Here's hoping everyone had a great New Year's and is refreshed and ready to go for a fun Triple Crown season. This will be the final post on Breeders' Cup Chat before the blog switches over to Triple Crown Talk next week. I'm looking forward to trying to find the 2010 Derby winner with you all. Should be a great ride.
Here are my Eclipse Award picks for 2009. As always, there are several categories that will spark debate, most notably Horse of the Year. Let's not go over that again. (We'll wait until Jan. 19).
Other categories that were close calls for me were 2-Year-old Filly, where I gave the slight edge to She Be Wild for her Breeders' Cup win; and Outstanding Jockey, where I chose Ramon Dominguez even though he is a longshot to beat out Garrett Gomez or Julien Leparoux. Dominguez had the most consistent year in my eyes.
There was no Older Male horse that stood out on dirt, so I think you have to give it to Gio Ponti even though turf horses rarely win this category. Champion Sprinter will be close between Zensational and Kodiak Kowboy, but Kodiak beat better in my opinion. Ventura probably won't win Turf Female over Goldikova but I think she deserves it. Her Woodbine Mile performance against the boys was one of the most impressive wins of the year, she won the Matriarch, and was beaten only a nose by Gio Ponti in the Frank Kilroe Mile. Goldikova is special, but I never vote for horses that race in the U.S. only once.
There you have it. Feel free to agree or disagree--that's what we're here for. See you all on the other side...
Horse of the Year - Rachel Alexandra
2-Year-Old Male - Lookin at Lucky
2-Year-Old Female - She Be Wild
3-Year-Old Male - Summer Bird
3-Year-old Filly - Rachel Alexandra
Older Female - Zenyatta
Older Male - Gio Ponti
Male Sprinter - Kodiak Kowboy
Female Sprinter - Informed Decision
Turf Male - Gio Ponti
Turf Female - Ventura
Trainer - Steve Asmussen
Jockey - Ramon Dominguez
Owner - Jerry and Ann Moss
Breeder - Juddmonte
Apprentice Jockey - Christian Santiago Reyes
Steeplechase: Mixed Up