12/12/2002 12:00AM

Stumping for votes while twisting facts


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - This is one of the quieter weeks on the racing calendar, which makes it the perfect time to go over my Eclipse Award ballot.

Two-year-old male: With apologies to Toccet's owner, Dan Borislow, I'm not waiting until after the Hollywood Futurity to mark Vindication as champion juvenile colt.

Toccet is a cool horse, and if he wins out West next Saturday it will be his fourth graded stakes win at 1 1/16 miles or longer. That makes him a throwback, but not a champion. Not when the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner is unbeaten, and finished 16 lengths ahead of Toccet in their only meeting.

Toccet could win the Hollywood Futurity by 10 lengths, and win the admiration of racing people nationwide. But that should be as far as it goes.

At any rate, reading the multipage propoganda about Toccet in recent editions of Daily Racing Form has been quite entertaining, if only to see the 2-year-old past performances of Affirmed, Easy Goer, Secretariat, and the rest all laid out side by side.

But Borislow needs a better fact-checker if there's to be a second barrage of ads, because his "Challenge to Eclipse Award Voters" was riddled with inaccuracies:

* Claim: "Only Toccet has won both the Remsen and the Champagne Stakes."

Fact: Have we forgotten the mighty Greenwood Lake already?

* Claim: "Only Toccet and Spectacular Bid have ever won three graded races as 2-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles, ever."

Fact: I might have bought this one, except that the past performances for Silverbulletday were among Borislow's ad and show she won the Alcibiades, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and Golden Rod, all at 1 1/16 miles.

* Claim - "Breeders' Cup Day there was not a single winner on dirt that broke from post 6 outward."

Fact: Orientate won the Breeders' Cup Sprint from post 10.

As for the rest . . .

Two-year-old filly: Storm Flag Flying. After a 4-for-4 campaign capped by a game come-again surge in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, she should win unanimously.

Three-year-old male - Tough call! Who has the winning hand: War Emblem, with wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Haskell? Or Medaglia d'Oro, with wins in the Jim Dandy and Travers, a close second in the Belmont Stakes, and a runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, where he whipped every other sophomore of note?

The head-to-head matchup was tied at 2-2, and each colt was capable of turning in a stinker. Medaglia d'Oro finished 17 1/4 lengths behind War Emblem in the Preakness, and War Emblem finished 19 lengths behind Medaglia d'Oro in the Belmont.

At the end of the day, the Kentucky Derby-Preakness double trumps the Jim Dandy-Travers, so the one-dimensional speedball War Emblem gets a reluctant nod.

Three-year-old filly - Farda Amiga. The two most prestigious races in this division are the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama, and she won them both.

But unlike Flute, who didn't win this division in 2001 despite posting an Oaks-Alabama double, Farda Amiga solidified her position in the Breeders' Cup Distaff by defeating rival 3-year-olds Imperial Gesture and Take Charge Lady.

Older male - The ill-fated Left Bank. If only for a few weeks, he was the most brilliant Thoroughbred of the season, breaking Belmont's seven-furlong record with a 1:20.17 clocking in the Tom Fool Handicap and then stretching out in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney Handicap to equal Saratoga's 28-year-old mark with a time of 1:47.04.

Older female - Azeri. And because of circumstances, she gets my Horse of the Year vote without having to step outside of her division and take on the boys.

Turf male - High Chaparral. Group or Grade 1 wins in England, Ireland, and in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Turf female - Golden Apples. Horror trip in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Impossible to give it to Starine based on a 1-for-4 season.

Sprinter - Orientate. He was 6 for 6 sprinting on dirt in 2002, winning stakes at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Calder, Saratoga, and Arlington Park - where he overcame an inside bias in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.