Thoroughbred racing takes the New Year phrase, "Out with the old and in with the new" a little too seriously for its own good sometimes.A litany of marquee retirements often mark the end of the racing season, but that's not the case this year, as the champions in the older male, older female, three-year-old male, and three-year-old filly divisions are all likely to return to racing this year.Should that happen, it would mark the first time since the Eclipse Awards were created in 1971 that all four of those champions raced the following year. I.e., It's never happened. That's mind boggling to me.To be sure, the three-year-old male division remains the glamor group, particularly in the late winter and early spring, but having the likes of Horse of the Year Havre de Grace (yeah, I'm calling it for her even if she didn't get my vote) and certain champion three-year-old filly Royal Delta back in training is sure to add some spice to the long march toward the Breeders' Cup.The other two divisions of the four I mentioned--older male & three-year-old male--are unresolved, but regardless of who wins (Game On Dude or Acclamation among older males and Animal Kingdom or Caleb's Posse among three-year-old males), they're all coming back!But the excitement does not end with the champions. All three classic winners are returning: the aforementioned Animal Kingdom plus Shackleford and Ruler On Ice. The sprint division has its champion Amazombie coming back along with The Factor and Caleb's Posse. And on turf, there's plenty of excitement swirling around Brilliant Speed and Mr. Commons plus the fairer sex has Summer Soiree, Winter Memories, and Star Billing.It's often said that racing needs its stars on the track, and I'm often skeptical about whether a few returning horses can move the dial. Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, both certain Racing Hall of Fame inductees even before either of them raced in 2010, both returned off Eclipse Award seasons, but without them racing each other there was not much excitement on a national level until the Breeders' Cup, which Rachel Alexandra didn't even make.It will be extremely difficult for all of the above horses to avoid each other as well as some other heavies such as Stay Thirsty, Mucho Macho Man, and To Honor And Serve all coming back as well.I've already argued for Brilliant Speed over Mr. Commons in a mythical (for now) 1 1/4-mile matchup on turf, but even if that doesn't pan out surely we'll get to see To Honor And Serve, Caleb's Posse, and The Factor all duke it out in the Met Mile, or the Classic winners back for the Stephen Foster, or Havre de Grace against Royal Delta at Saratoga, right?And all of these names are just in the U.S. The biggest name of all is Frankel, and he's racing this year, too, and might even do so in the Breeders' Cup!
Welcome to the TwinSpires Blog. Our contributors will be continually updating posts to offer commentary, insight, advice and expert opinions on horse racing and wagering. The goal is to help you win more and become a better all around horse player.
TwinSpires' horse racing author, handicapper, and podcast host, Derek Simon of Denver, Colo. offers his insightful, humorous and sometimes controversial take on the horse racing industry. He even publishes the ROI on the picks he gives out.
TwinSpires' harness racing expert, Frank Cotolo follows all of the big North American circuits throughout the year, providing the best value picks and latest news from the sulky.
The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times.
A writer and editor who has been following horse racing for fifteen years. Peter has written books for the Daily Racing Form Press; Crown; and Simon and Schuster; among other publishers, and regular features in The Horseplayer Magazine.
A television racing analyst for Churchill Downs, Jill has earned acclaim and a loyal audience throughout Thoroughbred racing.