12/27/2010 5:22PM

Closing the Book on 2010's Grade 1's


Sunday's Malibu and La Brea on Opening Day at Santa Anita were the last of 2010's 111 Grade 1 races in the United States. The complete list is at the bottom of this post; here are the final leaderboards for 2010:

Those 11 winners of two Grade 1's each were Champagne d'Oro, Devil May Care, Evening Jewel, Gio Ponti, Harmoniously, Life at Ten, Lookin at Lucky, Richard's Kid, Smiling Tiger, Uncle Mo and Winchester.

In terms of Grade 1 races unrestricted by age or sex, Blame and Quality Road were the leaders with three apiece, while Gio Ponti, Richard's Kid, Smiling Tiger and Winchester each won two such races.

The top eight trainers won 60 (54 percent) and the top eight jockeys won 64 (57.6 percent) of the year's 111 G1's.

Pletcher's 14 Grade 1's came with nine different horses -- multiple G1 winners Devil May Care, Life at Ten, Quality Road and Uncle Mo and one-time G1 winners Discreetly Mine, Eskendereya, Malibu Prayer, R Heat Lightning and Super Saver. Baffert's nine included two apiece by Lookin at Lucky and Richard's Kid, and one each for A Z Warrior E Z Gentlemen, El Brujo, Gabby's Golden Girl and Misremembered.

Sadler, whose Malibu and La Brea scores vaulted him into a tie with John Shirreffs for third, won his seven Grade 1's with seven different horses: Crisp, Line of David, Mona de Momma, Sidney's Candy, Switch, Tell a Kelly and Twirling Candy.

All 12 of John Velazquez's 12 Grade 1's came on Pletcher trainees -- all of the trainer's G1's except the Kentuckly Derby (Calvin Borel rode Super Saver) and Spinaway (Garrett Gomez rode R Heat Lightning.) In both of those races, Velazquez rode different Pletcher trainees (Devil May Care in the Derby and Stopspendingmaria in the Spinaway.) Smith's dozen included all five of Zenyatta's and all four of Proviso's G1's. Rosario's 10 Grade 1's came aboard 10 different horses -- one each on Blind Luck, Champ Pegasus, Crisp, Dakota Phone, El Brujo, Gypsy's Warning, Harmonious, Mona de Momma, Switch and Twirling Candy.

Much as I enjoy stats for stats' sake, and compiling them is a dandy activity while buried under a foot of snow...

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.


...it's also a stage-setter for this week's blog exercise, which I invite you to join tomorrow: filling out my Eclipse ballot by New Year's Eve. I'll post version 1.0 of my preliminary top three choices in each of the divisional categories tomorrow, and you'll have 72 hours to comment on the error(s) of my ways. (The ballots aren't due until Tuesday but I want to finalize my ballot by Friday to write a Sunday column about it.) 

This isn't about another Horse of the Year debate, but about getting it right with both the divisional winners and the second and third choices in those categories, votes that determine who will be nominated and remembered as the three finalists for each award.


--It's a shame the new Santa Anita dirt track was so spectacularly fast that Spectacular Bid's 30-year-old track record had to fall in the Malibu, but those were legitimately strong performances in the three graded stakes swept by Sadler and Rosario. The winning Beyer figures, once the extraordinary quickness of the new surface was factored in, were a 108 for Twirling Candy's 1:19.70 in the Malibu; a 104 for Sidney's Candy's 1:33.70 in the off-the-turf Sir Beaufort and a 100 for Switch's 1:20.33 in the La Brea.

The Factor, the Baffert-trained 2-year-old who blazed six furlongs in a record 1:06.98, received a Beyer of 102.


--Here's that final Grade 1 list for 2010: