12/10/2014 12:05PM

Giwner: JK She'salady should be clear-cut Horse of the Year winner

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Ken Weingartner
JK She'salady went undefeated in 2014.

Sometimes I’m left baffled. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or from blogs, I can’t help but notice the lack of support being thrown the way of JK She’salady for Horse of the Year.

In “what have you done for me lately” style, the flavor of the moment for the title is Sweet Lou. Fresh off a very impressive TVG Final win at the Meadowlands to cap off a stellar campaign, I wouldn’t say that he doesn’t deserve the honor as the best horse of 2014, but why does he deserve it more than Father Patrick, McWicked, Shake It Cerry, or Nuncio? All four have earned a similar amount of money and have equal if not better win totals.

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But this column is not about why others don’t deserve the top honor in the sport. I’m writing to make a case why 2-year-old filly pacer JK She’salady should be a no-brainer for Horse of the Year honors from the United States Harness Writers Association.

1) JK She’salady was perfect! She never lost a race! Whether you are a $2,500 claimer or the best horse in the country, it is not easy to win all of your races. Yes, He’s Watching did it in 2013 as a 2-year-old, but he competed in fewer races (8 vs. 12) and never left New York the entire year. See You At Peelers won all 13 of her races in 2010 and failed to win the title, but she only left NY once (Breeders Crown) and was unlucky to go undefeated in the same year that Rock N Roll Heaven was an amazing 15-for-20 winning over $2 million.

It is easier for a rookie to post a perfect season, but let’s not talk about a perfect season as if it doesn’t mean that much because it came against 2-year-olds.

2) JK She’salady faced the best fillies in her division all year! She did not duck any big races or any of her main rivals. She won at six different tracks and took home the three richest races in her division (She’s A Great Lady, Three Diamonds, and Breeders Crown). Not one of the other nominees won the top three events in their age/sex classes.

3) JK She’salady won $883,330 in a division offering only seven $100,000-plus stakes races and just three worth over $200,000. Compare that to Father Patrick and Nuncio, who had 13 opportunities over $200K. McWicked (13), Sweet Lou (12) and Shake It Cerry (5) each had more $200K-plus chances during the year. Simply put, while she didn’t earn as much money as some of her HOY rivals, she didn’t have the possibility of accomplishing it either. So, any earnings argument against her is null and void in my book.

4) JK She’salady faced quality foes. Top rival Sassa Hanover won nine of 13 races and even lured Yannick Gingras off JK She’salady prior to the Breeders Crown. Do we ultimately know how good the crop of fillies will be? No, but it’s not like she was beating up on no-talent plugs.

5) JK She’salady won her races in impressive fashion. She made spectacular moves from the back of the pack and overcame every bad trip (and there were a lot of them). She even changed tactics in her most important race—Breeders Crown—to post a victory on the front end. Plus, she ranked as the second fastest (1:50 1/5) 2-year-old of the year behind colt pacer In The Arsenal (1:49 4/5).

I would stop short of criticizing a pick other than JK She’salady for Horse of the Year, but with the exception of maybe Shake It Cerry, I can’t say I saw a more consistently impressive horse from start to finish than JK She’salady. She is the only horse from 2014 that never disappointed and had no lulls in her performance. She was perfect!

 

John Cicale More than 1 year ago
Come on man. Older pacers have no chance of a "perfect" season given the infinitely tougher competition. I'm impressed but not overly so by JK;s accomplishment. The fact is that no pacer is ever going to have as great an overall and dominating season as Sweet Lou has; the horse ran more sub 1:48 miles than any horse in history, and I venture that that is practically a miracle that will not be surpassed. I'm a bigger fan of Foiled Again but Sweet Lou is clearly the horse of the year and possibly pacer of the decade.
Birchard Craig More than 1 year ago
Your assessment is right on the money! JKShe'salady danced every big dance that a 2 year old could dance and won them all! Horse of the Year should go to a horse who epitomizes winning and when you win them all especially at the highest level, there is no more argument. Shake It Cerry is the only other horse who comes close and she won them all except for 1.
Frank More than 1 year ago
The people that vote for these awards are bone heads -- just like the thoroughbred world bone heads who are voting for CC. This year is easy -- Mission Brief -- no doubt about it. This may be the greatest trotter of all times.