10/21/2007 11:40PM

Does Classic Winner = HOTY?



I keep reading that whichever one of the "Big Six" (anyone except Awesome Gem, George Washington or Diamond Stripes) wins the Breeders' Cup Classic is Horse of the Year. Are we sure about that?

In the cases of Curlin, Lawyer Ron and Street Sense, absolutely. Each already has a pair of major wins (Preakness/Gold Cup, Whitney/Woodward, Derby/Travers, respectively) that, along with a victory in this field, would make it pretty automatic. But can the same necessarily be said for Any Given Saturday, Hard Spun and Tiago?

Any Given Saturday would still have lost two of his three races against Street Sense even if he won this, and (G2) Dwyer + Haskell + (G2) Brooklyn isn't as compelling as the dual G1 triumphs listed above. As for Hard Spun, his only G1 victory this year came in a sprint. Tiago technically has two G1 route victories, but narrow decisions over King of the Roxy in the SA Derby and Awesome Gem in the Goodwood don't exactly make the blood run quicker.

A lot depends on how authoritatively the race is won, and what alternatives present themselves. If Dylan Thomas were to score his fifth international G1 victory of the year in the Turf and Awesome Gem won the Classic, would enough people consider Dylan Thomas for the American honor off a single U.S. start? If Nashoba's Key stayed undefeated winning the F&M Turf while the Classic ended in disarray, would it be 2002 all over again, when Volponi's Classic victory threw the HOTY title to Azeri? And if all the big names go down in flames Saturday, could Rags to Riches resurface as a candidate?

--You can't make a steeplechaser the Horse of the Year, but McDynamo deserves some kind of special statue for winning his fifth stright Breeders' Cup Steeplechase Saturday at Far Hills. The 10-year-old Dynaformer gelding, already a three-time Eclipse Award winner, will try to nail down a fourth title in the Colonial Cup Nov. 18.

--Cannonball, pre-entered for the BC Juvenile Turf but buried deep on the also-eligible list, instead ran Sunday at Belmont in the featured King Cugat Stakes and won by a nose at $16.40. Why Tonto, another BCJT entrant, ran fifth.

The result was not terribly flattering to The Leopard, one of the BCJT favorites. The horses who ran 2-3-4-5 behind him in the Pilgrim Sept. 29 returned to run 10-6-4-8 in the King Cugat.

Mrs. Lindsay's victory in Sunday's G1 (Can) E. P. Taylor at Woodbine doesn't reflect poorly on the BC F&M Turf chances of Passage of Time, who was third to Mrs. Lindsay last time out in the G1 (Fr) Prix Vermeille. On the other hand, Mrs. Lindsay scored by half a length over second choice Sealy Hill, who would be at least 20-1 in the BC race.

NYPlayer More than 1 year ago
Well, I don't think a win in the Classic means an automatic HOTY. If the voting were held today, which horse would be likely to win based on current records? I think Street Sense is clearly the most likely HOTY at the moment, and I think most Eclipse Award voters are likely to put up his number even if he runs a good second to Curlin or Lawyer Ron. Running second to any other horse would be as good as winning. Street Sense was 2yo champion last year, and was the first BC Juvenile winner to win the Derby which he ran in sensational style. He also won the Travers and there's the fact that he hasn't been worse than second in any race this year. Curlin's wins were not so popular, and he's had a couple of dissapointing efforts. He earned partial redemption with his victory over Lawyer Ron, and that effort knocked the "Lawyer Ron, Superhorse" idea. I think these two face an uphill battle in the opinion polls. Any idea anywhere I can get 2/1 on the Street Sense for HOTY?
Hammer More than 1 year ago
Can someone educate me regarding how cobra venom is suppose to help a horse run better. I know it is a nerve-killer, but other than that....
uplarge More than 1 year ago
love passage of time. mrs.lindsay set the track record at woodbine
Upstate Joe More than 1 year ago
Steve- This weekend I saw promo's from Capital OTB, that will have you betting a $5k Pick 6 on the behalf of qualifying customers on BC day. Will they have access to the actual tickets (therefore knowing your A, B, & C's) that you play before hand? That would be a nice advantage even if the Pick 6 does not work out. Or are they restricting you to a "caveman" ticket.
David More than 1 year ago
Steve, Relative to your "alternatives" scenarios, it appears that crowning a HOTY is really NOT a realistic exercise. The Azeri example plus that of Favorite Trick when he won HOTY as a 2YO prove that measuring these types of things is as difficult as the flawed system of selecting an NCAA College Football Champion in both the pre-BCS and post-BCS eras. The point being that the College Football teams don't/can't play each other in a true playoff system and as close as the BC gets us, Tiago can't do battle with Dylan Thomas if that scenario was to occur based on Saturday's results. The BC provides us a reasonable way to settle divisional championships. Could and should that be enough?
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
The only horses in Horse of the Year contention are Curlin, Dylan Thomas, Lawyer Ron, Nashoba's Key, and Street Sense. If Curlin, Lawyer Ron, or Street Sense wins the Classic than he is Horse of the Year. If they lose, then it will come down to Dylan Thomas and Nashoba's Key (assuming one of them wins). That's how I plan to vote, anyway.
Unbridled More than 1 year ago
rain, rain go away, how to handicap a sloppy day (bc)
AndyScoggin More than 1 year ago
I had the winner of the Canadian International at 18-1. Cloudy's Knight had run to stellar races at Woodbine in a G2 and a G1. Home court advantage was huge!! Will that be a factor at MTH for the BC? Hmmmm?
AJV More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Congrats on the latest sale of DRF to yet another "entity". Reading that you remain publisher is very comforting to those of us who resist change, but then I still choose to naively believe that Beautiful Belmont Park will never see slots installed in its cavernous grandstand. Please assure us that your new owners have only good things in store. We've come to depend heavily and you and DRF! Jim
Kenny Mac More than 1 year ago
Can Dylan Thomas be HOTY off one race in the Country? Is that possible, has that ever happenned before? I remember way back when All Along won it, but she had three wins. If any one has any info on a HOTY winner with 2 or less starts in the country, please share.