07/14/2011 6:50PM

Horse racing can’t spring any upsets at ESPN’s ESPY awards


There was a lot of chalk at the ESPYs this year, which meant no extra love for horse racing.

While horse racing-related nominations were put up in both the Best Sports Movie and Best Upset categories of ESPN’s annual Excellence in Sport Performance Yearly awards, the only racing winner came out of the Best Jockey category.

Kentucky Derby-winning jockey John Velazquez was crowned as the best jockey during the ceremonies, which were hosted in Los Angeles by actor and comedian Seth Myers.

All categories are voted on by fans. The fans chose Velazquez over Garret Gomez – who rode Blame to victory in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic over Zenyatta – and the 2010 earnings leader, Ramon Dominguez. According to Daily Racing Form’s handicapping of the ESPYs, Velazquez had 2-1 odds going into the event, with Dominguez favored at 3-2.

The voters went all chalk in the other categories, which meant that no other horse racing nominees came out with victories.

“Secretariat”, which DRF set at 4-1, was nominated for the Best Sports Movie award but lost to “The Fighter” at 3-2. Also nominated for the category were “Soul Surfer” (19-1) and “Win Win” (2-1).

Blame’s surprising win over Zenyatta, despite her furious comeback, lost in the Best Upset category and had been rated at 3-1 entering the event. It lost to the story of 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth University (2-1), which made it to the Final Four of this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. Fabricio Werdum’s stunning mixed martial arts win (3-1) and the Seattle Seahawks defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFL playoffs (5-1) also were in the running.