Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fitting Farewell

The Eclipse Awards in Miami on Monday night provided the storybook finish to Zenyatta's career that the racing public was denied at the Breeders' Cup, when she missed out on finishing her career a perfect 20 for 20. Of course, she lost that night to Blame by a head in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

In the final Horse Of The Year balloting, Zenyatta's margin of victory was slightly more substantial than that. She received 128 votes to Blame's 102 votes. The third finalist, Goldikova, received five votes. There were three voters, who returned ballots with no choice for Horse Of The Year, which I cannot fathom for the life of me. It makes me think of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America voters that return blank ballots for the Hall Of Fame in a given year. It is a PRIVILEGE to have a vote for these honors, the very least you could do is have the decency to return a selection.

Granted, in the piece I did where I documented my Eclipse Award thoughts, I begged off on the Steeplechase Division because I had insufficient knowledge of the nominees. If you don't have sufficient knowledge of Zenyatta, Blame, or Goldikova, then really you shouldn't have a vote in the first place.

Getting off of that tangent and back to the main point, Zenyatta is the Horse Of The Year and her connections, owners Jerry and Ann Moss, trainer John Shirreffs, and jockey Mike Smith were all in attendance for the ceremony and they received a well-deserved standing ovation from their contemporaries after the announcement was made. While Zenyatta was also named Champion Older Mare, the Mosses did not win the Owner category (WinStar Farm did) and Shirreffs did not win the Trainer category (Todd Pletcher did). Somehow, I think that all of them were quite content in the aftermath of those individual defeats to go home with the biggest prize of the evening when all was said and done.

If you would like to watch the announcement of Horse Of The Year, here is the link to the DRF website page on the Eclipse Awards: http://www.drf.com/news/zenyatta-takes-horse-year-over-blame.

Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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