01/21/2010 12:13PM

The Icon Project Vote


Put down the pitchforks and torches: That lone Eclipse vote for Icon Project over Zenyatta turns out to have been a simple case of human/mechanical error.


The DRF editor who cast the errant vote meant to select Zenyatta in the Older Filly or Mare category -- he in fact did vote for her as Horse of the Year. But when putting in his choices in the online balloting on deadline, he inadvertently typed his second choice into the first-place box and his third choice into the second-place box.

"I'm so sorry," the voter said. "There is no way I meant to do anything but put Zenyatta on top."

Given the voter's obvious (from his HOTY vote) intention to cast his ballot for Zenyatta, the Eclipse Award Steering Committee is in the process of re-certifying the results so that history will properly record that Zenyatta was in fact a unanimous selection as the champion Older Filly or Mare of 2009.

--The voting for Outstanding Owner was by far the most fractured, with the victorious Godolphin Racing receiving just 26.5 percent of the vote. Eleven different people or entities received votes, though only four candidates received more than 20 votes.

Each of the three voting groups went in different directions. The National Turf Writers gave 39 votes each to Godolphin and the Mosses; DRF chose Godolphin; and the NTRA picked Juddmonte narrowly over WinStar:


Ron-D More than 1 year ago
Steve, Great article on California Dreaming. With your ability to clearly analyse an issue it's no wonder you are "king of the pick 6". I have been going to S.A. for close to 45 years and your column was greatly appreciated.---Also on your visit out west, I asked you after the forum if you had thought about writng a book on Saratoga. You mentioned it was a possibility. Hope it is in the works!
John S. More than 1 year ago
The decision to change the vote in the Older Female category in the Eclipse Awards is being framed and reported as a feel-good story: a mistake was corrected and champion Zenyatta wins unanimously, after all, 232-0. If you look closely, however, there is not a lot to feel good about. The decision looks irresponsible, arbitrary and undermines the integrity of the Eclipse voting process. It should be embarrassing...It should not be reason enough to change the vote. Neither should the goal of giving Zenyatta even a deserved unanimous championship.... It would be nice to know the guidelines, if any, under which the decision was made because the rules and their integrity should not be malleable. Mistaken votes are cast in elections all the time. Voter intention is not open to interpretation. We all remember the war over hanging chads. No one, however, should be entitled to tamper with the integrity of the voting process. Yes, people make mistakes, and in a forgiving world they often are allowed to amend them. Not, though, in a ballot process where racing pays good money for certification to Ernst & Young. Not when the decision is made solely to make people feel better, to correct voter error, to give a horse a "historic" victory. In a world where integrity is paramount, the proper response would be, Tough luck but at least the right horse won.
Evan Gewirtz More than 1 year ago
Anyone who reads the Cristblog who has not read SC's column, "Trip prompts California dreaming," should go to DRF.com or crack open Sunday's DRF and read it. You should read it because, as many, if not all of you know, SA is considering a return to a dirt surface and SC has made many good points in his column. The avowed purpose of the change to synthetic surfaces in California was safety of the horses. Anyone with a scintilla of common sense knows that the CHRB decision, mandating the switch to synthetic surfaces, was done recklessly prematurely. Neverthless, if the evidence gathered since the switch overwhelmingly showed that synthetic tracks are safer for horses, then the premature decision to switch to synthetic would be irrelevant. However, the evidence regarding safety of synthetic as it compares to dirt is murky at best. Furthermore, SC made an excellent point that the best comparison of safety is Saratoga to Del Mar. SA should seize this opportuinty and return to dirt and hopefully we will never have a BC with dirt championship racing on a surface that is biased against dirt horses.
robert gustafson More than 1 year ago
I agree wholeheartedly about your comments about Santa Anita being a beautiful pace to spend the day at the track. It is even better if you can start the day with breakfast at Clockers Corner shortly after the sun has come up watching the horses workout.
Lorenzo More than 1 year ago
"Framing the synthetic debate, as some of the surfaces' proponents do, as a choice between white-knight safety advocates and selfish, disgruntled horseplayers is an offensive ploy that obscures the facts. If these new surfaces were clearly safer, everyone would adjust and get behind them, but neither the anecdotal nor scientific evidence suggests that is the case." Steve: Thanks for putting the polarized sides on this issue in there place. Your California dreaming article on the synthetic issue is the most even handed, fairest, and honest, that I have seen to date. I also was introduced to Santa Anita 38 years ago this month. And I totally agree with you. The best place in the world to attend the races.
jp More than 1 year ago
Are you playing the p6 at aqu today? Let us know how you played it. I love to see your insights on the p6s. Good luck Mr. Crist. YAHOO!!!!!!! [jp: It looked too tough to me, and it was -- I would have gotten skunked. I lost a little on the p4 instead of a lot on the p6. --SC]
Susan More than 1 year ago
Let's have a do-over, maybe this time they'll get it right!
fastjoey7 More than 1 year ago
Sprinter of the Year ought to be a horse not just capable, but sensational at 6 furlongs. Donovan Bailey the Olympic 100-Meters champion said after whipping Michael Johnson at a compromise 150-Meters: "Michael Johnson isn't a sprinter. He runs the 200. I whipped his ass and I'll whip it again." Sprinter of the Year ought to be a great 6 furlong horse unless he/she is so outstanding at 7 furlongs as to be legendary, like Rubiano. Rubiano was out of it in the BC sprint - but at 7 furlongs and a Mile he was consistently so sensational he's one of the all-time greats. Julie Krone called Rubiano the best horse she ever rode. So, in case of a sensation like that, yeah, a long sprinter makes a fine choice. Somehow, I don't think Kodiak Kowboy could warm up Rubiano. Pound for pound, the best 6 furlong horse I saw in 2010 was Fabulous Strike.
Saratoga_Mike More than 1 year ago
"At the risk of having my Belmont and Saratoga privileges revoked, I'll just say it: There is no prettier or more pleasant place in America to spend a day at the races than Santa Anita." -Steven Crist, 1/22/10 How quickly you forget Restaurant Row and your Hattie's fried chicken runs...shame on you!
Bochalls More than 1 year ago
Been searching the boards Steve, and I cant find any mention of your speech (if you will) before presenting the Eclipse for Handicapper Of The Year. You hit 'em with a great line (when referring to bettors),"...without whom many of you would be racing for blue ribbons at state fairs." Well fargin done mate! The truth if I've ever heard it. Thanks.