One is the 1-1/8 mile Ruffian Handicap on August 1 that is named after the ill-fated filly that died in a match race at Belmont. The other is the 1-1/4 Personal Ensign Stakes on August 29 that is named after the undefeated winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
NYRA has named many of its most important stakes races after historic horses. Among those of note are the Man O’ War, Sword Dancer, Forego, Kelso and Cigar. This year, albeit just a $75,000 purse, the Curlin Stakes, named after a colt that raced five times and won only three times in the State, will be run for the first time.
Given these circumstances, why isn’t there a graded stakes race named after Easy Goer? Woodbine waited decades before honoring Northern Dancer, Canada’s greatest runner, with a race. Horse racing has never seen a horse as accomplished in competition at New York tracks as the son of Alydar. It’s Easy Goer’s turn now.
Easy Goer was defeated only once in 15 starts on Empire State soil. That loss came in the Metropolitan Handicap against the eventual Eclipse Award-winning Horse of Year Criminal Type and the crack sprinter Housebuster. He raced to nine Grade 1 victories at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga and won the Whitney Handicap and Travers Stakes in back-to-back starts as a 3-year-old. That’s enough to be remembered, wouldn’t you imagine?