01/12/2011 3:38PM

Zenyatta vs. Blame: Steve Andersen's vote for Horse of the Year

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The near-perfect campaign by Zenyatta in 2010 was enough for her to merit the title as Horse of the Year.

Consider the status of Zenyatta and her leading rival Blame as they entered the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.

Zenyatta has already clinched her third consecutive Eclipse Award title as outstanding older female after winning five consecutive Grade 1 stakes in Arkansas and California from March to October. In the BC Classic, she was attempting to join Tiznow as the only two-time winner of the race, and the first female to accomplish such a remarkable feat.

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Blame had everything to race for in the BC Classic. He had to finish in front of Quality Road just to clinch the champion older male award. In winning, Blame made a compelling argument for Horse of the Year by holding off a furious run from Zenyatta to prevail by a head in an epic race. In doing so, he did something no other horse in history accomplished – he beat Zenyatta.

For Blame, it was a career-defining performance, but just his third Grade 1 win of 2010.

For Zenyatta, it was her only loss, the exception in a career of perfection, but a performance valiant enough to merit racing’s greatest annual honor.

Next on Friday, Jan. 14: David Grening

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