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The Eclipse Voting
[Note: Cristblog is on hiatus until February 18th.]
BEVERLY HILLS -- A squeaker for 3-year-old, a mild upset for older male and the lack of a single unanimous selection were the talk of the 41st annual Eclipse Awards tonight at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
You can find the complete voting totals at the bottom of this post.
Horse of the Year was a foregone conclusion and the balloting was even more lopsided than many expected. Havre de Grace got 166 of the 244 votes cast (there were four abstentions) and outpolled her nearest rival by better than 6-1. It was a long way back to Acclamation in second place with 26 votes, followed by Game On Dude with 10, Cape Blanco with 9 and Drosselmeyer, Royal Delta and Tizway with 6 apiece. Rapid Redux, honored for his 19-for-19 season with a special Eclipse, received 4 HOTY votes.
As in all divisions, the three announced finalists were determined by their overall score from 1st, 2nd and 3rd place votes using a 10-5-1 point system, thus Cape Blanco rather than Game On Dude was the third HOTY finalist along with Havre de Grace and Acclamation even though he received one fewer first-place vote than Game On Dude,
Three divisions had appeared in doubt when the evening began, but only one of them nearly ended in a dead-heat. In one of the closest divisional-title margins ever, Animal Kingdom nosed out Caleb's Posse by a vote of 114-111. Neither was an entirely satisfactory choice -- Animal Kingdom did not win a race after the Derby and Caleb's Posse did not run in the classics and did his best work in 7f and 8f races. Opinion was obviously closely divided, and the outcome was also determined by the surprising 22 voters who chose to go in an entirely different direction -- 12 voted for Shackleford, 5 for Ruler on Ice, 4 for Stay Thirsty and 1 for Uncle Mo.
A close three-way race was expected for Champion Older Male but Acclamation scored a handier victory than most predicted, getting 95 votes to 70 for Game On Dude and 52 for Tizway. Drosselmeyer was next with 21.
The Female Sprinter award seemed in doubt but turned out to be a blowout: BC F&M Sprint winner Musical Romance got 135 votes to 53 for Hilda's Passion and 46 for Sassy Image.
There were no unanimous selections. My Miss Aurelia came closest, getting 247 of 248 votes for champion 2-year-old filly, with one going to Stephanie's Kitten. Havre de Grace got 245 of 248 for Older Filly and Royal Delta got 243 of 248 for 3-year-old filly. There was the usual handful of inexplicable votes in almost every division -- I particularly liked the lone votes for Court Vision as Horse of the Year and Drosselmeyer as Turf Male -- but such are the pitfalls of democracy.
About the food: There was a cocktail hour starting at 4 p.m. Pacific time, and as the 400+ guests sat down at tables of 10 for the awards ceremony an hour later, there was a plate with four canapes in front of each place setting. There was as much wine as you could drink for the next three hours but those four lonely hors d'ouevres turned out to be all the food until a buffet opened at 8 p.m. when the ceremonies ended. This would have been plenty of reason for repeated displays of public intoxication by award recipients, but no one appeared to be badly overserved.
Your correspondent skipped the buffet and rushed back to his room to compose this entry, ordering a cup of chicken soup, a club sandwich and a diet 7-Up from room service. The tab: $63.00 without gratuity. Welcome to Beverly Hills.
The complete results for the equine awards follows:
Race of the day for sunday PPs is coming up as friday SA race 7 instead of Sunday SA #7 the San Antonio.
Steve Crist.. I thought you may have a few words about the NHC ' here' If I am looking at the wrong blog, or cyberspace for that matter ...my Bad. oh well, I will post here... It was nice seeing you again this year at the NHC. DRF / NTRA put on a nice show, and your speech at the awards Banquet was superb. I'm looking for a video of the awards banquet speeches, including yours and the winner Michael Beychoks, and can't find them. Both of you should be commended for your content, you rallying for the handicapper and his burdens with track take out, and IRS issues...and that there may be ( baby steps) in recourse some day. And Michael Beychok, a humble, and thankful speech to all he knows, supported him, and loves. I liked his touch on recognizing Dan Illmans Formblog. DRF , has a win-win situtation here. Dan Illman & Mike Beers handicapping segments are just terrific. Perhaps they can come and cover the NHC next year? I love their natural interaction, and they look Great on video ! A positive PR tool for sure, ...but just my humble opinion..having been in marketing and Sales in my previous endeavors :) Anyway, whenever I see you ( at a Saratoga Boutique? , ) or another NHC contest, you have always been generous with your time, and very fan friendly. Thank you. Chalky ( that adorable furry critter) & I look forward to seeing you next year. Keep up the good work.!
Hi Steve, Where Are You Today? If in Las Vegas, I'm envious! If, unfortunately, in the dreary and empty Aqueduct Clubhouse. Forgetaboutit! Seriously, please refresh your last Blog, dated 1/17.2012, and post any additional comments received regarding your unusual experience at the Beverly Hills Eclipse Award Dinner! Professional Handicappers would enjoy additional comments submitted in response to your thoughts about the individual Eclipse Award Winners, especially the validity of Harve de Grace selected as the HOY Award Winner! One final thought: Why in the world you, or any sane person, order a Club Sandwich using Room Service in the Beverly Hills Hotel? I have traveled the World , by Air Land and Sea and never ordered or eaten a Club Sandwich. in my humble judgment, it's the worst sandwich ever created by Mankind, often disguised as a Gourmet Chef! I would have opted for the Dinner Buffet, irrespective of any meaningless DRF Deadline and ducked the outrageous $63 Tab (Tip Excluded!) Steve, as usual, Good Luck and Good Health! Diceman
Hi Steve, Thanks for your wrap- up article on the Eclipse Awards. Deeply appreciated! With all due respect, I totally disagree with the voting for Older Male and HOY Award Winners. I posted a lengthy comment in Jay's DRF Blog stating my logical reasons why Drosselmeyer, the "Big D," deserved the Older Male and HOY Awards. In short, I cited the prestigeous International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) recently released 2011 Ranking as the basis for "D" being the deserving Winner of the two Awards mentioned above. As you know,The IFHA is composed of the World's most Distinguished and Professional Racing Secretaries! In their Rankings, "D" was ranked 14th in the World and weighted ar 124 pounds, and ranked higher than any other USA Bred Horse. The Older Male Winner, Acclamation, was ranked 17th at 123 pounds, The HOY Award Winner, Harve de Grace, was ranked 59th at 120 pounds. Based on the IFHA Rankings, "D" was the clear objective winner in both categories. In fact, "D" demolished His Breeders Classic field, the most important race on the Annual USA Racing Calendar! Finally, what's disturbing and surprising is that neither you nor other DRF Racing Writers have mentioned the IFHA Rankings relative to their subjective votes in the 2011 Eclipse Awards Program! Diceman
I personally can't believe HDG won HOY when it was Acclamation's, but I do know one thing. The Eclipse Awards aren't what I thought they were. I mean Acclamation wins 5/7 races at middle to longer distances against some mean horses and HDG wins 5/7 races at middle distances against fillies who run a mile in 2 minutes.
I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH ANY OF THE WINNERS. THIS YEAR ONLY A FEW CLEAR WINNERS.THE SHOW WAS WEAK LIKE A HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCTION. THE SOUND AND THE MC WAS WEAK.I WAS HAPPY TO SEE THE RAPID REDUX CREW GIVEN A SHOT AT THE TOP.HE IS NO ZENYATTA OR RACHEL BUT HEROS COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES AND CLASSES. THIS GAME NEEDS HEROS WEATHER STAKES OR THE EVERY DAY HORSE.
I feel the filly divisions of Aureilia, Delta and Gracey should ALL have been unanimous. They stood out, IMO. I go along with Hansen ; but I believe Union Rags would beat him 4 out of 5. I was pleased to see Jeannine Edwards be awarded her spot. She has done some nice work over the years and is horse knowledgeable. Now to wait until the real racing begins again. Divot80
Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to the nominees as well. There were some fun and exciting races this past year but in reality it was a year that will be easily forgotten and quite frankly pales in comparison with the last three years. Havre de Grace is a lovely mare but not a great mare. Perhaps she will step up to that level this year. Thanks to Mr. Porter for keeping her in the game. Let's hope this next year is more exciting with new stars to cheer for.
Make public the names and how they voted, some might reconsider their seemingly ludicrous votes. Steep meal/snack.....hope you didn't have to pay to park.
Steven: thanks for the breakdown on the award results. Really, $63 for room service? Maybe you could detail how much each item cost? Can it be more than 5 dollars for the 7UP? And a buffet for awards night? Couldn't they send out invitations with a choice of three entrees: beef, fish and chicken? Buffet seems a little tacky for the "Sport of Kings" doesn't it? Of course, they could have flown in a few thousand pieces of Hatties and my bet is that you would have stayed for said buffet----or at least grabbed some to bring back to room!!!!! Safe trip home. Any chance you'll be coming to the newly revised Albany teletheatre in the near future?