One of the more interesting divisions that Eclipse Award voters may have to consider in 2010 is the Champion Sprinter of the Year. Clearly, the late season winner was Big Drama, who turned in a magnificent front-running performance in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs. It turned out to also be a tremendous ride from Eibar Coa in the Sprint for Big Drama. He realized that he might get swallowed up by the speed of the speed down on the rail, so he gunned Big Drama to the front and stayed off the rail. Big Drama turned in a quarter-mile of 21.34 seconds, which is quick, but if you watch the replay, he didn't have any challengers right with him pressing him. It was somewhat of an easy lead, if you can have an easy lead racing against the world's fastest horses. The half was covered in 44.55 seconds, so the middle frame resulted in about as much of a breather as you could get in the Sprint. The final time turned out to be a credible 1:09.05. To watch the replay of the Breeders' Cup Sprint, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-qp_D5cidI.
However, how good does that performance make Majesticperfection's performance at Saratoga look in the summer? Majesticperfection quite simply toyed with Big Drama and many other top sprinters in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap, winning that race by nearly three lengths in 1:08.63. Majesticperfection was subsequently retired after suffering a fracture during a workout not too long after the rout in the Vanderbilt. Keep in mind that Majesticperfection did exactly what Big Drama in the Sprint, seizing the lead right away and never looking back. The other thing to consider here is that Majesticperfection went 22.80 for the quarter and 45.60 for the half, exactly the same time for each of the first two stanzas. The final quarter of the Vanderbilt is really where Majesticperfection stakes his claim for any end of the season honors. He actually got faster as the race went on. I think that adds quite a bit to the impressiveness of the performance. The one argument you can make against Majesticperfection is that he carried four pounds less than his main competitors in the Vanderbilt. There might also be something to be said for actually being around for the big dance at the end of the season, but I tend not to want to penalize a horse for an injury. To watch the replay of the Vanderbilt Handicap, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beKmX4HSM7s.
Watch both races and then make up your mind. I think if Majesticperfection had been able to last to the Breeders' Cup, he would have made the race a great deal more interesting. Would he have gone out with Big Drama and created a speed duel that either went down in history or a speed duel that causes someone to close from the clouds and win with a majestic close? It is my thought that Big Drama will likely receive the accolades at the end of the year, but I also think Majesticperfection should not be forgotten.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!