Photo courtesy Eclipse Sportswire
It must be true that the early bird gets the worm because I’ve never felt a need to find one of those creepy crawlers.
Fishing does nothing for me, so it’s not like I need a few of them to spend a day staring out at a lake waiting a few hours for Nemo to finally nibble on some wire. Nor do things tend to get done early in my life, especially when I can wait until the last minute.
Thus it should not be much of a surprise that my Eclipse Award ballot was not submitted until the penultimate day of 2012.
Looking it over, there were not many surprises on it, either.
For Horse of the Year, my vote belonged to Wise Dan. Five wins in six starts, capped by a win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile was enough for me. Plus he was probably best in his lone loss, the Stephen Foster, when he endured a troubled trip. Next was I’ll Have Another, the Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner who did nothing wrong this year, and Royal Delta was third. As impressive as the filly was when she was at her best – like the Beldame and Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic - three was too many losses to be ranked higher than that.
Some might be surprised that I signed on for a Wise Dan hat trick, but they shouldn’t. The champion older horse award was a gimme because it goes with the territory. If he’s the year’s best horse then it goes without saying that he’s the best horse in his division.
The Wise One also received my vote as the year’s best turf male. It was a difficult decision, but in the end it came down to Wise Dan’s perfect record on turf that included three Grade 1 wins. Little Mike had two huge wins – the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Arlington Million – but he also had three losses. Plus he was just 1-1 in two meetings with the third choice, Point of Entry.
That wasn’t the only tough choice.
The male sprinter category lacked a clear-cut choice, but the nod went to Trinniberg, largely off his Breeders’ Cup win. Ditto for Zagora as the female turf champion.
TRINNIBERG WON THE BREEDERS' CUP SPRINT AT SANTA ANITA
My Miss Aurelia was my choice for the champion 3-year-old filly – until she lost in the La Brea. That opened the door for Questing who had two Grade 1 wins and a head loss to My Miss Aurelia in the Cotillion.
Some easy ones were I’ll Have Another as the champion 3-year-old male, Groupie Doll as the top female sprinter, Royal Delta as the best older female, and the crowning of the two 2-year-old champs, Shanghai Bobby and Beholder.
GROUPIE DOLL WON FIVE STAKES RACES IN 2012
The choices for an Eclipse Award in the human categories were Dale Romans (trainer), Ramon Dominguez (jockey), Jose Montano (apprentice), Godolphin (owner) and Darley (breeder).
Oh, and Demonstrative was the pick for the top steeplechaser, a fitting way to close out thoughts on the best of the best in a year that had more than its fair share of ups and downs.
And what are your thoughts. Who are your choices for Horse of the Year and an Eclipse Award?
SHANGHAI BOBBY HAD A PERFECT 5-FOR-5 RECORD IN 2012