Monday, January 17, 2011

Horse of the Year

All the votes are now in and Horse of the Year is decided. We’ll find out tonight on TVG if Blame or Zenyatta will take home the hardware. I don’t have a vote but if I did my vote would go to Zenyatta. Last year I argued that Rachel deserved HOY because of her more rigorous campaign. It could be argued that Blame had the more rigorous campaign of the two this year. I know Zenyatta won all Grade Is while Blame did not and he even lost a race before their meeting. And I know it’s not Z’s fault that she didn’t face top notch competition in every race – she entered Grade I races and was there to be beaten. No one did. Ultimately, to me, the best argument for Blame is that he won the head to head meeting between the two.

What it comes down to for me are two things:

1. She brought so much attention to racing this year that there is no way to argue that she hasn’t done more for the game than any other horse this season – while winning every race save one, and;

2. The WAY she lost to Blame throws enough doubt into the equation so that #1 sways the case, in my opinion. She was phenomenal in defeat. If Blame had beaten her by two or three, I go the other way on this one.

Any number of Ifs and she wins the race and there is no discussion. I know that “Ifs” are part of the game and “Ifs” don’t matter, the results do. I understand that. But to me these two horses are equal. Run the race 100 times and it could be like flipping a coin. Zenyatta proved her greatness and I think the ancillary piece of what she did for the sport pushes her over the top. Again, Blame wins by more convincingly and this isn’t even a question.

However it goes, I’m OK with the result. Both horses had outstanding campaigns. I just shudder to think of the vitriol that will spew forth from the losing camp. My congratulations go to the winner, no matter who it is.

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