Horse of the Year Eclipse Award Contenders
Now that the dust has settled around the disappointments and shocking conclusions that unfolded at the Breeders’ Cup, hosted at Santa Anita Park Racecourse, there is a new buzz going around in the horse racing industry. Everyone is beginning to speculate and offer opinions on which the likeliest candidates will be for the Horse of the Year Eclipse Award. There are three worthy contenders that immediately come to mind, namely Curlin (current Horse of the Year), Zenyatta and Big Brown. Each of these horses has performed well this year, and as voters start to mull over their choices, it is bound to be a very difficult decision.
When looking at a horse for such a prestigious title, one can be assured that where some find praise, others will be critics. When it comes to the talented filly, Zenyatta, much can be said. She is based in California and has only run outside her home base once. The fact that she has not ventured outside of her comfort zone would seem to count against her according to some, but one cannot over look the fact that she is unbeaten in her nine career starts and has won major events such as the Apple Blossom Handicap, and on Friday, she was victorious in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. The last filly to have won the title of Horse of the Year, was Azeri in 2002, and also remained within her division, so there is hope for Zenyatta.
Big Brown on the other hand, exploded onto the horse racing scene this year, giving everybody something to talk about. This magnificent horse has won all his career starts except for one, the Belmont Stakes. All hopes were pinned on Big Brown to become the next Triple Crown Champion after he won both the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. He also conquered the Haskell Invitational and the Florida Derby, but had to be retired while preparing for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, due to a severe hoof injury that needed months to heal.
Curlin on the other hand, had a disappointing run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing fourth under Robbie Albarado. Curlin has never finished out of the money, and his discomfort on the synthetic ProRide track was evident. But Curlin has also enjoyed local and international success this year, by winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Woodward, the Stephen Foster Handicap and the Dubai World Cup.
All three of these candidates have what it takes to receive the Horse of the Year Eclipse Award, as they have proven their talent and remarkable abilities as racehorses. The horse racing industry will now have to hold their breath until January, when the winner of this division, is announced.