All of the finalists for the Eclipse Awards (winners to be announced on January 18th) were announced today. There were only two finalists for Horse Of The Year: Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. I think that is a great thing since it doesn't give anyone else false hope. Either one of those two lovely ladies will win the honor, why mess around with having anyone not worthy of their company there. Here are my selections for the winners in each of the categories:
Apprentice Jockey: Luis Saez. I think he is going to be a great one to watch further develop over the next several seasons.
Jockey: Garrett Gomez. It took him until his last mount of the year, but he did win more money than anyone else in the saddle in 2009.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen. He keeps setting the most wins in a year record so often, it might be out of even his reach before too long.
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms. I hope that Bill Mott is able to keep them going the way the late, great Bobby Frankel did. I think he will do just fine.
Owner: Godolphin Racing. They won so many big races throughout the year, all over the world. Now, the question for them will be "Can they win the Derby finally with BC Juvenile winner Vale Of York?"
Steeplechase Horse: Mixed Up. He appears to be the only logical choice according to the voters I have seen make their ballots public.
Female Turf Horse: Goldikova. She amazed us all by winning the Breeders' Cup Mile again and overcoming so much to do it that day.
Male Turf Horse: Conduit. This might be the most competitive of all the undercard categories, but he became only the second horse to win the Breeders' Cup Turf back-to-back.
Female Sprinter: Informed Decision. She won the big one on Breeders' Cup day, beating fellow nominee Ventura in the process.
Male Sprinter: Kodiak Kowboy. He won at all kinds of distances, even prevailing at a mile in 2009 as well. A champion in every sense of the word.
Older Female: Zenyatta. DO I EVEN HAVE TO EXPLAIN MYSELF HERE?
Older Male: Gio Ponti. His only truly bad loss of the year was to Interpatation at 1 1/2 miles over a bog of a turf course in New York. Ran well on turf and synthetics, very versatile.
Three-Year-Old Filly: Rachel Alexandra. See the Zenyatta comment above.
Three-Year-Old Male: Summer Bird. Mine That Bird won "the big one", but Summer Bird won the Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup, something not done since Easy Goer twenty years ago.
Two-Year-Old Filly: Blind Luck. She Be Wild beat her on Breeders' Cup day, but like Summer Bird, Blind Luck won all the other important races she had to win.
Two-Year-Old Male: Lookin At Lucky. Only blip on the radar was an upset loss in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile from post #13 (which I didn't think was that big a factor in the loss), but he is the deserved favorite for the Kentucky Derby going forward.
Horse Of The Year: Rachel Alexandra. I have said on this blog that Rachel Alexandra is the greatest horse since Secretariat. I don't think the same thing of Zenyatta.
So, there you have it, even though I don't have a vote, I am on the record for all of the categories. I cannot wait for the 18th to see who wins the honors, ALL OF THEM!!!
Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!