11/24/2009 1:38PM

No Dual Option


Eclipse Award voters will not be given the option of naming Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta as joint Horse of the Year honorees, it was decided Tuesday morning by a 2-1 vote of the three organizations that present the awards.

The proposal to alow voters to choose co-winners this year was supported by Daily Racing Form but opposed by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the National Turf Writers Association.

Any "split" votes will not be counted. The net result is that the only way both horses could win the award is in the highly unlikely case of a statistical dead-heat among the roughly 250 voters.

I'm on record as supporting a dual-winners option and was disappointed by the outcome. I'll make a choice by Jan. 4, when ballots are due, and root for that highly unlikely statistical dead-heat.

It will be interesting to see if in fact every HOTY vote will be cast for one of the two favorites or whether a close vote might be decided by the oddball selections some voters feel compelled to cast. Last year, for example, Curlin (154), Zenyatta (69) and Big Brown (13) combined to receive only 235 of the 242 HOTY votes; there were two votes cast for Raven's Pass, two abstensions, and one each for Einstein, Goldikova and Peppers Pride. Curlin received 239 of the 242 champion older-male votes, with one each going to Albertus Maximus, Commentator and Go Between. Zenyatta got 240 of the 242 champion older-filly votes, with two people voting for Ginger Punch.