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Macho Again Cracks Top 10 for Horse of Year Consideration

June 15, 2009 · By · Share A line on the race to be Horse of the Year

With the running of the Belmont Stakes, horse racing's first season has concluded. And with the running of the Stephen Foster, the second season has begun.

This, of course, is the championship season, which culminates with the Breeders' Cup feast and, perhaps, some postprandial cigars and brandy (Gazelle, Cigar Mile, Remsen, Hollywood Starlet and CashCall Futurity). The Triple Crown season usually determines the champion 3-year-old, but with three different winners this year and with Quality Road preparing for a return, even that division offers a title to be won.

Yes, this is the championship season, these next five months, a time for seizing guerdon, including the most revered prize, Horse Of The Year. Most of the serious players for the top honor have stepped onto the stage, if only briefly, to announce themselves. some more loudly thann others. Some flashy 2-year-olds will no doubt emerge over the next few months; but even the most dazzling juveniles rarely accumulate sufficient accomplishments to be considered for Horse Of The Year. And several impressive Europeans almost certainly will aim for some of America's richest prizes, but a single start here, or even two, may not suffice to win the golden Eclipse Award.

Already, connections with Rachel Alexandra and Einstein have indicated that their goal is to win Horse Of The Year. And so it's reasonable, I think, to speculate about the foremost contenders for that honor and about what they'll have to do in this championship season to win it. With that in mind, here's a line on the race for Horse Of The Year:

1. Rachel Alexandra: 4-1
2. Einstein: 9-2
3. Zenyatta: 5-1
4. Well Armed: 8-1
5. Mine That Bird: 10-1
6. Quality Road: 15-1
7. Gio Ponti: 30-1
8. Summer Bird: 30-1
9. Macho Again: 40-1
10. All others: 6-1

If the voting for Horse of the Year were today, Rachel Alexandra probably would win. With her victory over males in the Preakenss, she satisfied the historical imperatives. And so she can remain within her division, where she's dominant - and she appears to be aimed at the Mother Goose -- and still have a solid argument that she's deserving. With another victory against "the boys" or a superlative effort against older fillies and mares, she would be golden indeed. 

If the voting were today for the sport's most versatile performer, Einstein would win it. The venerable winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and Churchill's Turf Classic, he didn't lose a soupcon of popular admiration when third in the Stephen Foster, where he had a troubled trip. If he could win the Arlington Million or the Pacific Classic and then the Breeders' Cup Classic, he would have a golden resume.

And if the voting were today for the sport's most spectacular performer, Zenyatta would win. If her connections decide to keep her in California and to race her exclusively within her division, she'll probably continue to dazzle and dominate. But if she's to win the golden Eclipse Award, she'll probably have to accept a grander challenge by taking on males in perhaps the Pacific Classic or by traveling east. Either way, when she's done, everybody who ever saw her will be thankful for having had the privilege.

Courtesy of StarTelegram.com  June 14th, 2009


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