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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Thursday JAN 2 at 2 pm was the deadline for casting Eclipse Award ballots, a copy of which was cut and pasted below. First a couple of takeaways:

While the top vote-getter was obvious in many categories, second and third were debatable. The 1-2-3 finalists will be recognized and those second and third place votes could make a difference in contentious categories.

It also occurred to us that many top horses had scant records this year in terms of number of starts.

Of course, this reflects training trends in the modern era but it’s more than that; many of today’s brittle horses had their seasons curtailed by injury. Until you see the names laid out on a page, one forgets just how many there were. World of Trouble and Concrete Rose come quickly to mind.

As a consequence, some horses had to be demoted in rank, meaning the “better horse” was punished due to an insufficient body of work. We will not distinguish between them. See if you can pick them out on this list.

The partnerships made it difficult to know just who to vote for in the owner and even in some breeding categories due to common, entangling interests.

We abstained from a complete category, a first for us dating back to 1977, but we just did not see the top apprentices compete enough to have an honest opinion. Sometimes stats do lie.

So, without ado, here’s one voter’s ballot. Based on achievement, we voted our conscience. Confirmation of our ballot submission has been copied below:

Thank you for voting in the 2019 Eclipse Awards. Your ballot has been received on Jan 2, 2020 8:21 AM . Below is a confirmation of your submissions.


Two-Year-Old Male: 1st – STORM THE COURT, 2nd – MAXFIELD, 3rd – TIZ THE LAW

Two-Year-Old Filly: 1st – BRITISH IDIOM, 2nd – BAST, 3rd – SHARING

Three-Year-Old Male: : 1st – MAXIMUM SECURITY, 2nd – OMAHA BEACH, 3rd – CODE OF HONOR

Three-Year-Old Filly: 1st – COVFEFE, 2nd – GUARANA, 3rd – CONCRETE ROSE

Older Dirt Male: 1st – MITOLE, 2nd – VINO ROSSO, 3rd – MC KINZIE

Older Dirt Female: 1st – MIDNIGHT BISOU, 2nd – BLUE PRIZE, 3rd – ELATE

Male Sprinter: 1st – MITOLE, 2nd – SHANCELOT, 3rd – IMPERIAL HINT

Female Sprinter: 1st – COVFEFE, 2nd – COME DANCING, 3rd – SPICED PERFECTION

Male Turf Horse: 1st – BRICKS AND MORTAR, 2nd – WORLD OF TROUBLE, 3rd – MO FORZA

Female Turf Horse: 1st – UNI, 2nd – SISTERCHARLIE, 3rd – GOT STORMY

Steeplechase Horse: 1st – WINSTON C, 2nd – SCORPIANCER, 3rd – SURPRISING SOUL

Horse of the Year: 1st – BRICKS AND MORTAR, 2nd – MITOLE, 3rd – MAXIMUM SECURITY



Jockey: 1st – IRAD ORTIZ JR, 2nd – JOEL ROSARIO, 3rd – JOSE ORTIZ

Apprentice Jockey: 1st – ABSTAIN, 2nd – ABSTAIN, 3rd – ABSTAIN


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13 Responses

  1. We should bronze this. We are in perfect synch, which happens…never (LOL).

    Yet like George and Kellyanne Conway, and James Carville and Mary Matalin, at the end of the day we are best friends.

  2. Won’t disagree on any.
    Won’t disagree on any of the points you made either, particularly lack of starts and injuries.
    The two-year-old category boils down to just one race. That’s sad.

  3. Den, agree with your take on the babies and, yes, it is sad. The Juvenile was always a defining race, as it should be, but back in the day two-year-olds had four and five race campaigns, you could do some mixing and matchups.

    This year I didn’t want to pull the string on the Juvenile winner but he showed up on the day; the rest didn’t. Maxfield was hurt and Dennis stumbled his way out of the championship. Several others had one big win but no “tiebreakers”after that in my view.

    It’s the new normal, and sometimes less is just less…

  4. Well stated TJ. In this climate I have lost friends. I’d like to keep as many friends as I can but when friends won’t accept facts, and the traditionally accepted meaning of that word/term, I can’t abide.

    So I adapt one of the 12 steps; acceptance. Looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

    I hope we can catch a break with the weather handicappers–not looking great thus far.

  5. JP,
    I must voice my disagreement with Mitole as Best Older Male without any 2-turn starts, and a loss to a horse precluded from beating him again in the BC Sprint by the stewards who also altered the fates of Vino Rosso and Maximum Security.

    Even with the DQ in the JCGC, VR deserves BODM.

  6. It was a jump ball with me.

    In the end, I rewarded all year brilliance over later-season persistence.

    I thought Mitole was the more impressive individual, winning races that were harder fought against tough competition–again, IMO.

    I have no issues with anyone who thinks otherwise; it was a damn tough call to make!

  7. To all, I’ll tell you where I probably screwed up; I should have rated Javier Castellano third over Jose Ortiz.

    It’s a moot point, as no one expects that Irad Jr. will be outvoted. But I miscalculated in terms of finalists.

  8. Javier forgives you. He’s won everything already anyway. A superstar. Noticed you selected Bricks as HOY despite turf vs dirt pedigree. In an earlier posting you declared a preference for dirt runners in this category. Were you won over by those of us who LOVE this horse? MAX winning it would be kind of cool, ‘tho. Fake out on the KY stewards! Bricks will win but as a New Yorker I like underdogs who get screwed, ha, ha.

  9. C, I do prefer dirt horses to turf runner for Horse of the Year but an undefeated season at the Grade 1 level, topped by an impossible-trip victory in America’s most prestigious turf race made it a no-brainer for me.

    Having said that, I will add this: Had Midnight Bisou won the Distaff, she should have received my Horse of the Year vote.

    She performed all year at such a high level, it was a damn shame she had to suffer that lone narrow defeat. Problem is the whole world was watching…

    1. Not going to argue with that logic. Kinda like Zenyatta that way (lone narrow defeat) but she won HOY anyway. Then again, Zenyatta was like Ruffian in that she was otherworldly. Crowds would come JUST FOR HER! Is Royal Delta in this class, JP? You’ve seen the good ones, Beholder, Rachel, et al. Riva Ridge when I started so not up to speed on her. Appreciate your appreciation for Bisou, ‘tho. One of the greats!

      1. Sorry, Riva Ridge won KY Derby and Belmont in 1972 and was NOT a filly. Credited with saving Meadow Stable from financial ruin. Mud not his surface or probably would’ve won Triple Crown. Why does it rain at Preakness, JP?

  10. C,

    In reverse, pretty funny about rain and Preakness, but it does seem to happen a lot, right? You kicked off something I should provably spend a column on: Box Office appeal. Now I have to be fair and say what’s in my heart, although I would go to see all but, one horse?

    Of those you named, Zenyatta and Rachel, a great rivalry for fans of each but never met, I would make a “special trip” for, and Beholder too, only later, as a five- and six-year-old. Of course, they were all great but I think only Z and R had that “it” factor.

  11. And, of course, FOREGO! Marboro Cup crowd huge. Cigar drew big crowds in Boston. Like a King returning for 2nd Mass Cap. Yeah, he jogged in the first one.

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