Updated on 09/18/2011 1:28AM

Some divisions clear, some cloudy

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When Invasor passed Bernardini in deep stretch for a one-length victory in the Classic, he likely secured Horse of the Year honors.

Invasor, owned by Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum's Shadwell Stable, likely clinched Horse of the Year and champion older horse by defeating his main rivals for both of those awards, Bernardini and Lava Man, respectively, in the Classic. He got a Beyer Speed Figure of 116.

Bernardini, owned by Sheikh Hamdan's brother Sheikh Mohammed, will be the front-runner for champion 3-year-old, based on a year that saw him win the Preakness, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup before finishing a close second to the older Invasor in the Classic.

Yet while the Breeders' Cup, as is its custom, largely decided the champions in several divisions - most notably among 2-year-olds - a string of upsets left several titles up for grabs with less than two months remaining in the year.

For instance, the victory in the Sprint by Thor's Echo coupled with the dreadful performance by favored Henny Hughes leaves the sprint championship wide open. The Sprint marked the first win of the year for Thor's Echo, who got a Beyer Speed Figure of 116. He has competed admirably throughout the year, with second-place finishes in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen and Grade 1 Ancient Title, but voters are likely to want to see more.

With that in mind, trainer Doug O'Neill is sending Thor's Echo to Maryland for the Grade 1 De Francis Dash on Nov. 25 at Laurel Park in the hopes that a victory there will bring Thor's Echo an Eclipse Award.

"He's leaving for Maryland on Tuesday," O'Neill said.

Discreet Cat also now becomes a major player for the sprint championship. Discreet Cat, widely perceived as the best horse not to run in the Breeders' Cup, sent Invasor to the lone defeat of his career, in the United Arab Emirates Derby in March. After a training setback, Discreet Cat has been a dazzling winner of two races this summer. He is scheduled to run in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 25, and though the distance of that race is not normally associated with sprinters, there is precedence for voters to hold that race in high regard, since it is around one turn and is a Grade 1. Two years ago, Pico Central lost the Cigar Mile, and with it a shot at a sprint title.

If Discreet Cat were to win the Cigar Mile, or if he is re-routed to the De Francis Dash and wins that Grade 1 race, he too could bring home an Eclipse Award for the Maktoum family. Bordonaro, Henny Hughes, and Siren Lure accomplished the most during the year, but all were soundly beaten on Saturday, with Bordonaro's fourth-place finish the best of that trio.

Upset victories by Miesque's Approval in the Mile and Red Rocks in the Turf also left the male turf championship in flux. A compelling case could certainly be made for Miesque's Approval, who has won 5 times in 7 starts this year, including a victory over last year's Mile winner, Artie Schiller, in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in the spring.

But the BC Mile, in which Miesque's Approval got a Beyer Figure of 109, marked the lone Grade 1 win this year for him. There are several other grass runners who had outstanding years and will receive serious consideration from voters.

Aragorn won twice in Grade 1 company and was second in two more Grade 1 races, including the Mile. Long-distance specialists Cacique (two Grade 1 wins) and English Channel (three Grade 1 wins) also should receive support, though both disappointed in the Turf. English Channel did beat Miesque's Approval the one time they met, in a minor stakes at Gulfsteam Park in March.

The biggest beneficiary of Saturday's grass results might be a horse who was not there. The Tin Man was kept out of the Turf because he was not training to the satisfaction of his trainer, Richard Mandella. But The Tin Man beat both Cacique and English Channel in the Arlington Million, later captured the Clement Hirsch Handicap, and was second in the Dubai Duty Free earlier in the year. He also is back in training, and if he makes the Grade 1 Citation Handicap on Nov. 24 at Hollywood Park, that could prove to be a title-deciding race.

Red Rocks, who got a Beyer Figure of 111, seems unlikely to get much consideration based on his lone win in this country.

By contrast, the great mare Ouija Board put herself in position to win an Eclipse Award with her victory in the Filly and Mare Turf, in which she got a Beyer Figure of 108. She completed a similar parlay two years ago. The difference between Ouija Board and Red Rocks is a matter of perception. Ouija Board quite rightly is thought of as the best of her division, so voters will likely have less problem rewarding her despite the fact that she made just one start in this country this year.

The only filly who could have stopped the Ouija Board championship express might have been Gorella, the Beverly D. winner, but she was seventh in the Mile. Film Maker and Honey Ryder had strong years, but were no match for Ouija Board on Saturday.

Round Pond, who might have been the nation's best 3-year-old filly last year, seems resigned to another also-ran finish in this year's race for champion older filly or mare. Although she won the Distaff, with a Beyer Figure of 100, it was her only Grade 1 win of the year. The division's pro-tem leader, Fleet Indian, won her first six starts of the year, including two Grade 1 races, before being pulled up in the Distaff with damaged suspensory ligaments in her left front leg.

Older fillies and mares dominated the Distaff, after which Pine Island was euthanized. Pine Island accomplished more than any other 3-year-old filly this year, which should bring her a posthumous award, regardless of any sentiment that comes her way because of the Distaff.

There also may be sentimental leanings for Barbaro for 3-year-old male, and though his Derby victory was brilliant, voters are likely to conclude that Bernardini simply accomplished more during the year. Bernardini's only loss, other than in his debut against maidens, was to the likely Horse of the Year.

Both Dreaming of Anna, the Juvenile Fillies winner, and Street Sense, who won the Juvenile, should be slam dunks in their divisions, being as they beat all their logical rivals in championship-deciding races. Street Sense got a Beyer Figure of 108, and Dreaming of Anna got a 90.

The Eclipse Award for champion jockey remains elusive. Frankie Dettori, who is based in Great Britain, was the riding star of the day with two wins. Garrett Gomez, the nation's leader in purse earnings, was shut out, as were Victor Espinoza and John Velazquez. Corey Nakatani (Thor's Echo) and Edgar Prado (Round Pond) won one race each.

Among trainers, Todd Pletcher has set a single-season record for purse earnings, but he was shut out on Saturday with 17 starters. Pletcher had 3 seconds and 3 thirds, though, and his horses came away with $2,160,200 in earnings for the day. Pletcher was disappointed he did not win, but refused to let one day cast a pall over the year.

Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Invasor, raised his Eclipse Award candidacy. He also won the Belmont Stakes with Jazil earlier this year.

Voters are also likely to give serious consideration to Michael Matz. He won the Derby with Barbaro, and returned to Churchill Downs six months later to win the Distaff with Round Pond.