Friday, January 15, 2010

Horse Of The Year 2010

I am aware that this is supposed to be a blog about fictional horses and their exploits, not so much about reality. But when reality begins to rival a Dorothy Lyons story, how can I resist?

Gallant Fox, Horse Of The Year in 1930. This beautiful photo is from the 1964 book The Thoroughbred by Bert Clark Thayer.

In the 123 years of the American Thoroughbred racing world naming one racehorse as the best of the year, regardless of age or gender, only 10 fillies have won the honor. This year, the only horses nominated are fillies. The California 5-year-old Zenyatta and the 3-year-old sensation Rachel Alexandra have this field all to themselves.

The winner of the Horse Of The Year award will be announced on Monday, January 18, 2010. As an Easterner, I have a sentimental favorite in Rachel and an even more sentimental ax to grind with California. But Zenyatta's Breeder's Cup was something else again, and was voted the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Moment Of The Year.

But, then again, Rachel's Haskell...

What a choice. And what a year for the other sex of Thoroughbred racing.

There is a book from Eclipse Press about the first ten female winners, Women Of The Year: Ten Fillies Who Achieved Horse Racing's Highest Honor, which looks very interesting. The winners were: Busher (1945), Twilight Tear (1944), Regret (1915), Miss Woodford, Imp (1899), Beldame (1904), Moccasin (1965, shared with Roman Brother), All Along (1983), Lady's Secret (1986), and Azeri (2002).

Only Two Horse Of The Year Finalists - ESPN

TV coverage of the awards show on Monday, January 18

A Look At 2010 - ESPN
Tongue-in-cheek predictions commenting on, among other things, the California fans of Zenyatta, her rather unusual retirement training, Rachel Alexandra's owner's dislike of artificial tracks, and Philly Park's current role as the wackiest track in America. See below.

Jockeys Battle - Literally - At Philadelphia Park - Philadelphia Daily News
Account of a fist fight that broke out during a race between rival jockeys. I only wish I rode well enough to conduct a brawl while galloping. Or cantering. Or trotting. Or, hell, at a standstill.

My March 2009 blog post for the Jessie Haas book Working Trot has been updated (finally) with a cover photo.

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