01/01/2010 4:57PM

Grade 1's of 2009


2009onecent Last weekend's Malibu and La Brea were the last of 2009's 113 Grade 1 races in the United States, and the top of the year's leaderboard bears an uncanny resemblance to the list of likely Eclipse Award winners that will be announced later this month.

Only three horses won more than three Grade 1's in 2009: Rachel Alexandra (5), Gio Ponti (4) and Zenyatta (4). The three of them are without question the leading contenders for Horse of the Year and are likely to walk away with a combined five Eclipse Awards (HOTY, 3-year-old filly, older male, grass male, older female) on Jan. 18.

Only six other horses won as many as three Grade 1 races -- Informed Decision, Kodiak Kowboy, Lookin at Lucky, Magical Fantasy, Summer Bird and Zensational -- and at least five of those six are prime contenders for other divisional championships: Lookin at Lucky (champion 2-year-old), Summer Bird (champion 3-year-old), Informed Decision (female sprinter), and either Kodiak Kowboy or Zensational as champion male sprinter.

Those nine winners of at least three Grade 1's combined to win 31 of the year's 113 such races. Another 11 runners each won two Grade 1's: Blind Luck, Diamondrella, Einstein, Flashing, Life is Sweet, Music Note, Presious Passion, Seventh Street, Stardom Bound, Take the Points and Ventura. That makes a total of 20 horses who won two or more Grade 1 races last year, and another 60 who won one apiece.

Among handlers and passengers, Bob Baffert topped all trainers with 10 Grade 1's, one more than Saeed Bin Suroor and three more than Steve Asmussen. Christophe Clement and John Shireffs were next with 6 apiece. Todd Pletcher's runners cashed the most checks, with just 4 wins but 9 seconds and 10 thirds.

Garrett Gomez led all jockeys with 11 Grade 1's, followed by Julien Leparoux and Mike Smith with 9 each, Kent Desormeaux with 8 and Ray Maragh with 7.

The complete roster appears below. Click HERE for a link to a downloadable spreadsheet, and there's also a handy searchable graded-stakes database I find useful at www.thoroughbredreport.com.


jp More than 1 year ago
Good point Steve about the p4 carryovers. I guess it only works if they have 1 p4 although hawthorne had one on fri that carryed into sat on the first p4 races 2-5. i normally dont play hawthorne but I to am from jersey and when a friend of mine told me about it, I played and lost. i wanted some action and my options were limited. No turf racing at calder and tampa bay. Not aloud to bet sa or other magna tracks. Sunday was real fun. Aqu and phi cancelled due to cold. laurel,sa, and gulf no signal. so I wound up paying 6 bucks for my form to bet tampa. I hope these knuckleheads settle this soon. I am going to start going to the race palace on weekends so I can bet sa and gulf. I recommend that to all my fellow jersey guys. and they have a one day handicapping contest once a year that I was in last year. Thanks for the time and courtesy, Steve.
SherpaGuide More than 1 year ago
Very nice to see Quality Road back in the mix yesterday...you'd never know what had happened before the BC Classic...nice win!!
george quinn More than 1 year ago
Congratulations to Quality Road for comebacker with class. Not to be said for Gulfstream Park. I have had Florida Derby tickets second level on the finish line since 1980. I give them away to people now. Terrible plant. GQ
sisters in racing More than 1 year ago
steve..my comment is not about your latest blog but i feel it has to be said. kathleen o'connell made history yesterday by winning the training title at calder...the first female trainer to do so in the 39 year history of calder. i own horses and have worked with several trainers in different regions and they all work very hard but none as hard as ko. she is totally deicated to the needs of her horses. i could go on and on about this totally genuine and wonderful person...
jim More than 1 year ago
Steve, Talk about being shut out... anyone want to be in our jersey race fans shoes. shut out of GP, SA, Laurel and some of the other magna tracks. Did i forget FG also? We need night racing back at Atlantic City to fill the old Garden State Park void.
jp More than 1 year ago
Thanks Steve. Put it on the list of things we would like to change about ny racing. I love those pick 4 carryovers. Free money. YAHOO!!!!!!!
jp More than 1 year ago
Steve, is there a pick 4 carryover at aqu wed. or do they pay the whole pool to the people who had 3 of 4. Hoping for a carryover like most tracks do.YAHOO!!!!!! [jp: Nope, they paid it all out in consos, as per state law. -SC]
steven_crist More than 1 year ago
Walt: Eclipse Awards are for a calendar year, regardless of whether a track "considers" them run the following year. The Malibu and La Brea were for 3-year-olds of 2009. Emily: No knock on the gallant old jumpers, but the races deemed "Grade 1" by steeplechase officials are not so designated by the Graded Stakes Committee and are not recognized as graded races.
Emily More than 1 year ago
Mixed Up won two G1 steeplechases this year-the AP Smithwick Memorial at Saratoga and the Colonial Cup at Camden. I think steeplechases count.
robert ginnerty More than 1 year ago
Two females ruled the earnings list for 2009 for the first time. Zenyatta was number one at $3,330,000 and Rachel Alexandra was second at $2,746,914. Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year.