez, 2. John Velazquez, 3. Javier Castellano
    Trainer
    1. Baffert, 2. Mott, 3. O'Brien
    Breeder
    1. Ramsey, 2. Team Valor, 3. Brylynn Farm
    Owner
    1. Team Valor, 2. Ramsey, 3. WinStar
    Abstensions: apprentice jockey, steeplechase

    For more year-end award goodness, check out Kellie Reilly's Turf Awards over at Brisnet.com's The Handicapper's Edge.
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