01/05/2012 2:46PM

2011 Eclipse Awards: Creative Cause

Shigeki Kikkawa

Not every good 2-year-old who raced in Southern California in 2011 resided in Bob Baffert’s barn.

Creative Cause, trained by Mike Harrington for owner Heinz Steinmann, may have been the West Coast’s best juvenile prospect in 2011 with a 3-for-5 record that included victories in the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar and an emphatic 3 1/4-length score in the Garde 1 Norfolk at Santa Anita. Those victories, combined with a second-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity and third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, earned Creative Cause a spot as a finalist for the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old colt or gelding.

[MORE: Complete list of 2011 Eclipse Awards finalists | Vote for Horse of the Year and win]

Harrington actually purchased Creative Cause, a son of Giant’s Causeway, for Steinmann without ever seeing him in person. Harrington attended the Fasig-Tipton Select 2-year-old-in-training sale in March at Palm Meadows hoping to find not only a good racehorse, but also one who could develop into a good stallion prospect. Steinmann wanted a stallion to replace the aging Swiss Yodeler, a Grade 1 winner whom Harrington and Steinmann campaigned together in the mid-1990s and who just turned 18 years old.

At the sale, Harrington bumped into Becky Thomas, a consignor who Harrington had dealt with for many years. Thomas, in partnership with Dennis Narlinger, had purchased Creative Cause, a son of Giant’s Causeway out of the million-dollar earning mare Dream of Summer, for $135,000 as a yearling.

Thomas was pointing Creative Cause to the March sale but had to withdraw him because of a suspensory issue. She told Harrington she thought the horse would be okay. Harrington trusted Thomas and eventually bought the horse for $200,000.

Creative Cause debuted at Hollywood Park on July 16 and romped to a 4 3/4-length victory going five furlongs. Three weeks later, at Del Mar, Creative Cause cruised to a 1 3/4-lenth victory in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes. Sent off the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7, Creative Cause finished third, beaten one length by Drill. Creative Cause was elevated to second when the stewards correctly ruled that runner-up Majestic City had interfered with him in the stretch.

Creative Cause was visually impressive when stretched out for the first time in the Grade 1 Norfolk at Santa Anita, where he stalked the pace-setting Ruler of Dubai before taking command in upper stretch and drawing clear to a 3 1/4-length victory.

That race propelled him to second choice behind Champagne winner Union Rags in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. In that race, Creative Cause stalked the pace-setting Hansen but could not get by and ended up third, beaten one length. Creative Cause had been kicked by his stable pony in the week leading up to the Juvenile, but Harrington did not use that as an excuse. On Dec. 30, Creative Cause returned to the work tab and will be pointed to the Grade 2, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Feb. 19.


Date Track Race Finish Chart Distance Time Beyers Video
11/5/11 CD BC Juvenile 3rd 1 1/16 mile 1:44.44 92 Video
10/01/11 SA Norfolk Stakes 1st 1 1/16 mile 1:42.66 84 Video
9/07/11 DMR Del Mar Futurity 2nd 7 furlongs 1:22.00 88 Video
8/07/11 DMR Best Pals 1st 6 1/2 furlongs 1:15.60 88 Video

Creative Cause

Breeder: James C. Weigel 
Trainer: Mike Harrington
Owner: Heinz Steinmann
Record: 3-2-1-0
Best Beyer: 98