At the end of 2009, I offered up a list of three horses to watch in 2010. One of those was Blame, who in all likelihood, will be voted Horse Of The Year. The others were Rachel Alexandra and Piscitelli. Rachel couldn't possibly hope to match her 2009 season and as for Piscitelli, well, you can't be right all the time. It is in this spirit that I now offer my three horses to watch in 2011.
#1- Dancinginherdreams- I thought her win at Churchill Downs during the two-year-old Stars Of Tomorrow program in the Grade 2 Pocahantas was one of the more visually impressive wins by a two-year-old this year. She won that race by over five lengths and if Julien Leparoux had not geared her down near the end, she could have won by much more. Her Sire is Tapit, who is just turning out to be the "bomb" when it comes to recent Sires. There are so many horses of consequence coming along in recent days from Tapit that he is moving quickly to the top of the available Sire list. I, for one, will be watching Dancinginherdreams' development during what should be a spectacular three-year-old campaign.
#2- Santiva- It is entirely possible that Santiva could be the real deal as the Derby Fever season starts to rear its head. Santiva was a most impressive winner in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club on November 27 at Churchill Downs. He prevailed in a draining stretch duel with the more fancied Astrology and Major Gain in that race and I found his grit in not being denied the victory to be an admirable quality. The only downside to Santiva I can see is the rider for that win was Shaun Bridgmohan, who I admit I have never been a large fan of. The Sire of Santiva is Giant's Causeway, who was a darn strong racehorse and has proven to be a darn strong Sire.
#3- Blind Luck- She was clearly the best three-year-old filly in the land this year and she has a crack rival in Havre De Grace. Blind Luck won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes, Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and the Grade 1 Alabama in 2010 and she was second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, behind Unrivaled Belle. She might be the kind of horse to step into the Older Mare void left by the departures of Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta going forward. Yes, I think she is just going to be that good the longer she continues her career. I also hope Havre De Grace sticks around because it would be nice for these two to square off several more times and develop a rivalry that racing might be able to hang its hat on.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!