CALIFORNIA CHROME IS 2016 HORSE OF THE YEAR

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (Saturday, January 21, 2017) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced this evening that California Chrome, winner of the Dubai World Cup and the TVG Pacific Classic, and North America’s all-time leading money earning Thoroughbred, was voted as Horse of the Year, an honor which he also won in 2014, at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The Eclipse Awards, honoring excellence in North American Thoroughbred racing, presented by The Stronach Group, Daily Racing Form and the Breeders’ Cup, are voted on by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB).

California Chrome becomes the first two-time Horse of the Year to win the honor in non-consecutive years since John Henry achieved it in 1981 and 1984. Owned by California Chrome LLC of Perry Martin and Taylor Made Farm, and trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome received 202 first-place votes for Horse of the Year. Juddmonte Farms’ 3-year-old Arrogate, who was named Outstanding 3-year-old Male, finished second with 40 votes; Fox Hill Farms’ 3-year-old filly Songbird finished third with five votes and Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Highland Reel (IRE), received one vote. Songbird was voted the unanimous winner of the 3-Year-Old Filly Eclipse Award earlier this evening.

California Chrome, who was also named the unanimous winner of the Older Dirt Male award, won 7 of 8 starts in 2016, including dominant victories in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and the TVG Pacific Classic, and propelled him to become the all-time leading North American money earner with $14,502,650.

Arrogate was spectacular in securing the 3-year-old title under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. A son of former 2-year-old champion Unbridled’s Song, Arrogate won the Travers Stakes by 13 ½ lengths, in 1:59.36, the fastest time in the 147-year history of the race. Eight weeks later he wore down California Chrome to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Arrogate is the seventh Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old trained by Baffert.

Songbird, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, won seven of eight starts last year on her way to Champion 3-Year-Old Filly title. Among her wins were grade one victories in the Santa Anita Oaks, the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Cotillion Stakes. She lost the only race of her career when defeated a nose to the champion Older Dirt Female winner Beholder in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

The complete list of 2016 Eclipse Awards winners and vote totals appears below:

(Horse ages in parentheses where applicable; Country codes indicate a foreign breeding designation)

Two-Year-Old Male: Classic Empire

Two-Year-Old Filly:  Champagne Room

Three-Year-Old Male:  Arrogate

Three-Year-Old Filly:  Songbird

Older Dirt Male:  California Chrome (5)

Older Dirt Female: Beholder (6)

Male Sprinter:  Drefong (3)

Female Sprinter: Finest City (4)

Male Turf Horse: Flintshire (GB) (6)

Female Turf Horse: Tepin (5)

Steeplechase Horse: Rawnaq (IRE) (9)

Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Inc.

Breeder: WinStar Farm LLC

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Apprentice Jockey: Luis Ocasio

Trainer: Chad Brown

The Eclipse Awards

Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon the Thoroughbred horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of Champion in their respective divisions. The Eclipse Awards are named after the great 18th-Century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, who began racing at age five and was undefeated in 18 starts, including eight walkovers. Eclipse sired the winners of 344 races, including three Epsom Derbies.

Voting Overview

In voting that concluded January 3, 2017, Eclipse Awards voters cast their ballots to rank the top three horses and individuals in each Championship division on a 10-5-1 point system basis. This voting established the top three finalists in each division, whose names were released on Jan. 5, 2012. The tallies below represent only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities, NTRA, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters. The votes were tabulated and certified by Strothman and Company.

Voter participation rate: 248/264= 93.94%

Two-Year-Old Male (Name, First-Place Votes)

Classic Empire, 248.

Two-Year-Old Filly

Champagne Room, 202; New Money Honey, 21; Lady Aurelia, 11; Pretty City Dancer, 5; Shane’s Girlfriend, 3; Abel Tasman, 2; Miss Sky Warrior, 2; Victory to Victory, 1; Voter Abstentions, 1.

Three-Year-Old Male

Arrogate, 243; Exaggerator, 2; Nyquist, 2; Gun Runner, 1.

Three-Year-Old Filly

Songbird, 248.

Older Dirt Male

California Chrome, 248.

Older Dirt Female

Beholder, 246; Stellar Wind, 2.

Male Sprinter

Drefong, 199; Lord Nelson, 29; A.P. Indian, 20.

Female Sprinter

Finest City, 185; Haveyougoneaway, 20; Paulassilverlining, 13; Taris, 12; Carina Mia, 11; Constellation, 2; Lightstream, 1; Songbird, 1. Voter Abstentions, 3.

Male Turf Horse

Flintshire (GB), 137; Highland Reel (IRE), 76; Tourist, 32; Da Big Hoss, 1. Voter Abstentions, 2.

Female Turf Horse

Tepin, 225; Found (IRE), 11; Queen’s Trust (GB), 7; Lady Eli, 2; Miss Temple City, 2; Catch a Glimpse, 1.

Steeplechase Horse

Rawnaq (IRE), 171; Top Striker, 31; Special Skills, 2; Bob Le Beau (IRE), 1; Portrade (IRE), 1. Voter Abstentions, 42.

Owner

Juddmonte Farms, Inc., 134; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 45; Klaravich Stables, Inc., and William Lawrence, 17; Spendthrift Farm, LLC, 17; California Chrome, LLC, 16; Reddam Racing LLC, 4; Fox Hill Farms, Inc. 3; John Oxley, 3; WinStar Farm, 2; End Zone Athletics, 1 Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc., 1. Voter Abstentions, 5.

Breeder

WinStar Farm, LLC; 164; Clearsky Farms, 62; Juddmonte Farms, Ltd., 4; Darley, 3; Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, 3; Adena Springs, 2; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 1; Machmer Hall, 1. Voter Abstentions, 8.

Trainer

Chad Brown, 208; Bob Baffert, 21, Mark Casse, 11; Art Sherman, 3; Steve Asmussen, 2; Karl Broberg, 1; Todd Pletcher, 1. Voter Abstention, 1.

Jockey

Javier Castellano, 146; Mike Smith, 44; Jose Ortiz, 41; Florent Geroux,12; Irad Ortiz, Jr., 2; Julien Leparoux, 1. Voter Abstentions, 2.

Apprentice Jockey

Luis Ocasio, 182; Lane Luzzi, 34; Eric Cancel, 1; Ashley Castrenze, 1. Voter Abstentions, 30.

Award of Merit

The recipients of the Award of Merit, voted on by a panel of representatives from the three presenting organizations and previously announced, are Andrew Beyer and Steven Crist. The Award of Merit is presented to honor outstanding lifetime achievement in the Thoroughbred industry.

Media Eclipse Awards

Media Eclipse Awards also are given in the categories of photography, audio and multi-media Internet, news/enterprise writing, feature/commentary writing, national television-feature and national television-live racing programming to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The 2016 Media Eclipse Awards winners, determined by a judges’ panel for each category and previously announced, are:

Live Racing Programming – NBC Sports – “2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” Billy Matthews, producer; November 5, 2016.

Television Features – ESPN – E:60; “Barnyard Buddies,”. Megan Anderson, Heather Lombardo, Tonya Malinowski and Mike Johns, producers; May 3, 2016.

Audio/Multi-Media and Internet – Daily Racing Form – “Time Bandits,” Jay Hovdey (writer), Barbara Livingston (photographer) and Molly McGill (videographer); June 6, 2016.

Writing – News/Enterprise – Natalie Voss “‘Something’s Wrong With My Brain’ – The Lurking Danger of Concussions for Jockeys,” Paulick Report. December 30, 2015.

Writing – Feature/Commentary – John Scheinman “Andrew Beyer: Rebel with a Cause,” Paulick Report. November 12, 2016

Photography – Tod Marks – “George & John Sloan Hurdle,” Chronicle of the Horse, Untacked; May 14, 2016.

About the NTRA

The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the Eclipse Awards; the National Handicapping Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).

The Debates – Round 2

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As discussed last week, there’s plenty of speculation going around about the Eclipse Awards and the front-runners in each category. Some are formalities, but a few more difficult categories are starting to arise as the date approaches (January 18). Today will involve the dirt only, as juvenile turf races just aren’t numerous in this country and the Older Male category takes my (and Jay Hovdey’s, among others) definition. First up, the babies:

Two Year Old Filly – Ria Antonia vs. She’s a Tiger

As I mentioned in the post-Breeders’ Cup post, I am not really onboard with either one of these two going forward. That is beside the point for this purpose though, as no other filly performed consistently enough to really threaten the exacta in the Juvenile Fillies. Since Cash Run was denied the crown after her victory in the ’99 Breeders’ Cup, every champion of the Juvenile fillies has also been deemed the best two year old of their crop. In fact, only a trio of years saw different winners since the Breeders’ Cup inception in 1984. However, this race has also been one of if not the single most formful BC race and usually the winners’ campaign is what made them both the favorite and the standout for year-end honors. RA’s campaign was forgettable to that point for the most part though, and though she may have a tad more promise for the longer races this spring the point is still their two year old year. I give plenty of credit to She’s a Tiger for being a really nice filly, and along with many others I just don’t think she was second best on Breeders’ Cup Day. This one should be easier than it will be.

Two Year Old Male – New Year’s Day vs. Shared Belief vs. ???

How do you muster excitement if New Year’s Day wins? If a horse can win the Juvenile in this third start…..I don’t care how nice he is…..his competition needs to glance long and hard in the mirror. That field is supposed to be full of stakes winning or stakes placed horses, and although he had plenty of potential there is just something wrong about it. I liked the horse, don’t get me wrong, but to be right about that sort of horse winning just isn’t comforting in the big picture. Shared Belief was patiently handled and as a result has come out firing in the latter part of his two year old year, but even so those races aren’t the types that usually win championships. If we are going to reward potential rather than actual performance, then shall we go peruse the Pletcher or Baffert barn for an unheralded three year old filly that can actually EXCEL at two turns rather than the suspect stock up for the award this year? These are the arguments being raised in each corner and I really can’t refute either one–without a Shanghai Bobby in the mix it really is muddled. Shared Belief should win and has had a nice brief year, but I vote we hand this trophy off to the filly that loses champion Three Year Old and cross out the details.

Older Male – Game On Dude vs. Wise Dan vs. Mucho Macho Man

First things first, and I mentioned him earlier…Jay Hovdey hit the nail on the head by reminding us that this traditionally heads the way of a dirt handicap horse. Of course, Wise Dan fit all surface bills last year but his streamlined season didn’t hit quite as many stops as before. As a result, the horse that tackled a couple of surfaces and did it with class remains The Dude. Yes, we’ve seen that song and dance before out of him but this year no one did it better. Obviously the horse needs no awards to underline his place among the best in California, but he’s earned it by now. MMM remains his nemesis, but the Breeders’ Cup obviously just isn’t his cup of tea and with that removed from the equation he’d be a runaway. Horse of the Year of course encompasses performing at the big dance, but this category still is one that he’s fulfilled all of the requirements for.

The year-end honors are nearly upon us! Remember, there’s a number of ways to tune into the Eclipse Awards from Gulfstream–Next week we’ll take one last look before the winners are announced!

The Great (Eclipse Award) Debates by Angela Hermann

CBY_AngelaHermann7Sept2013Gulfstream Park hosts the Eclipse Awards in a couple of weeks, and the best of the best (granted, like the Breeders’ Cup there’s a category for EVERYONE) assume their respective thrones as the champions of 2013. Some awards are obvious, some are going to cause eight day debates on Facebook, and others deserve multiple winners. Now I of course will infuse my own opinion, but in keeping up with blogs & other sites already fueling the fights between candidates I’ve plucked out a few of the contested battles while ignoring the “Will Wise Dan be grass male of the year?” material.

First up…

Three Year OId Male of the Year: Goldencents vs. Will Take Charge

They nearly both captured Breeders’ Cup events, but the main argument from the West Coast camp is “Who won?” The Dirt Mile is one of those races that was a recent addition to the Breeders’ Cup and doesn’t really have an established prep schedule among its contestants. They’re sprinters stretching out or tired route horses, etc. They’re a far more mixed bag than the Classic. However, Goldencents worked hard for his money that day and deserves credit for defeating his elders for the first time. Will Take Charge had a few things work against him in the Classic (most notably Gary Stevens) but still showed up with another awesome performance in line with the rest of his fall races. He also capped off his year with a tie-breaker of sorts, the Clark. Goldencents could not muster a response to that effort in the Cigar Mile, or anything close for that matter.

I’d be very surprised if Will Take Charge doesn’t take the honors with his late-season surge. “Coastal Bias” aside, his body of work this year trumps his competition. Conversely, I’d give the training nod to Doug O’Neill for keeping his charge in competitive form from day one. It’s so difficult to keep a horse good from two to three in the Graded ranks, bravo! However, this is not a lifetime resume award – and 2013 was a better year for Will Take Charge.

Three Year Old Female of the Year: Beholder vs. Princess of Sylmar

Let me reiterate before I start: This crop of fillies are GOOD. In this instance, I’d love for both to receive the award as I don’t think sportsmanship (shipping the likely champion at the time out to get THUMPED in the Distaff) should be punished. The thing about Princess of Sylmar is the bad position she was put in by the Breeders’ Cup being in Beholder’s sandbox; wasn’t she kind of damned if she did and damned if she didn’t? Either she chances losing to Beholder or she gets accused of ducking her? The fact still remains that these two are 1-1 against each other. As brilliant as miss Beholder was on the day that often decides these awards, on a bit more level playing field (Churchill Downs) she was not as good as ‘Princess. If the entire year is to be kept in mind, they really do both deserve it but I would actually go the way of the caboose in the Distaff. Let’s see if that “Bias” is in play…

Horse of the Year: Wise Dan vs. Will Take Charge vs. Mucho Macho Man

This is not one that I’d split but I do not envy voters on these three. Personally, I don’t find this to be much of a contest but surprisingly I’ve seen several quarrels online. I know that WTC’s name was thrown in after the Clark, but Game On Dude has become less & less of a yardstick to measure the best against with the fields he womps in CA getting smaller. Game On Dude is fun to watch, he’s dominant when he’s on, he’s California’s golden boy……he’s not invincible. MMM tugs on the heartstrings and certainly that will send a few votes his way, but looking at his entire year it leaves something to be desired. Of course there was nowhere to go but up after not finishing in the Sunshine Millions, but it wasn’t really the hardest year in retrospect. He’s coming back for more and hooray for that, but when you only finish four of your five races and only three of them are graded is that enough? I don’t really think so, but this blog has more than a little evidence that he stole some of my money on BC Day. If you’re going to go by graded stakes wins in California, then the Dude has to be put back into consideration.

The point? Wise Dan is Horse of the Year for the second year in a row. Hopefully the same debate surfaces next year, as all of the above are projected to race in 2014.

There are more categories to glance at next week… and remember the Eclipse Awards will be shown on both HRTV and NBC Sports on January 18th. Suggestions for any of the above categories? Post a reply!

Roll Call: Who Will Continue to Improve?

Wise DanSometimes it’s a feather in the cap on a racehorse’s career, other times it’s the last time their names will be mentioned in the same breath as their competition. Winning an Eclipse is great for the connections, yes, but gamblers can’t win a dime on these awards – Who can they bet on in the coming year? Who should they bet against? Each prospect has a different answer, so let’s dig in.

Wise Dan (Older Horse, Turf Male, and Horse of the Year) – If he’s anything like his predecessor in the three-bagger category (John Henry), you can bet this one for a looooong time to come. The key is him being a gelding, and with the versatility he’s shown this is either a year to repeat the process or try new things. Either way, he’s improved with age and every new task he’s tried. There probably won’t be much value to him unless he hits a long distance on the dirt again, but sometimes a free space on the bingo card can come in handy.

Royal Delta (Older Female) – She’s been a force from day one. Royal Delta has two ninth place finishes to her credit but no other real blemishes to report in a stellar (and continuing) career. With Dubai clearly dancing in their heads again, the connections are picking the beat up right where they left off last year. She’s at Payson Park with the ever-patient Bill Mott revving up for a 5-year-old campaign that will be hard pressed to duplicate her previous body of work. She keeps coming up with ways to win though, and despite different pace scenarios and surfaces she seems to get a little better each time. Good luck with tossing her outside of another World Cup disaster.

Zagora (Turf Female) – Fahgetaboutit. For $2,500,000 she’d better be pregnant tomorrow.

Shanghai Bobby (Juvenile Male) – Can’t fault the campaign he put together, it won him the award by a landslide. Yours truly thought the story ended at the top of the lane in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he showed another gear in drawing away while aided by the inside running. I, like many others, question his ability to go much further in star status or distance than he’s already shown. That’s not to say he can’t handle the distances put forth early in the spring, but there is an entire year of classic distances awaiting the son of Harlan’s Holiday. He’s a fine mix of pure sprinter and route horse, but the route horses in his pedigree weren’t exactly shouting for a mile and a quarter… and isn’t that the goal? The horse that made him run down the stretch, He’s Had Enough, also took a healthy beating at the hands of another Pletcher runner named Violence. He won a four and one half furlong race to kick off his career, and while he stretched his speed from there how far can it stretch? Todd Pletcher has also voiced that Violence is pointing towards the Fountain of Youth… wouldn’t that be the preferred target for your two-year old champion? Hmmmmmm…

Beholder (Juvenile Female) – No question, she is a very, very nice filly. She’s come to hand rather quickly for a Mandella trainee, but the win in the Juvenile Fillies could not have been more in her wheelhouse. She has boatloads of speed and Mandella is no fool – With the track behaving as it was that weekend speed was your greatest asset. He was aware that the speed from the east wasn’t quite as quick as she was, and that Executive Privilege had perhaps plateaued and would be a vulnerable favorite. The rail draw sealed the deal that day, and wire to wire she went. Don’t judge harshly on the first race off the layoff – Not many from this barn fire right off the shelf but she put in a gutsy enough performance to hold second. She was, however, beaten by a filly that’d danced every dance and lost each time – Tyler Baze also lost the whip on Renee’s Titan and she got the job done anyway. She also appeared gassed around the 6 furlong mark. I’ll be using Beholder on Santa Anita’s surface, but I will not be singling her. As with most leaving Arcadia, I don’t usually bet horses leaving that track for another surface until they’ve had a run over it. The dirt is simply not tiring compared to other tracks and tends to run into them around the 1/8 pole.

I’ll Have Another (Three Year Old Male) – He earned it. What a spring campaign for this horse, with great prices along the way. But, unless you’ve got the yen to pluck this horse out of retirement good luck.

Questing (Three Year Old Female) – It was the closest race and I’m frankly not a fan of the outcome. I realize that she put in an entire years worth of work, but I wasn’t on the premises for all of these “Breathtaking” scores so I guess I missed out. My Miss Aurelia looked ultra-impressive and GAME in gutting out a filly with that much more foundation under her….but it’s all for not. Questing doesn’t strike me as one who will improve leaps and bounds until she relaxes….and it’s obviously been a battle for two trainers now. She may have banged up her eye at Santa Anita but she just got outrun at Parx. With the fields no longer limited in age she’ll have a full helping of Royal Delta, Aurelia, etc through her four-year old year. She didn’t beat shlubs in New York but Zo Impressive did get hurt, In Lingerie ended up on the turf in her final start of the year, Grace Hall beat her in California, and Via Villaggio’s greatest lifetime win to this point was a four-horse race. Not sold until she shows capability of relaxing.

Trinniberg (Male Sprinter) – At least he’s only four, but his division has so many new faces on a daily basis it’s hard to say how his year will go. The Parbhoo stable just isn’t predictable when it comes to their spots for horses (see this horse in the Kentucky Derby), so who knows what direction he’ll go this year. He definitely didn’t duck anyone this past year so give credit where credit’s due, but he too was aided by a speedy main track Breeders’ Cup day. He’ll ship wherever, run different distances and fight to the end. But, he is on the one-dimensional side so rabbits are sure to be entered by trainers with closers at some point. The prices may not be there this year either. This is the division that has only seen one back-to-back winner in the Breeders’ Cup too, and Midnight Lute was an oddity. Demand a price if he defends his crown.

Groupie Doll (Female Sprinter) – Oh duh. Yes, she is a must use until a jockey shows a propensity for falling off. She’s been a machine since the addition of blinkers and lost by a scant nose in the Cigar Mile against males. Buff Bradley is connected in many ways with this filly and knows her like the back of his hand. She’s a fun one to follow but another one that provides peanuts in the payoffs.

Overall, this year’s batch of winners are a usable bunch in the coming year, some more than others. Best of luck to you in 2013 and may these champions have a safe and successful year at the races!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann is entering her third year in 2013 as Canterbury’s Paddock Analyst after previously serving in a similar role at Lincoln Racecourse and Columbus Ag Park. She blogs about both local and National racing.

New Year’s Horse Racing Resolutions

2013 BlogWe all make them – Lose weight, get out more, travel, kick the bad habit – and we’ve all broken one at some point. While the sport of horse racing has made some vast improvements and successfully embarked on some new safety initiatives, there are just some things that don’t seem to change…

Here are some New Year’s Resolutions for Horse Racing that are long shots to make it through 2013:

1. Triple Crown Contenders will make it to the end of the year – This year in particular depleted the 3-year-old crop early. Both classic winners failed to make a start after their final wins, with much of their competition following the same path to stud. Three of the past five Derby winners have made two starts after the TC campaign, those being Big Brown, Super Saver, and Animal Kingdom. Big Brown of course won his two starts after the Belmont bomb, but was whisked away to stud much like Super Saver. He failed to win after the Derby and quietly slipped into retirement. Animal Kingdom has not retired but took off after the Belmont for the rest of the year. Mine That Bird kept right on chugging but most geldings would have. It’s easy to see why the 3-year-old Eclipse picture gets muddled when 30 names could get tossed into the hat at any given time and retired the next day. Which brings us to….

2. Eclipse Award Voting will go smoothly – That ugly term “East Coast Bias” seems to get slapped on every horse that wins from east of the Mississippi by Pacific coasters. Voters from the East yell “SCOREBOARD!” and go about their day. They claim it is fair, but the East just continues to churn out champion after champion. Yet in the past 10 years the West Coast has the same number of winning representatives in Horse of the Year, Older Horse, Older Female, Turf Male, Turf Female, and Female Sprinter: One (Zenyatta won Older Female three times but was the only mare from California.) The Juvenile categories seems fairly divided, with the fillies right down the middle and the males  swinging 6-4 in favor of the West. That’s about where the equality ends in winners though, with the overwhelming balance awarded to those lining the Atlantic. For the most part the horses from the East were simply best, but there are some tough calls along the way that make one wonder how fair the voting really is. It’s a debate that rages on year after year and never finds a different answer. The end does not appear to be within walking distance.

3. The Breeders’ Cup will stay the same – What was so broken about the concept in the first place? Since its inception in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup has been a marquee event for deciding year-end Championships and seems to have covered most categories, while forcing some out of their comfort zone but into the Winners’ Circle. However, over the past few years what was a five-star, eight course never-changing menu has sort of taken on Burger King’s “Have It Your Way” approach. Year by year, the BC has changed like so:

2007 – The Breeders’ Cup hit a swampy Monmouth Park for the first time and introduced its two-day format, focusing on Friday as “Ladies’ Day”. This particular edition didn’t sit well with me, as the new races added took some intrigue out of certain races. The Dirt Mile stole some 7 furlong type horses from the sprint that always came flying and occasionally got up. The Juvenile Turf made some sense, but all but eliminated the chance of young grass stars from Europe ever trying the dirt again. The Filly & Mare Sprint especially got my goat. Fillies and mares have held their own just fine in the Sprint, and although the distance is different only the severely distance challenged mares will ever face the boys again in November.

2008 – When it rains, it pours. Three more races joined the party in 2008, creating an overstuffed two-day festival of every condition a horse could hope for. The turf sprinters no longer had to face milers, and also had to navigate one of the trickiest turf courses in America (of course a local won). A tiny bunch to begin with, the juvenile turf horses in this country were split by sex. An even smaller group of marathon dirt horses got their own race too. Is it possible that one day Breeders’ Cup races will outnumber bowl games?

2009 – Another new precedent came about – Santa Anita kept the Breeders’ Cup for two years in a row. While this raised few complaints from Europeans (they thrived on the synthetic surface the year before), many American runners began to cry for dirt racing and did not run as a result.

2010 – Dirt is what they got the next year, but the racing card took a new twist and finished at night under the lights at Churchill Downs. It’s hard to gauge how this impacted the card, as America came out to see its girl Zenyatta no matter what time she ran. Although she took defeat, yours truly cannot recall a more excited Clubhouse than the night she took her only defeat. The card dragged on and much of the energy associated with the Cup was absent until the Classic. The Classic went a bit later in 2012, but most of that must be attributed to the venue.

2011 – Just what the Breeders’ Cup needed, another race, the Juvenile Sprint. With endurance problems rampant among American horses, a short race with a huge purse seemed an odd solution. Not that speed isn’t good, but why draw it out of the Juvenile?

2012 – Lasix is no longer allowed in two-year-olds on Breeders’ Cup day. While it’s a nice gesture, most horses in this country run on it and this is not a day for experiments. Debate can be tossed around about race day medication until doomsday, but Lasix is the touchiest of medications. Mike Repole boycotted the Breeders’ Cup with this rule, and with the way his horses ran at Aqueduct they most likely would have added some spice from the East.

4. The UAE Derby will finally produce a winner of the Kentucky Derby – With the new rules for the 2013 Kentucky Derby tossing graded earnings out the window, this race loses even more prestige. It used to be a free ticket for a Godolphin runner every spring, but its history hasn’t exactly got the pulse racing. Seven winners did not even contest the Kentucky Derby, as they either stayed overseas or were too old to compete (Southern Hemisphere winners). Of the contestants that did brave the trip, their finishes have ranged from sixth to twentieth. Whether it’s the ship, the change in company or just bad luck… this race just hasn’t made the impact it was created for.

What do you have to add to the list? What other horse racing events are we unlikely to see in 2013?

Best of luck to all in the coming year at the races!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann just completed her second year as Canterbury’s Paddock Analyst after previously serving in a similar role at Lincoln Racecourse and Columbus Ag Park. She blogs about both local and National racing.