Claiborne, Al Stall part ways

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Churchill: Claiborne, Al Stall part ways
Barbara D. Livingston
Departing earned almost $2 million for Claiborne Farm and trainer Al Stall.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The last four horses whom Al Stall Jr. trained for Claiborne Farm have been shipped out to other trainers, thus ending a lengthy relationship that peaked with their Breeders’ Cup Classic victory with Blame in 2010.

SirePowered Results: Blame

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SirePowered Results: Blame
Tom Keyser
March wins the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday.

A big day of racing in the United States became a big day for young sire Blame, as he posted winners at two major tracks.

According to Daily Racing Form’s SirePowered Results, Blame was represented on Saturday by March, winner of the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct with a Beyer Speed Figure of 89; and later, Conquest Archangel, who captured a maiden special weight at Keeneland with a 75.

Blame, Quality Road top new sires weanling sales

The two Kentucky mixed sales in November offered buyers their first look at foals from a number of new sires.

Twenty-two first-crop sires had weanlings cataloged at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale and the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, including five champions, three winners of Triple Crown races, and two Breeders’ Cup winners.

While the mixed sales give buyers a chance to get in on the ground floor with a young stallion’s offspring, the potential comes with the risk of the unknown when buying foals of unproven stallions.

In head-to-head battle at the ballot box, Blame comes up short

Justin N. Lane
Blame narrowly beat Zenyatta in the BC Classic, but was nosed out for Horse of the Year.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Blame won the battle, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but lost the ultimate war when Zenyatta was named Horse of the Year at Monday night’s Eclipse Award ceremonies. Neither Blame’s trainer, Al Stall Jr., or owner, Claiborne Farm’s Seth Hancock, were surprised in the least by the announcement, they said.

Zenyatta vs. Blame: David Grening's vote for Horse of the Year

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The Horse of the Year winner will be announced Monday night. Watch for full coverage. Profiles of Eclipse finalists >>

Going into the Breeders' Cup Classic, it was a widely held belief that if one of four horses won the race -- Blame, Lookin at Lucky, Quality Road, or Zenyatta -- he or she would clinch Horse of the Year. There was no caveat for margin of victory or defeat.

Zenyatta vs. Blame: Mike Beer's vote for Horse of the Year

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Another year of Zenyatta, another debate over Horse of the Year. What else is new? I get that there isn’t a set criteria that a voter has to abide by. I also get that with our horses making fewer and fewer starts throughout the year that some amount of thinking may have to occur "outside the box." I guess that accounts for the extra credit I keep hearing about, which can be earned for getting spots on mainstream TV channels. Yet I still don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Didn’t get it last year; don’t get it this year.

Zenyatta vs. Blame: Dave Litfin's vote for Horse of the Year

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I’m voting for Blame.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fervent admirer of Zenyatta and I’ve never rooted so hard for a horse to get up in the stretch as I did for her in the Classic, even though I had no financial stake since Dakota Phone had long since turned my pick-four tickets to confetti.

But Zenyatta didn’t get there despite a relatively clean trip with no loss of ground or momentum. She had dead aim, but Blame held her off fair and square.

2010 Eclipse Awards Blame

Justin N. Lane
Blame narrowly beat Zenyatta in the BC Classic, but was nosed out for Horse of the Year.

It was March in New Orleans, and Al Stall spent part of every morning tinkering with Blame. A jog here, a gallop there; nothing too serious. Stall would look out across the Fair Grounds racetrack, not entirely pleased with the condition of the dirt surface. Here was an exercise in patience.

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