Weekend roundup: Horse of the Year down to Game On Dude, Princess of SylmarBesides Silver Max, the biggest winners from Wise Dan's loss in the Shadwell Turf Mile (run at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack) were Game On Dude and Princess of Sylmar, who are now the last two standing in a Horse of the Year debate that lost last year's winner of that award when he had no excuse in the aforementioned race.
Yes, it was moved off the turf, and he covered more ground than the winner, but if I were willing to count a win in the race in Wise Dan's favor, then I have to count a loss against him--at least as far as Horse of the Year goes; Wise Dan is still in the turf male driver's seat.
A win would have given Wise Dan Grade 1 wins on two surfaces (turf and Polytrack) and three distances (1, 1 1/16, and 1 1/8 miles) this year. I'm still not sure that would have been enough to usurp Game On Dude if that one wins the Classic, but would have provided more food for thought. Now it's all Game On Dude with a win.
*I* will not be voting this way, but my feel for the electorate tells me that Game On Dude wins Horse of the Year with a Classic win and Princess of Sylmar gets it if he loses.
For that reason, I see no reason for Princess of Sylmar to run again this year--especially if she's running as a four-year-old. Yeah, Beholder could make things interesting with a win in the Distaff, but Princess of Sylmar had the better complete season. The Classic makes some sense if you want to win *my* vote, but since I don't think that will be required why bother?
While I think Princess of Sylmar has earned champion three-year-old filly and have no problem with her being done for the year in doing so, I do have an issue with the idea that Game On Dude needs to win the Breeders' Cup or Princess of Sylmar gets it because that implies that Princess of Sylmar has had the better season to date. Yes, the Grade 1 score is 4-3, but Game On Dude's hat trick is in open races. Does anyone really think Game On Dude wouldn't have won the Beldame if he had been in there?
But Princess of Sylmar did win it, beating two-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta in the process and kicking off a different kind of hat trick for this year's three-year-old fillies. There are three Grade 1 prep races for the Breeders' Cup Distaff, and the sophomores bested their elders in all three of them: Princess of Sylmar in the Beldame, Beholder in the Zenyatta, and Emollient in the Spinster. I'd be hard-pressed to think of a three-year-old male that could have won any of those races.
This type of success is not limited to the States, either, as it was the three-year-old filly Treve who beat males and elders in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday at Longchamp. She is the third of that age and sex to do so in the past six years, which to me debunks the thought that "weight doesn't matter" considering three-year-old fillies receive 11 pounds from older males.
To WEIGH in on which three-year-old filly has impressed you most, take the Brisnet.com The Handicapper's Edge poll. I chose Princess of Sylmar.
As for the two-year-olds, I'll let this week's Bullet Train Breeders' Cup Platform presented by Brisnet.com address those races.