ELMONT, NY, June 6, 2011--Interesting piece penned by Steven Crist recently on how under the right circumstances the Belmont Stakes winner that also won another leg of the Triple Crown series often has emerged with a divisional Eclipse Award at year’s end.
History certainly has proven to be on the side of a would-be champion that was a Double Crown winner. In the last 15 years, 10 3-year-olds won two legs in the series and every one was named divisional champion. since the inception of Eclipse Awards, 21 of 23 Double Crown winners was voted 3-year-old champion.
The two non-Double Crown winners performed extraordinary feats to snatch the title away from the division’s leaders. In 1972, Key to the Mint won the Travers and beat his elders thrice, taking the Brooklyn, Whitney and Woodward.
Twenty-two years later, Holy Bull finished his season with victories in the Met Mile, Dwyer, Haskell, Travers and Woodward, giving him two victories over older horses. Interesting, too, these colts had the Midsummer Derby in common.
Not only does Eclipse history favor winners of the Double Crown but this season there are two colts that might have the talent to win the remainder of the championship tests. In doing so, however, they could beat each other in the process thereby negating their own chances.
Two nine furlong winners; Wood victor Toby’s Corner, and Peter Pan hero Alternation, might catch up to the group if their returns show any semblance of the talent they demonstrated before going on hiatus; the former because of injury, the latter by design.
With these interesting possibilities in mind, a look at the HRI Power 10, Week 16 edition, per usual an amalgam of achievement and promise.
1. Animal Kingdom - Got a taste of Big Sandy over the weekend, including a purposeful workout Monday morning. His half mile in :47 4/5, out 5 furlongs in a minute, with a double gallop out in 1:14 1/5 had everyone smiling. A little unlucky not to be going for the whole enchilada four days from today.
2. Shackleford - One of those rare throwbacks that not only demonstrates uncommon courage but actually seems to thrive on work. Will be dangerous on or just off the Belmont pace. "He galloped great this morning," said Dale Romans Monday morning.
3. Nehro - Could be the second choice on Saturday if the wise guys have their say. He never has failed to improve his figures on the Equiform scale his entire career. Will that trend continue? "He worked an easy half in :50 1/5," said assistant trainer Toby Sheets outside barn 58. "He got loose and galloped out good, excellent."
4. Dialed In - If the past is prologue, Mr. Zito will gladly accept a Midsummer Summer as a healing salve for a Derby disappointment. One of the few trainers that would have little problem using a million-dollar race as a Travers prep.
5. Mucho Macho Man - New shoes and a new rider for Saturday and that combination sure looked good in Sunday’s work. But we’re dubious about whether he can maintain the energy level needed for Saturday’s test.
6. Toby’s Corner - Eddie Castro and agent Mike Gonzalez were trackside Sunday morning awaiting a glimpse of Animal Kingdom. Castro believes that if Toby was healthy on May’s first Saturday, Motion would have finished 1-2. He did not delineate between the exacta and quinella.
7. Astrology - As mentioned in Week 15, made a game surge to finish third at Pimlico and is pointing to the Haskell and Travers. Might have something to say about the title depending the results of those two races and, of course, Saturday’s classic.
8. Uncle Mo - We now know what the health issue was. It is a serious one and remains a concern. The good news is that he’s responding to treatment. There’s no timetable for his return but the connections are hoping August 1.
9. Alternation - Now on R & R following a relatively hectic early season, he put it together in the Peter Pan, outrunning the talented Adios Charlie late. Connections have the Travers in their sights, most likely via the Jim Dandy.
10. Master of Hounds - Coolmore is having a terrific spring across the pond. Colt has been doing a lot of traveling but he gets plenty from his down time at home. Saturday’s classic has been circled on the calendar for some time.