Holiday Wishes and a Poll

This final blog of 2008 is to wish everyone a joyous holiday season and say thanks for all the comments over the past six months and all the words of encouragement regarding the historical pieces, most of which combined facts, anecdotes, and personal recollections of the horses and the people. It seems most people have enjoyed looking back -- those who didn't get a chance to see some of these horses and those who did and might have learned something about them they didn't know before or just enjoyed reliving those days. I also enjoyed everyone's own personal experiences surrounding the horses and people.
 
I hope to come up with more stories of this kind in 2009. Just to look back, in case you missed any, there were stories (in chronological order) about Dr. Fager and Damascus in the Suburban; Secretariat at Saratoga and his old grooms at Meadow Stud; Prove Out; Dr. Fager and Saratoga; a retrospective on post 9/11; Lava Man; a two-parter on Tiznow's two BC Classic wins; Wanderin Boy; Invasor; Volponi's BC Classic; Alysheba; Graustark, His Majesty and Darby Dan Farm and my first job in racing at DRF; Jim French; a two-parter on Canonero II; Spectacular Bid; Holy Bull; a two-parter on Cigar; and Skip Away. They are all archived under "Hangin' with Haskin" under the blog stable.
 
I already have a bunch in mind for next year. 
 
I would like to close out the year with a poll. The reason for conducting this poll will be discussed after everyone has voted.
 
The NTRA has instituted a new form of voting for the Eclipse Awards, in which all votes are conducted online, with a drop-down list of horses or people in each category to choose from. There is also a "write-in" option, in case you wish to vote for someone not on the list.
 
So, here is the question:
 
Who would you vote for for leading owner? I will not burden you or distract you with earnings and other statistics. This simply is who you feel is deserving of owner of the year for whatever reason you choose. Let it be known I am not a fan of awards and pay little attention to them. But in this particular category I am curious who the fans would vote for. Again, the method behind my madness will be revealed once the voting comes to a halt.
 
If you wish to comment on the reasons behind your vote, that would make it all the more revealing and interesting. If you wish to spice it up even more, you can also comment on who you didn't vote for and state the reasons why.
 
I'll be back to discuss it at the end of the year and also offer a final New Year's wish.

152 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Tiznowbaby

Jess Jackson for bringing Curlin back at 4 when he so clearly didn't have to.

28 Dec 2008 7:46 PM
Tanzkd

No brainer Steve - Jess Jackson for giving us Curlin for one extra year - fans first apposed to CASH.Hopefully others will follow his lead in the future, we need more stars hanging around thru their four year old career.

28 Dec 2008 8:08 PM
Ranagulzion

Steve most racing authorities around the world determine the leading owners by the cumulative stakes won by their horses.  At the end of the racing season there are no disputes in such cases.  However the question that you have framed causes us to consider the owner(s) who have contributed most to the integrity, reputation and ideals of the sport by the way in which they have cared for and raced their horses and even related to the public where public curiosity has been aroused.  This is of course more subjective and open to dispute but in this regard Jess Jackson et al, the owners of Curlin get my vote.

In the absence of such criteria in the Eclipse Awards, being the owner of the Horse-of-the-year could be adequate reward for such an owner where their charge has done enough to earn the championship.  

28 Dec 2008 8:23 PM
Ranagulzion

Your columns have been a real treat.  Best wishes to you too.

28 Dec 2008 8:27 PM
Rita

My first choice in owners would be Jess Jackson for giving us Curlin for the extra time and I think he took alot of interest in his horse and his career.My next best are the other Jacksons for giving Nicanor the time he needs and the great care they seem to take of all their horses.        The worst owners would have to be IEAH Stables for not controlling their trainer's mouth and actions. I still love Big Brown tho.Looking forward to the new year and more great stories from you Steve your work is wonderful! Until then.

28 Dec 2008 8:41 PM
rowdee

Picking an owner is not necessarily an easy chore--unless you are only concerned with who won the most money or the most Grade 1s.  I don't agree with that method at all because the game is not played equally.

My nominee(s) would be the owners of Peppers Pride.  

No, they're not a huge stable.  No, they've not won lots of Grade 1 Stakes, etc.  No, they've not won millions of dollars, though he(they) are now millionaires.  

They had no public platforms to expound on topics of great interest to the industry or its fans.

These folks truly held their horses' interest as the number 1 criteria.  

If track conditions were not right, she wasn't sacrificed because there was pressure from others nor the desire to enlarge her earnings figures.

She wasn't shipped all around all over the nation, but rather kept in her range of class.  

The reward came as she not only surpassed the record held by the greats of the game such as Citation and Cigar, as well as Hallowed Dreams, and I believe Mr. Frisky.

The greater reward is that she retires healthy and without injury to become a broodmare.  Hopefully, they'll breed to a stallion with a great heart and desire to win.

28 Dec 2008 8:46 PM
Loretta

Jess Jackson! Three cheers for allowing us to see a champion run as a 4 year old, and not off to the breeding shed at 3.

Best of Holiday wishes to you Steve and may the trot be with you.

28 Dec 2008 8:47 PM
Karen in Texas

Jess Jackson, owner of Curlin, for campaigning him as a four year old and for the attempts on different surfaces in different geographic locations.

28 Dec 2008 9:07 PM
Chase

Jess Jackson.  He didn't have to bring Curlin back this year.  He could have retired him as a 3 year old, just like every other horse last year, but instead he decided to let him run one more year.  I hope that every other owner learns from his experiences and the praise Jess Jackson got this year, and start bringing their horses back for one more year.

28 Dec 2008 9:29 PM
Art

IEAH is by far the leading owner.  

Jackson brought Curlin back because no stud farm would touch him until the ownership debacle cleared up.  And then he campaigned him with his ego and rarely did what was best for the horse...his inability to select races more than weeks in advance made Assmussen's training job with him nearly impossible.  If a stud farm would have touched him after last years BCC, he'd have been gone after last years BCC.

IEAH - love them or hate them - won prestigious races with top thoroughbreds like Big Brown, Pure Clan, Benny the Bull, Court Vision, Kip Deville, Laragh, Ariege, Wishful Tomcat, etc.  

Jess Jackson had a great year with one horse - IEAH had a great year with about a half dozen horses, and they may win as many as 3 Eclipses, and might be the finalist for 1 or 2 more.  

28 Dec 2008 9:39 PM
AnneM

I would like to see it given to either the Moss's or Jess Jackson -They have let their great horses race more than a few races - and have given fans a lot to cheer about.

I suppose for number of 'major' wins - IEAH would qualify but somehow I can't get behind their type of ownership.

28 Dec 2008 9:44 PM
Barbara

IEAH.  They had by far the best year in stakes racing with their various partnerships - even beyond owning the majority interest in Big Brown.

They may not be the most cuddly guys in the sport, but they deserve the award, based on accomplishment, not just likability.

And for those that hate them, they are moving away from Dutrow, at least as their only front line trainer, and they did take a public stance against drugs - hey better late than never.  And the exalted owners in the sport hardly have clean hands.  

As for Jackson, I commend him for bringing Curlin back, period.  But if we want to throw stones about drugs, lets take a look at Asmussen as well when we are going after Ricky.

28 Dec 2008 10:20 PM
gailg

Rowdee makes a great point with Peppers Pride, but I'd still choose Jess Jackson for his sportsmanship in running Curlin as a 4 year old and for not being afraid to take risks with different surfaces. The sport needs more high profile owners to display that same sportsmanship to attract new fans.

28 Dec 2008 10:27 PM
LoveMyLava

Will "Ditto" suffice? ;)

Jess Jackson, hands down, without question. I will be mouring the lack of just one MORE year for a bit longer, but am EVER grateful for the year we got, in a sport that gets them off the track and to the shed as fast as possible, which typically means sometime around June of their 3yo season.

Curlin was a lovely gift in SO many ways, so to not acknowledge the gift giver would be this side of criminal, in my opinion.

Happy holidays to all!

28 Dec 2008 10:29 PM
Jack

As much as I appreciate Jess Jackson for giving us Curlin for another year, I don't believe he should be the leading owner because of it.  I sure hope more will follow his lead but running horses as a four year old should be a standard, not something that should be rewarded! I believe the award has to go to the Moss's.  What an incredible year with so few starts!

28 Dec 2008 10:57 PM
Nancy

I think there are any number of people on the list, but at the top would be Jess Jackson for racing Curlin through his four year old year - it shows respect for the racing public whether they bet or not.  It was obvious that he loves and enjoyed Curlin simply for who he is.  Curlin was always impeccably groomed and presented - that shows deep caring.  Jackson was always gracious and courteous. In the Blood-Horse's Final Turn page in the Dec. 20th issue he really paid a tribute to Curlin, his team and racing.  As he wrote

'..., I'm hoping horse racing will return to the love of the horse and the pure sport, the spectacle and simple beauty of a Thoroughbred in motion.'

I would also place Pepper's Pride owner Joe Allen on that list.  Pepper's Pride well-being came first with him and his trainer, that shows love and respect for this beautiful being and her accomplishments.  No matter she raced only in New Mexico - she is still a great horse - 19 straight wins!  She is being retired at five years of age sound!  How many fillies and colts can say that in these times? How many two and three year olds have we seen disappear off the tracks and into the breeding sheds due to career ending injuries. Their win records do not come anywhere near Pepper's Pride.

Posthumously - I would say Harry Aleo who campaigned Lost In The Fog.  He passed away this year. He loved Lost In The Fog.

28 Dec 2008 11:14 PM
Donovan Colt

Steve:

It has been a great year for racing.  My choice for owner of the year Eclipse would be Maggi Moss.  Here's my rationale:  Her stable is a few starts short of Zayat Stables and her horses have earned 4+ millions dollars with phenomenal win/wps percentages.

I think the leading owner should be the person that makes the most difference in racing to the most people.  Maggi's stable is spread across many states, stables, grooms, trainers, and exercise riders.  Her stable is successful and is a rising tide that raises all ships.

I understand many comments regarding Jess Jackson; I think we are so starving for the old days that simply seeing Curlin this year as a 4 year old makes this the nostalgiac/sentimental choice.  Overall, I don't think another trophy on Mr. Jackson's wall is either good or bad for racing.

My second choice would be Frank Stronach because of his involement in the game from breeding to racing and running horses.

Thank you for an exceptional year of journalism.  Have a happy new year.  May all of the other passionate race fans have a great new year is well.  I love the dialogue.

28 Dec 2008 11:51 PM
The Deacon

My vote would go to Jess Jackson. He was a throw back to owners of long ago. Horse racing needed Curlin in 2008 and Mr. Jackson obliged. It wasn't about the money, it was about the sport. Bob Baffert gets the nod for trainer, and Garrett Gomez for top jockey.

Have a safe and Happy New Year Steve and thanks for all the blogs, and wonderful trips down memory lane.

29 Dec 2008 12:17 AM
Bradgm

Steve, YOU are WRONG!  It is US who should be thanking YOU for sharing your heart and soul with all of us, not you thanking us for our inane comments. Best wishes for a prosperous, healthy and happy NEW YEAR to you as well.

Owner?  Hmmm, rowdee had an excellent idea. to run the mare even after she broke the rcord and risk getting defeated. To not run her on tracks that could have endageered her well being? Now there is a true sportsman. A guy who wasn't a billionaire able to buy the best horses whenever one popped up. The owner who is a stand up guy and has a trainer with a CLEAN record and no doubt that he may have been drugging his horse.

Jerry and Ann Moss, Tiago, Zenyatta. Great folks, great trainer all good for the game. Say the right things are excited and devoted, long time owners.

Jackson? No can't agree. He filed numerous frivilous law suits. He partnered with known felons. His trainer had ANOTHER drug positive after serving a 6 month suspension a year ago. He didn't retire Curlin because of the muddied picture of ownership. A judge rejected his bid for purchase of the jailbirds %, why? He felt the colt was purposely undervalued to decrease the amount needed to buy sole ownership.

That being said, I'm sure he'll win it, because money talks and he has a ton of that.

29 Dec 2008 1:39 AM
Kayte

I would agree with everyone that says Jess Jackson for giving us the oppurtunity to watch and enjoy Curlin as he matured into the champion he was by the end of this year.  It was nice to see someone willing to risk high stud fees for that one more year of racing to see what their horse could do- I really think that Curlin earned his retirement and has nothing more to show us.  Even if he never makes it as a stud horse, his legacy is already written from the many wins on the track- thanks to Jess Jackson.

29 Dec 2008 3:38 AM
da3hoss

Maggi Moss.

Love the "other" Moss's, appreciate Jess Jackson.

29 Dec 2008 8:20 AM
txhorsefan

My comment is simply ditto to what Bradgm posted. I also must say that Roy and Gretchen Jackson are wonderful owners as well, who seem to always strive to do the best for their horses.  This year they have not been as high profile as the Mosses, but maybe next year when Nicanor gets to the races.  Thank you again, Steve, for sharing your memories with us and telling your stories with words so vivid we felt like we were part of the action.  May you have the most wonderful new year!

29 Dec 2008 8:28 AM
JCLUFF

1. Jess Jackson

2. Gretchen and Roy Jackson

29 Dec 2008 8:33 AM
m burry

I kind of feel like Rowdee that Pepper's Pride owners or the horse itself should get some kind of an award. This was a great accomplishment (regardless of where she raced) s

29 Dec 2008 8:53 AM
rich loughrey

I am torn between the Ramsey's and Darley. I don't like Stronach or Jackson. Jackson makes terrible wine and raced Curlin this year because of the murky ownership. I didn't like stiffing Helen Pitts as the trainer. The Ramsey's and Darley run classy operations and spread their horses around various tracks and trainers with success.

29 Dec 2008 9:19 AM
Bill

IEAH in a romp.  What a year those guys had!  I don't get Jess Jackson.  If he didn't grumble so much about racing Curlin at Santa Anita on ProRide I might be more favorable toward him, but Curlin is a champion and Jess shouldn't have hesitated about showing up for the Classic.  Win or lose, champions show up.

29 Dec 2008 9:52 AM
paleppala

Joe Allen for keeping Pepper's Pride racing as a 5 year old and setting a remarkable record of 19 straight wins.

Your articles are wonderful insights into the great race horses.

Thanks

29 Dec 2008 10:18 AM
Steve Haskin

Brad, thanks for the kind words. However, I'm not sure who you are voting for. And I'm certainly not sure what you mean by this sentence regarding the owner of Pepper's Pride:

"The owner who is a stand up guy and has a trainer with a CLEAN record and no doubt that he may have been drugging his horse."

No doubt that he may have been drugging his horse?

29 Dec 2008 10:28 AM
Pam S.

I agree with Bradgm's comments and would cast my vote for the Mosses.  Second place:  As much as I don't care for the "hedge fund" style of ownership, IEAH did have an awesome year.  Two legs of the TC count for a lot, and they had all those other good horses as well.

I also agree with M. Burry about some sort of special recognition for Pepper's Pride's connections.  They have successfully shown another path that horse ownership can take (everyone can't participate in the Derby and BC).  They have earned good money and had a blast, and they are a great advertisement for statebred programs and horse ownership, period.

Best New Year's wishes to you, Steve, and thanks for all the reading enjoyment.

29 Dec 2008 10:40 AM
slewfan

Jess Jackson hands down for giving us another year.

29 Dec 2008 11:50 AM
Bradgm

Sorry Steve, LATE night ruminating and post.

What I meant was there was no doubt in anyone's mind about Pepper. Her trainer is a stand up guy and no one ever wondered if she was running on steroids etc. Never saw a single question of was she or wasn't she, we were all pretty certain she ran clean.

My vote, a real toss up between Joe Allen and Jerry and Ann Moss.

Joe, because he gave us even more than Jess Jackson if it's based on running the horse beyond the usual 3 y.o. season. He didn't have to run her, Jess had some real questions of ownership affecting the status of Curlin.

The Moss duo, for Zenyatta (need I say more?), Tiago (who also was running as a 4 year old). Their Joie de vivre. John, cool dude.

Not sure what it is about Mr. Jackson. Actually my elderly relative was best friends with Jess' uncle and the person who originally involved him in racing, Dr. Ballenger. My Aunt has pictures of the Dr and he and Jess looked a lot alike. He owned a couple of horses with my elderly relative and was apparently a great person, just my personal feelings about Jess and Steve that color my thinking and don't want him to win.

29 Dec 2008 11:50 AM
Bradgm

What may be worse is Txhorsefan actually understood my post.

Maybe they have little kids who keep them up at night too and we understand the tired Papa syndrome and speech patterns.

29 Dec 2008 11:53 AM
Brian A.

Jess Jackson for giving us the amazing opportunity to see Curlin run at four!!

29 Dec 2008 11:55 AM
Ida Lee

I thank Mr. Jackson for giving me Curlin for one more year. I'm broken hearted that I can't see him anymore since I love him so much but he's safe and healthy. Having said that, everytime Mr. Allen scratched Pepper's Pride because of a bad/unsafe track, he became more my hero. Protecting that beautiful and talented Mare was the most important thing for him and for her loving fans. He has my vote.

29 Dec 2008 1:04 PM
Joanne S.

Toss up between the Mosses who have regularly campaigned their horses beyond 3yrs old. Or to Jess Jackson for keeping Curlin on the track for our enjoyment.

29 Dec 2008 1:07 PM
IlovePapi

Horse ownership carries with it a hefty responsibility for the welfare of the horse.  Resale of the horse, for any reason whatsoever, should never relieve the owner of a permanent concern for the future potential welfare of that horse.  A horse who, not too long ago won in the area of half a million dollars for his multiple owners, was claimed just yesterday for $10,000 in a minor race at Aqueduct.  His name is Papi Chullo.  The names behind this horse include (and are not limited to) David Jacobson; Gary Contessa who bought him in the past, I believe, for Winning Move, IEAH and S. Robbins LLC et al; and Greg Norman.  Certainly, no name included in a list of horse owners who would allow this to take place, unless for the positive benefit of the horse, should be included in consideration for any award.

Regardless of Jess Jackson’s printed reasoning for not retiring Curlin to stud (see Brad and Art above), he has not sold his precious animal to the highest bidder for stud rights and will apparently continue to provide Curlin with the steady and responsible ownership the horse has known from the beginning.  The owners of Pepper’s Pride must also be considered as horse ownership role models.

Mr. Haskin, is there anything you can offer to clarify the recent actions re Papi Chullo for the many who will worry?  

29 Dec 2008 1:11 PM
LyndaP31

Definitely Jess Jackson!!!

Thank you for your blog this year, you wrote some really great stuff and it was a joy to read.

29 Dec 2008 1:22 PM
pg303

IEAH.  Best year with a bunch of fabulous horses.

29 Dec 2008 1:26 PM
Kelly E.

On first thought I would say I'd vote for Jess Jackson...we are all grateful to him for keeping Curlin in training.  However, it's not like he was making a huge personal sacrifice...he wasn't going to exactly be skipping any meals without having the stud fees, etc., rolling in for this colt.  So, personally (and in considering all of my unfortunate prejudices) I will NOT vote for him.

I am torn on the one who should win.  I love the Mosses and respect their integrity and commitment to horse racing.  Zenyatta had an amazing year and we are so lucky to have them and the filly in our lives.

I like Joe Allen and really have a lot of respect for someone from a small racing establishment having such a big horse in Peppers Pride.  He could have given in to the lure of brining her out of New Mexico...try the Breeder's Cup...etc.

And, finally, I have a sentimental vote here for Rick Porter.  We should all be thanking him for giving us - and his filly Eight Belles - a chance at being a part of history and racing lore.  I feel for his loss and am grateful for his support of my favorite trainer (sorry Bob Baffert) Larry Jones!

So...I am leaning towards Rick Porter...Steve, can't you cut my vote in thirds and make it a tie for those three...the Mosses, Mr. Allen and Rick?

29 Dec 2008 1:31 PM
Steve Haskin

Brad, what's worse than Texasfan understanding your first post is that I didn't even understand the second one.

My vote, a real toss up between Joe Allen and Jerry and Ann Moss.

This graph also has me baffled:

"Not sure what it is about Mr. Jackson. Actually my elderly relative was best friends with Jess' uncle and the person who originally involved him in racing, Dr. Ballenger. My Aunt has pictures of the Dr and he and Jess looked a lot alike. He owned a couple of horses with my elderly relative and was apparently a great person, just my personal feelings about Jess and Steve that color my thinking and don't want him to win."

Jess Jackson looked a lot like someone -- your elderly relative? Jackson was apparently a great person, but your personal feelings about him and Steve colored your thinking and you dont want him to win? I'm not getting it. Jackson is a great guy, but there's something about Jackson and Steve you dont like, so you dont want Jackson to win? Sorry, but you've lost me.

29 Dec 2008 1:55 PM
Jim

I love Jess Jackson for stirring things up. Jerry and Ann Moss have given us so many wonderful horses to watch, culled from all over the globe, but none better than Zenyatta -- plus it appears she's running next year.

Pepper's Pride illustrates one of the most powerful points ever made by Carl Nafzger: that you can find class at every level of racing and you have to appreciate the claimer as much as the stakes horse. That speakes to Maggie Moss as well.

However, to be honest, IEAH, love 'em or hate 'em, are the Owners of the Year. They had too many talented horses and they truly RAN them, some all over the globe. The relationship between Big Brown and Mike Ivaronne showed a very human side of IEAH and spoke volumes.

29 Dec 2008 1:56 PM
Steve Haskin

Ilove Papi, I dont know the details behind Papi Chulo, so it's hard to comdemn any one person. I do know that this horse should have been retired by now and given a good home. Racing him for $10,000 seems irresponsible, and I would have hoped one of his former owners, for whom he won so much money and provided so many thrills, would take care of him of him and get him back and do the right thing. I agree with you about owners being responsible for the welfare of their horses, especially one who did so much for them. You cant just discard a horse like this and then fail to keep tabs on him. You owe the horse.

29 Dec 2008 2:04 PM
Steve Haskin

Kelly E., sorry I cant help in thirds. I can split your vote in half if you wish to choose two.

29 Dec 2008 2:05 PM
Bradgm

Okay, I'm tired but I think I made sense.

Jess Jackson originally owned race horses with his Uncle I.B. Ballenger.

IB Ballenger was a dear friend of my elderly relative. IB and Jess have a distinct family resemblance.

My OWN elderly relative owned horses in partnership with Dr. Ballenger and LOVED the Dr and says the DR was a great person.

Therefore my own confusion at why I just don't like someone (JESS) who from all the personal connections and personal accounts, comes from great stock (I.B.).

Got it now?

As I said, my vote is split between Joe Allen (as one entity) and Jerry and Ann (as a couple, not as a separate entity) .

pps, Unless you are pulling my chain, you need rest because Pam and IlovePapi also got my point.

Never pegged you for the party animal guy keeping you up all night. Although you did once say you wake up at all hours.

Also know your daughter is too old to keep you up with late night feedings and colic.

So, if you aren't pulling my chain, I can only assume you are working too hard or maybe you ARE a party dude and the multiple late night parties are finally getting to you.  

Oh well, as long as you keep clear and write your great stories, who cares if you understand the ramblings of a sleep deprived mad man?

29 Dec 2008 2:13 PM
BIGHORSEFAN

Steve, Dude. Unveiling you new act for Vegas? Or just to spice up your 'And they're Off' show, trying out new material?

First Brad now Kelly? 33 and a third %.

My vote, Jerry and Ann. One vote to the two people, unless you want to announce their surprise and shocking divorce known only to you and give half a vote to each.

Brad confusing, well good thing our other friend Jordan is in love and not posting right now. He'd really confuse you, Brad is the genius who reads thousands of books. Jordan is the one who told you that the lady who thought you were sexy might be right, even though you aren't his type, remember?

Man, writing these blogs has taken a toll huh?

29 Dec 2008 2:24 PM
Kelly E.

Okay, then, Steve...if you're going to be uncooperative :)

Please split my vote in HALF between the Mosses and Joe Allen.  Both have shown us what this game is all about...especially in taking care of their mares.

I will grant Rick Porter an honorable mention in that he has already claimed the highest honor in his filly's legacy and the changes it has brought (and will continue to bring) to our sport.

29 Dec 2008 2:47 PM
olivia

jess jackson for bringing  back the mighty curlin!:)

29 Dec 2008 2:57 PM
Triple Crown Karen

Well, Jess Jackson has already BEEN mentioned....But there is another owner who deserves this attention for her commitment to rescue ANY of the horses she has bred, owned or raced if they should be found on the path to Slaughter......MARY LOU WHITNEY!   and you can put NICK ZITO right up there for TRAINER of the year for the same reason......they both care VERY much about the horses who's lives have been entrusted to their care.

29 Dec 2008 3:17 PM
Wanda

After reading all the comments( I put Brad's down to lack of sleep). How is Good Ba Ba anyway?

I like that people are rooting for PP's connections. They conducted themselves with class, and did right by the horse every time. So that's my pick for owner award.

29 Dec 2008 3:20 PM
Jamie

I will admit, Steve, that I do not have a full knowledge of many horse owners. Therefore, I will have to work with those in the spotlight that I do know much about.

The owner I would vote for is Jess Jackson, simply because he is a great sportsman and gave the fans what they needed: a champion to follow and root for. Having Curlin race this year was a huge Christmas gift in itself. Jackson could've retired Curlin to stud like his classmates Street Sense and Hard Spun, but knew he had something special and wanted to give a boost to the sport. Well, give a boost he did. We need more Jess Jacksons in the world, and for putting the love of the sport before the money, he gave us a priceless thrill we should never forget.

29 Dec 2008 4:08 PM
Wanda

Yo Big nice to hear from you! Say hi to my buddy Jordan will you. Oh to be young and in love again and again! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and got to see family and friends.

29 Dec 2008 4:24 PM
dbj8

I have to go with IEAH as well.  Granted they should have kept their mouths shut at times, but they won some great races with some great horses.  Benny the Bull, Kip Deville, Laragh....and of course the amazing Big Brown who despite his Belmont debacle had a great-albeit short-career....

29 Dec 2008 4:31 PM
Rosalind

1. Jerry and Anne Moss

2. Joe Allen

While I think that IEAH did have an incredible year, the Mosses and Mr. Allen have proven themselves worthy of Owner of the Year.  Both have had a good year with smaller means than IEAH and kept horses racing long after they could have been retired.    

29 Dec 2008 4:32 PM
shamfan49

I recall that prior to Giacomo's Preakness try in 2005 Jerry Moss stuck a $50 win ticket in Mike Smith's boot. I assume this was a bonus in addition to whatever other payments Smith was contracted to receive for that day. I thought that was a really nice gesture though Afleet Alex had other plans. Ever since, Mr. and Mrs. Moss have run a class operation and an Eclipse would go a long way towards also showing my appreciation for the part Mr. Moss played in bringing the Tijuana Brass to my attention. I would definitely place them on my Honorable Mention List.

I don't think an owner should be recognized for racing his horse. Gosh, Curlin is a race horse. Race horses race. Besides, I too think Jackson bears a lot of responsibility for Curlin's lack of success on turf and at the Breeders' Cup Classic. Curlin scores the payday that put him 2nd to T.M. Opera O on the earnings list and first among North American based horses, but before The Champ even has a chance to catch his breath he's flown to California to see if he even likes the Pro-Ride Cushion Track. Then based on one work, it's decided that all systems are go and for a 2nd time Curlin lost to a Turf specialist over a course that is kinder to turf runners than to those that prefer dirt. Give Jackson a pat on the back but nothing more.

Pepper's Pride's connections deserve at least an Honorable Mention for always doing what was best for their Wonder Horse. Her last race looked really good and what a fitting curtain call to a wonderous career.

The other Moss, Maggi also deserves an Honorable Mention for building an Iowa stable into a national powerhouse.

But my vote for Owner of the Year would go to Old Friends President and founder Michael Blowen because of all the fabulous work his farm does for the senior race horses who no longer have any commercial value. They certainly earned the right to live out their days in safety and comfort, and Blowen does a tremendous job providing that. Nor is he the only person whose efforts on behalf of unwanted Thoroughbreds have righted numerous wrongs. An Award to Old Friends would show all of those who work so tirelessly and unselfishly to thwart French, Japanese and canine palates, that all racing fans honor and applaud their work. If you can't see fit o give Old Friends your vote, at least drop in, rub a nose or two and buy a cap.

29 Dec 2008 5:00 PM
Pulpit68

IEAH Stables for their incredible depth of Grade 1 runners.

29 Dec 2008 5:00 PM
barb

My vote also goes to Joe Allen. With Jerry and Ann Moss close behind. If Curlin was coming back at 5 I would give my vote to JJ.  I agree that IEAH had a phenomenal year and I wouldn't be suprised if they win it. But for me it's Joe Allen, what an amazing accomplishment for the whole crew.

Steve, I am wondering if there are going to be any more Thoroughbred Legends books? The last one came out quite a while ago and there are still plenty more horses to write about! I don't know how much influence you may have, but I know you must have some. Remind them(whoever "they" are, the big wigs at Eclipse press) that the fans love those stories and will buy them. I know those books sell out. I bring it up because I was talking to a lady at Russell Meerdink this morning and when I asked her about it she didn't think there would be any more and we agreed that that would be a shame. And since you have written several of them and clearly have more in you (and I have some kind of access to you)I wanted to make an appeal for more! Thanks so much for all of your great writing (I'm partial to Horse Racing's Holy Grail, the Derby Gods chapter gets me every time). It is a good day when there is a new Hangin' with Haskin post.

29 Dec 2008 5:08 PM
Katsan

Of course I'm prejudiced being from NM and knowing them both. But Joe Allen is my choice for owner of the year. He let Joel do what was best for Pepper, Joe rooted for Pepper and loves her. What better owner is there?

Certainly not one with $ signs in his eyes. Not a billionaire who can buy the very best horses, but does his very best with what he can afford to buy, raise etc.

29 Dec 2008 5:13 PM
Bradgm

Hey WANDA!

Well Good Baa Baa is the problem. Not working for the mini me last night. Christmas, save me lord. Two under 4, boys, wired for action and hyper. Can anyone wonder if I'm even sane?

I apologize for my blithering post, but I think my drift was sort of there.

29 Dec 2008 5:19 PM
Donovan Colt

Steve:

It seems like the Eclipse for owner of the year has to be a completely emotional call for the judges or it should be some formula.  In the same way that awarding an Eclipse award for one performance in the country versus a campaign seems contrary to reason so does a vote for an owner that seems to be a great sport.

As I have stated before, I appreciate Jess Jackson for his sporting gesture.  However, running Curlin was not all for sport and that's ok.  Also, it could be argued that being a true throwback he could have run Curlin as much as some of the greats in the past.  I digress.

It seems the Owners Eclipse should come down to a formula of starts, money won, races won.  I am not talking about figuring out a quarterback rating, but somewhere along the same lines.  It is not foolproof, though we have all disagreed with some Eclipse awards; one that comes to mind is the year Stronach won the Breeder award, but Virginia Kraft Payson's (bred by) Vindication and Farda Amiga were at the top or near the top in divisional honors.

Given that thought, Ahmed Zayat should probably be owner of the year and I'll withdraw my nomination for Maggi Moss.  I just think that someone who starts 700+ horses a year is doing more for the industry than one who runs and breeds a handful of horses even if one of them happens to be a beautiful white blazed, chestnut named Curlin.

29 Dec 2008 5:24 PM
Cgriff

Steve,

My vote would go to Rick Porter.  I have rarely seen an owner deal with such outrageous and undeserved negative press and feedback with such grace and heartfelt desire to not see his beautiful Eight Belles die in vain.  

His unwavering support of Larry Jones, his emotional reminiscences of Eight Belles at her memorial, and his tempered, reasoned reaction to the lunacy of PETA and others defines grace under pressure.  More than anything - I think Eight Belles tragedy showed Mr. Porter's good heart and the love he has for these wonderful athletes and this sport.

I might have voted for Jess Jackson - who I also think has a true sportsman's heart - but I've never quite believed that he kept Curlin in for the sport's sake as much as for the fact that the Midnight Stable debacle made syndicating the colt a problematic venture.  Even now - Curlin is not syndicated - he is simply "in residence" as a stallion at Lane's End.  I think that - more than anything - kept the horse in the game.  

But I strongly believe he has the sport's well being at heart - and I think many of the changes he has suggested have been smart, fresh and spot on.

Honorable mention would be the Casners - wonderful people with a great love of the sport and the smarts to know how to improve the breed and the game.

29 Dec 2008 5:34 PM
lobieb

I have to go with Mr. Allen first and as much as I don't care for them IEAH as they have had some great horses this year, plus building the vet hospital in NY. As for Jess Jackson if the picture had not been so cloudy last year Curlin would have gone to stud then but with owners in jail who would want to stand him at stud at that time, too many things could go wrong and the stud farm would lose out in the end. Horses race all the time, poor guys who have been gelded until they can't race anymore, like my sweet Pappi Culo and to put him in a claiming to squeeze what little the old guy has left is a bunch of crap and shame on the owner or owners that have done this to him. Enough said.

29 Dec 2008 6:38 PM
Julie L.

Without a doubt owner of the year would have to go to Mr. Jess Jackson for keeping Curlin racing through his 4 year old season and for encouraging other owners to race their best horses longer, we need more owners like Mr. Jackson and not huge syndicates that look more into the "how much money can I make off of his stallion career" rather then giving back to the race fans that fall in love with a particular horse and pump money into the tracks to see that horse, which is very much needed.

29 Dec 2008 6:44 PM
KatintheHat

Out of curiosity relative to Mr. Jackson - Twenty percent of Curlin's ownership is still up in the air, yet he is retired to stallion duties:  Is the implication that Mr. Jackson just "gave up"?

He didn't HAVE to race the horse as a 4 year old, Mr. Jackson is an 80 year old gazillionaire, he hardly needed the winnings, etc.  He doesn't need the stud fees either.  He also paid three million/year to insure the horse on the track in addition to "overhead".  I just don't see how keeping Curlin racing for another year was the easy option. I think he wanted Curlin to "prove" his place in history.  It's not hard to discern his emotional involvement with the horse. . .  

I also thought the reason PP wasn't raced on sloppy tracks was because she had never raced (and therefore won) on a sloppy track.  I don't know the owners, or anything about them, but not running the horse on a sloppy track wasn't necessarily to "protect" the horse.  I did love her last race, she went out in style.

29 Dec 2008 7:46 PM
CRob87

The Owners of "Peppers Pride"...period.

The reasons...

1)  They didn't have pie in the sky ideas about running her over her head.   They knew their horse.

2)  They stuck to their guns and never wavered in the face of criticism.

3)  They never used Steroids.

And...

4)  They ran her as not just a 4 Yr. Old, but as a 5 Yr. Old.

It's time that this sport recognizes a little guys success for doing things the "Right Way" and for the "Right Reasons".

29 Dec 2008 7:47 PM
BIGHORSEFAN

Wanda, my own true love (shhh don't tell your husband or my fiancee' yes we're doing the deed. Someday.)

Jordan is in and out of love more than anybody I ever saw. When he breaks up with one it's 'next'. Got em lined up 10 deep. Such a burden to  have looks that make the ladies swoon.

I know you're hurt, because he was going to be your boy toy when he won the lottery, you'll just have to settle for me, or he should be back on the market soon.

Sale coming up in Jan and another in Feb, may be paying us to take them by then.  

This is a pretty interesting blog.

Of course I love what Joe did with Pepper, he's just an old cowboy, no airs or pretentions.

But I've loved Zenyatta forever and Jerry and Ann are super cool people, been in it since the early 70's and they are nice people when they could easily be wealthy jerks.

I'm amazed that anyone could think continuing to run Curlin as a 4 year old warrants top owner.

Remember back years ago, they would have been questioned for NOT running him if he was sound.

Jess has more money than almost anyone in racing and he really had nothing to lose by running the colt. The ownership picture was so muddied, I don't think he could retire him. Now the jailbirds will be able to pay back the people they bilked so badly.

The person who mentioned Mary Lou, ah the Grand Dame of racing. Man, that woman is loved in Saratoga. We cracked up with her statement to former Gov Spitzer.  Luv Guv and Ninth Client, you go Mary Lou, say what you really think.

I hope she and Wayne have something for the Derby this year, if not the colt that Parcells et all partner in.

Everyone have a safe and Happy New Year!

29 Dec 2008 7:55 PM
alybar

I would vote for Jerry and Anne Moss because they pay for the care of their horses that are sent to Old Friends,  They are very responsible owners. I appreciate the care they give to the horses they race such as Zenyatta and Tiago.

My second choice would be Rick Porter for having the courage to race Eight Belles against the boys. He  and Larry Jones were treated vey unfairly for the tragedy at the Kentucky Derby.

I appreciate Jess Jackson for keeping Curlin in racing this year, but he has many other issues.

29 Dec 2008 7:56 PM
Karen in Indiana

IEAH. They have done many positive things for horse racing. They were the first major owner that came out and made a policy of no steroids, they are building a horse hospital that will improve the care of the horses that the sport asks so much from, and the owners have been accessible and gracious in a year that was pretty stressful. They had a spectacular year with one horse (Big Brown), but also quite a few successes with others. They have done a wonderful job of taking care of those horses, giving them the time to heal when it was needed and retiring them when it was in the horse's best interests (Benny the Bull).

I won't say anything negative about other owners, but I do think that if the Eclipse awards focused more on the total package of ownership and didn't just reward the owners that made the most money (same for trainers), it would be a move that would end up improving the integrity of the sport.

29 Dec 2008 8:05 PM
Richie

My vote goes to Jerry and Ann Moss. It would be a dream come true if someday horse owners cared about their horses-both stars and not so great runners-as they do. Their commitment to these great athletes goes beyond their time on the track. The Moss's sent their great horse Ruhlmann to Old Friends (great idea to give Michael an award)and continued to support him until his death a few days ago. Not many owners today would have done that, sad to say. They also have another horse at OF-Kudos,who they fully support. Also a vote for them for bringing Zenyatta back so we can all enjoy her for another year of racing!!! Plus they are really nice people.  

29 Dec 2008 8:07 PM
Dreamer's Mom

Since I am one of the "little guys" in this business, I have to throw my vote with the Pepper's Pride crowd.  She did make a million after all.  Go through the catalogs and see how many of those mares made that kind of money-not many.  Something to be said for keeping your homebred home and taking all the cash! And doing it with the best  interest of the horse always in mind.  

One horse does not an Owner of the Year make, BUT it's about quality sometimes, not just quantity.

29 Dec 2008 8:08 PM
Kevin

Jesse Jackson. Letting Curling race as a 4 year old was a class act. Horse Racing could use a lot more class acts ! ( If you get my drift ).

29 Dec 2008 8:40 PM
Nancy

Gretchen and Roy Jackson.  It's easy to love a winner.  Seems to me class has been on the decline since about Paul Mellon et al.  

This quote of  Kipling's is engraved over the tunnel from the locker room leading to Center Court at Wimbeldon ...

If you can meet Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same...

How could the Jackson's have been more gracious in the face of tragedy?

29 Dec 2008 8:42 PM
Dan

love all those posting 'without a doubt' but am sure they mean without a doubt in THEIR mind.

IEAH probably had the best year--and thanks Rita-couldn't pass up the chance to slam them when all that was asked is who would you vote for for owner of the year-NOT worst owner--I would agree with other poster who says if we are going to comment on drugs etc how about being fair handed with it and quit acting like Dutrow is the only one who had a violation or BB raced on steroids when we know Curlin did and his trainer has had a violation or two and sorry but Curlin's ownership issues were every bit as distasteful as BB's.

My vote is split between the Moss's and Joe Allen--LOVE that they did what was best for their horse and both had spectacular fillies.

29 Dec 2008 8:46 PM
NEVERKICKYOURDOG

GARY TANAKA

THROUGH YEARS OF PERSONAL ADVERSITY, HE CONTINUED PROVIDING THE PUBLIC WITH MORE THAN ANYONE'S SHARE OF STAKES WINNERS AND STAKES PERFORMERS...HIS CONVICTIONS WILL GET OVERTURNED...THE MEDIAN AGES OF HIS STAKES PERFORMERS WILL SHOCK YOU...I AM "PROUDinsky" TO VOTE FOR HIM.

29 Dec 2008 10:10 PM
NEVERKICKYOURDOG

IT WAS DINNER TIME AND I HAD TO SEND OUT A SHORT COMMENT A BIT EARLIER--GARY TANAKA.

MY RUNNER-UP WOULD BE GEORGE STRAWBRIDGE(AUGUSTIN).

BACK TO MR. TANAKA.  BEFORE ANYONE GETS OVERLY-JUDGMENTAL BECAUSE OF HIS RECENT CONVICTIONS, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT PHILANTHORPIST LOUIS WOLFSON ALSO HAD SOME LEGAL PROBLEMS.  BETWEEN THE TIME HE PURCHASED RAISE A NATIVE  AND CAMPAIGNED HORSE OF THE YEAR ROMAN BROTHER...........TO THE TIME HE CAMPAIGNED OUR MOST RECENT TRIPLE CROWN WINNER, MR. WOLFSON HAD AN ITINERY THAT WASN'T PLANNED ON.

NO RAISE A NATIVE, NO:

MR. PROSPECTOR, MAJESTIC PRINCE, ALYDAR, AFFIRMED, SMART STRIKE, RAVEN'S PASS, CURLIN...........

29 Dec 2008 11:16 PM
LDP

First off all you people need to quit arguing about Curlins connections being bad vs BB connections being worse. It's stupid, and just about as pointless as the debate on which horse is better, which got old and tiresome a long time ago. Why not just accept the facts which are both had great years, yet both had some distasteful connections with trainers who had violations. JJ let Curlin race as 4yr old, and yes it could have been partially because of the legal entanglements, but could it also have been because he actually wanted to see Curlin run too? JJ could've retired Curlin right after he won the JCGC, I'll bet farms wanted him by then, but he let him run in the Classic on a surface he and his trainer did not like. BB's connections also could've retired him after the Belmont, but they didn't. Some may say well they just wanted to get his price back up, that could be part of it, but could it also be that they didn't want to go out like slime balls, so they went in and redeemed theirselves. Tell me why everything has to be divided, i know darn well that all of you on here have made a decision that involved more than one thing that made up your mind, like maybe you really wanted to switch jobs but you stayed with your old one because you know the economy sucks and you'll have a heck of a time finding a new one. The other reason could be you also want to stick with you company to see if things get better. Some people will say how loyal you are, because you stuck with that job, others will say what i just said about the economy and that you were forced to stay and as soon as you get the chance you'll leave. I was watching an episode of House when Kamoran was upset with Wilson for selling out House to a cop. Wilson told the cop about House's drug addiction because he wanted him to go to rehab and get better, but as Kamoran pointed out as soon as Wilson talked to the cop his life got a ton better, so basicly Wilson made the decision based on both reasons. Kinda resembles this situation.

   To be honest i've gotten fed up with the owners and connections of the horses and all the bull they throw around, so i do my best to focus on the horse and not let their connections infulence who i like. To me the best owner should be the one whose motives are soley based on helping the sport go back to the way it was. It in todays world is hard to find someone who is really like that since most people will tell you how much they love the game and sport, but got their other reasons and side deals. If anyone on here can tell me one person in the sport of horse racing who cares soley about getting racing back on it's feat, and i mean you better know this person inside and out before you go shooting off you mouth, tell me cause i'd love to know.

29 Dec 2008 11:43 PM
Azarax

My vote is forJerry and Ann Moss for their commitment to racing and horses.

Have to say I respect Jess Jackson for taking Curlin to this years Breeders Cup when he knew Curlin did not do well on grass.

And always, Gretchen and Roy Jackson for their love of Barbaro.

30 Dec 2008 12:17 AM
Ejay

Michael Iavarone, Big Brown's owner.  His best asset won't necessarily be a horse, but a hospital...the 23,000-square foot, $17 million Ruffian Equine Medical Center is under construction in Elmont, just down the block from Belmont Park.

30 Dec 2008 1:46 AM
Sandown Farm

Like so many awards; the Leading Owner award is without criteria or definition. Is it the most popular; likely the Moss's should win. Is it the owner with the most successful string of horses; wins; grade 1's; earnings; clearly IEAH wins.  The Peppers Pride owners deserve some form of kudos. Jess Jackson; for all the reason above does not make my final two;

For me its hold my nose and vote for IEAH...try to remember their horses and not who they are; works better that way

30 Dec 2008 4:50 AM
taxistan

Joe Allen for doing it the way I would hope I would.

30 Dec 2008 6:57 AM
da3hoss

Cgriff, you make a really good case for Rick Porter...so good, in fact, I amend my purely clinical assessment from Maggi Moss (who i think is a heck of an owner) to Rick Porter, based on accomplishemnt, yes, but all the additional factors and pressures that he handled SO WELL and with such dignity for the industry. A heck of a class act.

30 Dec 2008 7:01 AM
newsline2

Sheikh Mohammed should be Owner of the Year for his financed rescue of Watchtower in September. His commitment to the off-spring of Dubai Millenium demonstrates how much he values his animals.

Or if focused on racing and the horse, Pepper's Pride's people deserve the title. They planned and managed her career so that she is sound at five and a winner. Breeder/owner campaigned and a genuine accomplishment.

30 Dec 2008 7:30 AM
jaj

IEAH.  They had a great year; they were available to the press and were very colorful in their and their connections' interviews.  They were generous--think about that wonderful equine hospital they built.  They combined the big-business aspect of top-level racing with the pure love and emotion of the sport and the animal.  I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Honorable mention goes to the Moss' for their class.

I do not think Jackson deserves to be the top owner.  What did he do to deserve it--he raced a horse in its four-year old year?  That was about Jackson, not the horse and not the fans.  He didn't allow Asmussen to plan Curlin's year, basically interfering.  When things didn't go his way, he whined and whined and whined.

30 Dec 2008 7:54 AM
draynot

Jess Jackson hands down.

Not only for bringing back Curlin but for having the courage to run him over the grass and the fake crap. He could have stuck to the dirt and won all his races but displayed the sportmanship of going over surfaces that clearly were not Curlin's preference. Jess Jackson and Company went out of their way to face the best out there and give the world a look at a true champion.

30 Dec 2008 8:27 AM
DONNA

 My vote goes to Jerry and Ann Moss and to Peppers Pride owners. The Moss's could retire Zenyatta but are bringin her back again in 2009. It should be an exciting year for them and big Z. Honerable Mention to Jess Jackson and Rick Porter. Two very classy owners.

  Perhaps they previous connections of Papi Chulo could get together and buy him back to retire him at old friend?? He certainly would deserve it instead of lowering such an honorable horse to $10,000 claiming ranks. We all know what the next step will be for the poor horse. Hope someone reads this and helps him.

30 Dec 2008 9:35 AM
No Brainer

Owners of the year SHOULD be Earnharts who have consistenly year after year, interview after interview- been the best PR for the business-When one describes class, and a positive image- they win my vote!  

30 Dec 2008 10:20 AM
Barbara L

I would like to nominate King

Abdullah for giving us back our

beloved Alysheba.

30 Dec 2008 10:46 AM
Kathryn

Jess Jackson for his choice to bring back the 'Iron Man' Curlin for a four year old season. My second choice would have to be Jerry and Ann Moss. They had a great year and are very classy people. Plus it cant hurt to have an undefeated superstar filly in your stable named Zenyatta.

30 Dec 2008 10:47 AM
ElAngelo

I know nobody likes them, but IEAH had a fantastic year in myriad divisions.  They're miles ahead of owners like Jackson and Allen, who are admirable for keeping their horses running, but who basically had one horse.  And we can make the same arguments about Jackson and Curlin about Tracy Famer and Commentator or Mike Pegram and Midnight Lute.

It's got to be IEAH.  The only other owner I'd put in their league would be Juddmonte, who had a sneakily good year with Grade 1 winners Ventura, Champs Elysees, Doctor Dino and First Defence.

30 Dec 2008 10:49 AM
Katherine

My initial response to your question was to vote for Jess Jackson for all of the reasons that have been mentioned. However after reading the numerous vey well thought posts and taking some time to consider it, I have to vote for the Mosses this year. They are sportsmen and take care of their horses to the end! It is hard to vote for only one. I so admire Joe Allen, Gretchen and Roy Jackson, Rick Porter and Jess Jackson. I could have voted for any of them too! I could have included IEAH in the prior sentence until I heard about Papi Chullo. I hope IEAH makes it their business to rescue Papi and provide him the retirement he deserves. (It would not surprise me if they did.)

Steve I am looking forward to more of your great blogs next year and, by the way, could you please squeeze in some more Thoroughbred Great books too? Thank you for all the great stories.  I enjoy reading so many of the comments too.

I wish you and your family and the other bloggers a wonderful and blessed New Year.  

30 Dec 2008 10:58 AM
Joey

FOX HILL FARMS, for having a fan web site/forum (www.rockportharbor.com)and keeping fans updated on all their horses, from their yearling purchases, to their 2 year olds, 3 year olds, stakes horses (Eight Belles, Old Fashioned, Kodiak Kowboy, Honest Man...prior owners of Round Pond, Hard Spun).

Also FOX HILL FARMS for having the guts and foresight to put Eight Belles in the KY Derby, where she belonged and took 2nd. The freak accident after the race could have occurred during training or in another race and was not related to steroids or running her injured or unprepared. They stood behind the trainer/jockey after the tragic KY Derby accident and were open/honest with the public and the press about their emotions. And the owner, Rick Porter,  had good suggestions regarding a nationwide racing steward, when discussions occurred regarding future safety of thoroughbreds, after the tragic Eight Belles incident. They coordinated a fundraising effort(Eight Belles wristbands) in honor of Eight Belles which resulted in many donations to an organization that saves thoroughbreds from slaughter, and many thoroughbreds have been saved as a result.

30 Dec 2008 11:05 AM
Monica V

I have to go with Jess Jackson.  I remember thinking that they would retire Curlin for sure just as the other top 3 year olds were retired in 2007.  I was astounded at the announcement that Curlin would race as a 4 year old.  Used to be that all the good 3 year olds ran as 4 year olds but that has changed in recent years.  We rush them off to stud before they have a chance to prove themselves as older horses.  

I realize that there were ownership problems but there are still ownership problems with Curlin.  That is not going to go away anytime soon but it didn't keep Jackson from retiring him this year.  It's really a shame that all the best 3 year olds retire.  What does that do to our older division?  

As for worst owner, I wouldn't say Ivarone was the worst but he really should have done his damage control far sooner.  The biggest problem Ivarone had was Dutrow and his mouth.  He should have stopped that back in the early spring.  That really hurt Big Brown more than anything.  It's okay to brag about your horse but is it sportsman like to slam every other horse?  I sincerely hope not.

Thanks, Steve, for the wonderful looks back this year and for your blogs.  They have been so much fun and I really enjoy them.  How could one not enjoy them with the likes of Wanda, Bradgm and Bighorsefan and Atthebarn2 posting comments with knowledge, heart and humor.  It's been great!

30 Dec 2008 11:18 AM
ZipsSecret

I suppose Jess Jackson would be an obvious choice if you believe that bringing Curlin back was completely unselfish, it did derive him significant gain as well, he is now the all-time leading money earner which will not hurt his value as a stallion, plus there was all the legal mess associated with his ownership.  So I will have to go with the Moss's, first for taking time with a great filly (Zenyatta) and now they are going to continue to run her again next year when there is no real financial value to be derived from that, she waits at least another year to have a foal and running her one more year won't make them anymore valuable then they already are.  My vote is for the Moss's.

30 Dec 2008 11:31 AM
Marcia

Late in adding my thoughts, but at first read I was thinking Jess Jackson for bringing Curlin back, no matter the legal tangle for sending him to stud, but then as I read the other commentators I begain to agree with the suggestion for Joe Allen and his great handling of the campaign for Peppers Pride, and then Rick Porter for his dignity in the face of such horror with poor Eight Belles and his support for Larry Jones.  So I choose Joe Allen and Rick Porter in a tie, and then Jess Jackson.  

30 Dec 2008 11:37 AM
Wanda

I'm puzzled by the comment about Papi Chullo being claimed the other day at Aqueduct for 10 G's. That's serious money to most of us and the horse must be running good to take a shot at claiming him for that much. So I'll stick my neck out and say he'll be looked after very well for now and if he goes down hill at that point I'd be concerned. I'm sure they know what they have, and claimed him on his back class.

On an unrelated subject Steve, have you heard any news on Dennis of Cork?

30 Dec 2008 11:40 AM
Soldier Course

Joe Allen, owner of Peppers Pride, for giving the sport an opportunity to do the right thing.

Jess Jackson, for his wonderful Final Turn acknowledgment of,and appreciation for,horseracing's fans

30 Dec 2008 11:44 AM
Jennifer

Jeesh, there are so many well thought out comments.  Here's my small addition.  

My immediate reaction was Jess Jackson, hands down, for giving us another year of Curlin, and for not being afraid to take chances, here and abroad.  But then there's also the Mosses, who, with their wonderful trainer, every year put so much heart and soul into the sport. And of course, for Ruhlmann (I feel like I should draw a picture of a heart here, but I don't know how to do it on the computer - - and I know, it's kind of lame).   And Barbara L. mentioned King Abdullah for giving us back Alysheba.  What a good pick.  And along those same lines, how about Michael Blowen for making sure that the horses that come to his attention are safe and sound, and well loved.  He may not have current racers but, anyone who takes good care of the older guys, gets a vote in my book.  So, that's it for me.   I like thinking about it, but it's hard to narrow it down to just one person!

Maybe that's a good thing.  Happy holidays, Steve.  And may 2009 bring you much happiness.            

30 Dec 2008 12:06 PM
Karen in Indiana

Steve, I know this is a little off-subject so if you don't want to post it, that's understandable. Some people have been talking about Papi Chullo. Pedigreequery.com shows 3 horses with a name that is close to that. This is the way the one that IEAH owned is spelled. According to their website, he ran in a 25K claimer and was claimed for 16k. If you are concerned about him, you can go to equibase.com and set up a virtual stable. You'll get an email when he trains or races. I've been watching Tiger Eyed, who is set to be in a claim race on Jan. 2.

30 Dec 2008 1:16 PM
dan

I think the Mosses are #1 for owners with runners who are currently at the top of their game.  I would also like to acknowledge the owners of two all time greats. T.J. Kelly & the Grant family for their continued care and dedication to Evening Attire who now lives in Pauling N.Y.  If not fo a injury he would have been the favorite in last year's B.C. marathon. Also, Sakatoga Stable for allowing Funny Cide to reside at the Kentucky Horse Park and be visited by his many fans.

30 Dec 2008 1:36 PM
Pam S.

I confess I had sort of forgotten about Rick Porter, but all the comments about his dignity and grace after the death of his great filly, especially comments by cgriff, have made me reconsider him as a viable candidate for owner of the year.  I guess PETA would be outraged, if they're still paying attention to racing.

However, I still vote for the Mosses.  I feel they would have behaved the same if they had been in Porter's sad situation.

30 Dec 2008 1:38 PM
SundaySilenced

On paper probably IEAH. But, man the little guy deserves their chance for the spotlight. How many Peppers come along to the average Joe? IEAH, the Jacksons and the others will have another shot, and THEY can recieve the honorable mentions..I just got to give it to the little guy, who for the love of a horse made history.

30 Dec 2008 2:01 PM
Kate

1. Jerry and Ann Moss

*Joe Allen/Maggi Moss

Honorable mentions after the Mosses.  

I'm sorry but I just don't buy the idea that Jess Jackson ran Curlin at 4 just for the fans and his own true blue racing heart.  The attempt to value Curlin at $20 million was laughable.  Given how much Curlin costs to keep on the track including insurance, this year it was viable.  He had a few million and greater prestige coming to him.  He just won't be pulling in the same money as last time, we all know he's not at his best on synthetic and I doubt he'd travel to Dubai at 5...it just makes no financial sense to run him to break even.  The competition on American dirt tracks isn't something he needs to quake in fear about unless it's because he's off form and who wants to watch that?  Jess didn't make an emotional decision this year...he made an emotion + business decision.  Would you turn down $5 mil when nobody wants to send a top mare to your stallion for all the legal mess?  You give him a steadier career at stud if you wait.

I get that Jackson and IEAH have quality horses and do seem to care about the game.  Keeping a horse on the track shouldn't get it for Jackson this year any more than the Mosses next as much as I love Zenyatta--to me the Mosses represent so much in the game that has to do with class and sportsmanship. IEAH pulled the whole 'card me a grass race' thing in NY for Big Brown.  They could've met Curlin on dirt--they were worried about their horse's feet plus they figure BB was stronger than Curlin on synthetics.  The Ruffian hospital gets you humanitarian awards but the Eclipse for outstanding owner?  

I say for a year where voters find themselves voting for people that make them cringe for one reason or another, either give them the option of voting for someone that makes them proud to be in the sport, or have a special award of merit to recognize that person or persons. Curlin and Big Brown were never really 'the people's horse' to the level of Smarty Jones or Barbaro.  They just weren't. Why?  The owners.  I can understand folks that think it's not fair but if owners turn fans off, isn't that the opposite of what the sport needs?

30 Dec 2008 2:51 PM
whitney

I agree with the posters who say IEAH had a great year(and with those who say knock off the badmouthing unless going to be fair and even handed) and the Ruffian Med. Ctr is great BUT I split my vote between the Moss's and Joe Allen--they both ignored pressure to "prove" idiotic stuff about their horses and both had wonderful wonderful fillies in the unbelievable Zenyatta and the gutsy 'all she knows how to do is win" Peppers Pride--two best stories of the year in my book.

30 Dec 2008 3:33 PM
SGUNNE

Joe Allen for running a horse where she should be run and providing a great story.

Jerry and Ann Moss for running a top notch racing operation and caring about the horse that they race.

Don't mind Jess Jackson, but hate the people he had to deal with to get Curlin.

Any owner but Maggie Moss.  She is a prime example of what is wrong with horse racing.  It is about more than winning the most races.  Anyone can win lots of races that can afford to drop $40K claimers down to $20K and $10K.

30 Dec 2008 3:33 PM
whitney

P.S. Steve--forgot to thank you for all the wonderful writing you have shared with us---your Cigar stories were magical and i for one will always be grateful for what you wrote about Big Brown after his injury. Thank you!!

30 Dec 2008 3:36 PM
Martha

What is... or should be... the criteria for choosing? We, the fans, probably have very different values from those who cast votes and those who are Eclipse-worthy contenders. And not just one criteria, either. Do you go by accomplishments? Character? Likeability? We're not just choosing a "best" - first we would have to choose which *type* of "best".

Maybe there should be more than one award. One for most sportsmanlike behavior. Another for greatest single accomplishment. Yet another for doing something that benefits the sport... or even something that most benefitted us, the fans. And perhaps even another for world dominance.

Regardless of "why" he did it, I think Jess Jackson should be recognized for racing Curlin as a 4-year-old. We fans would like to see that behavior reinforced positively.

Even though there was a lot about them that was unloveable, IEAH deserves recognition for the season they had, exemplified by the day of the Florida Derby.

And it's hard not to recognize the Maktoum family for their world dominance this past year.

And Rick Porter's grace deserves recognition too.

I have no idea who won the most money, nor do I particularly care.

30 Dec 2008 4:10 PM
Ron Thompson

Wow, great comments.  I'd have to go with the Moss' who not only had a great year but have demonstrated their responsibility to the game with how they care for horses when they retire.  Ruhlman just passed at Old Friend's and had been pensioned by them.  IEAH deserves notable mention for not only their great success but their position on Drugs and their extraordinary contribution of the equine hospital by Belmont.  And they have to give an award for Pepper's Pride and his great success.

Thanks Steve for your wonderful article on Invasor.

30 Dec 2008 5:12 PM
Steve Haskin

Martha, you make a lot of good points, but are you casting a vote? There is no criteria as you can see from everyone's votes and reasons. It is who you feel is the Owner of the Year. Basically the award was meant to honor accomplishments, but it's obvious that character, likeability, being good for the sport, owning a record-breaking filly, and keeping your horse in training as a 4-year-old are all playing a major part in the voting. All this will be discussed after the voting ends. I am fascinated by all the different criteria people are going by. We even had a vote for someone who doesnt even own any horses.

I wish at this time to thank everyone for participating and expressing their views, and for all the holiday wishes.

30 Dec 2008 5:16 PM
Lexie

You can make a case for several owners, IEAH with the huge year they had with Big Brown, Benny the Bull and others, the Moss's with Zenyatta and Tiago but I think it has to go to Jess Jackson for giving us one more year to enjoy the phenomenal Curlin.  Curlin may have tapered off a bit at the end of the year but his win in Dubai was breath taking.  He romped over some excellent horses from around the world in the desert in the heat ... this after his awe inspiring win in the Breeder's cup classic in the slop.  Curlin at his best was a sight to behold. So my hat is off to Jess Jackson for sharing this Chestnut beauty with us for a wee bit longer.

30 Dec 2008 5:37 PM
Martha

Naw, I think my point was that I can't figure out how to cast a vote!

The only thing I can vote for, for certain, is for Steve Haskin as best racing columnist ever.

30 Dec 2008 6:34 PM
Steve Haskin

aaaw, thanks, Martha. That's very nice of you to say. I sppreciate it.

30 Dec 2008 7:05 PM
Steve Haskin

It might sound a bit more sincere if I knew how to spell appreciate.

30 Dec 2008 7:13 PM
KielyK

Jerry and Ann Moss.  They are model owners.   No intense PR, they just do the right thing,

30 Dec 2008 7:30 PM
Susan

Joe Allen. Careful of his horse and not too big for his boots. He made 19 wise decisions in the last few years for Pepper's Pride.

Someone said that Jess Jackson shouldn't be rewarded for bringing Curlin back for a fourth year because that's what owners SHOULD be doing anyway. I agree that they should, but they don't, and they're not going to without that reinforcement from the public and from their peers. Money is already a reinforcement for retiring, and if praise and fame are now reinforcements for not retiring, we may see somewhat of a shift towards older horses racing.

30 Dec 2008 7:44 PM
Carole

Jess Jackson for allowing all of us to enjoy Curlin at four including the Breeders' Cup Classic.  I will never forget the first time I saw Curlin -- as he came out of the mist with his large white lead pony in prep for a work at Santa Anita.  It was magical!

30 Dec 2008 8:01 PM
HardSpun'sBigFan

Mike Iavarone & IEAH:

1.  For overcoming such negative personal press.

2.  For building an equine hospital in N.Y.

3.  For his marketing savvy - yes, he does have it.

4.  For being a "Voice" for owners and being the first to run steroid free.

5.  For his many charitable donations.

6.  For hugging Big Brown the way he did after the Belmont.  Just look at that photo!  It says it all.

30 Dec 2008 11:15 PM
Vixen'smom

Jess Jackson, hands down!  Allowing racing fans an extra season with Curlin makes him a winner in my book.  The excitement in the air surrounding Curlin at Saratoga this year was palpable. It gave racing a much needed boost.  It was a courageous thing to let Curlin run another season, we need more owners with Jackson's vision.

30 Dec 2008 11:33 PM
Bradgm

Actually Susan, there are a lot of 4 and over horses running. Just none of the other owners telling us what a great thing they are doing for racing.

30 Dec 2008 11:40 PM
Bradgm

aaaw, thanks, Martha. That's very nice of you to say. I sppreciate it.

Steve Haskin 30 Dec 2008 7:05 PM

Hmmmm, my theory of party animal may be right. Tee many Martunees Steve?

LDP,

HUH???

(pass me some of Jess Jackson's wine. Steve, you thought my post was hard to decipher?)

30 Dec 2008 11:47 PM
JudiO

Jess Jackson - sportsman and horseman.

31 Dec 2008 8:10 AM
PAM of Sunny Farm

MY vote would be the owners of PEPPERS PRIDE. While there are many people in the industry who achieve great things, I would vote for the one who worked just as hard as everyone else, but I think the difference is that the owners of PEPPERS PRIDE ignited an excitement amongst the smaller owners & many race fans. To raise & race a horse is very exspensive and when a smaller farm wins, everyone else who is a smaller owner also shares this pride & is further optomistic of their own dreams & chances. My greastest excitment's were watching CURLIN succeed in Dubia, watching the Breeders Cup races & seeing Richard Migliore WIN, WHAT a race !

Another race that got my heart pounding was at Emerald Downs in Washington state when six year old gelding WASSERMAN won the Breeders Cup challenge. His owners & connections love him so much & he won by heart & his own pride. He had a gleam in his eye that day & ran for love of his owners, grooms & Jockey.Come to think of it, I WOULD vote for the Belvoirs & WASSERMAN, the former, having done a lot for racing-you just don't hear much about the smaller farms & stables.

While I am on-line , I would vote for the Breeders Cup ltd, IF they quailified, I know they do not, but they deserve a lot of credit AND thanks for their tireless work to make racing a LEVAL playing ground & giving ALL of us a chance at our dreams, not just the very wealthy, but ALL of us. I think the Breeders Cup has done so much for the sport and has had the courage & integrity to make changes, especially concerning steroids  et al. In this economic down-turn, The Breeders Cup also changed their plan to cut stakes for 2009 BASED on what the ''people'' wanted.And what we needed. Now the "show will go on'' Our support is needed & it is NOT just about a few, but about the whole as a whole. Big or small , we are all in this together & one will not suceed without the other. Thank-you Breeders Cup for your courage.

Because of you, I carry my dreams with me each day to my long days with my horses & you have given me a reason to press on despite what is probalbly a hardship IF I were not a real opptomist ,having faith in my own breeding program. There are so many un-spoken heroes you never hear about. My greatest respect now goes to my stallion, who at 17 years old saved my life from a mad deer who charged me. My stallion leaped like Pegasus & placed my very life before his own. THAT is courage & THIS is what the term LOVE really means, so CLASSI ENVOY- my vote would go to YOU, my loyal friend & big Beauty.I wish everyone a great new year !...and remember, it is ALL of us who love the Thoroughbred- who are winners as well.

31 Dec 2008 11:45 AM
Texspect

My vote is for Joe Allen, owner of Peppers Pride. To win 19 straight and to be undefeated in any venue is a grand accomplishment. For her to be racing at 5 years old is a present to the fans. Too bad this isns't the old days maybe she could go after Pan Zareta's record :-). In respect to Curlin, I think the 10% contributed by the jockey could have been factors in his defeat both on grass and Pro-Ride surfaces. It would seem if you were trying a new or different surface you would try and position your horse closer to the pace. Since Curlin was really a grinder, in my opinion, he was held too far off the pace(s). Again, in my opinion, the best horses win on any surface. The trainers and jockeys make the tactical errors. If horses could talk, I think it would go something like this: "What do you want me to do today, I want to go today and you want to hold me back, When I wanted to hang back you wanted me to go. Make up our minds."  

Thanks again Steve for your wonderfully told stories and thought provoking inquisitions.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.

31 Dec 2008 2:09 PM
mcaggo

In my opinion it has to be IEAH. They made such a big splash this year with Big Brown. They have other graded winners such as Benny the Bull, but they also brought an enthusiasm to being an owner again. It has long been my belief that the many past performances available should not only list jockey/trainer combo stats but also owner/trainer stats as well. Owners do not get enough recognition in our sport. This might fuel their already high competitive nature.

Mike

31 Dec 2008 2:09 PM
Rose

Jess Jackson for bringing back Curlin as a 4 year old and for  trying other options, other than playing it safe and using him soley as a dirt horse.  Its hard

to pick an owner when you are not

behind the scenes to see the true nature of the beast (owner).

To me the owner should be involved in all aspects from training decesions, health, insurance and

choosing a responsible trainer that will take not only take responsibility for the horses welfare but remain honest with a good deal of personal integrety and sportmanship thrown in for good measure.

31 Dec 2008 2:13 PM
Virgil Fox

Steve,

I'm still reading.

Don't cut it off yet - please.

Thanks

31 Dec 2008 3:11 PM
RjA

How about the owners of Pepper's Pride...Talk about the time, care , attention and patience with a horse to bring out that kind of potential WOW !

31 Dec 2008 3:59 PM
Steve Haskin

Reading what, Virgil? Let's have your own opinion now. No copying off others :)

31 Dec 2008 4:29 PM
Silky Sullivan fan

Karen in Indiana posted my vote nearly exactly--Kelly/Grants, Sackatoga Stables, King Abdullah, STD Racing Stable/Jason Wood--for making sure that Evening Attire, Funny Cide, Alysheba and Lava Man have all been retired safely and with dignity. My nonsentimetal vote is for IEAH.

31 Dec 2008 4:41 PM
Wanda

Hey Brad and Steve it's New Years Eve now, not yesterday. Man I'd hate to see you guys on here tonight!

31 Dec 2008 4:43 PM
MIchael Blowen

Steve, Great year...We have a place at Old Friends for Papi for anyone who wants to retire him...Maggi Moss has contacted us...From our point of view there are some great owners that care very much about retiring their horses....Jerry and Ann Moss, Maggi Moss, Ed and Sharon Hudon, Mary and Bob Sullivan, Brookdale, Charles Robinson, William Clifton, Jack Preston, Jeff Puglisi, Summer Wind Farm, Steve Kenley and Jason Wood and Kris Jakeman...Clever Allemont arrives on Friday...Happy New Year...And thanks for all your support...Michael

31 Dec 2008 5:44 PM
Leslie H.

Jackson!!  Thanks for racing Curlin at 4!!  

Runner - Up: The Mosses.  They are classy and race their horses at four and older.  

IEAH ~ no class!!I ~ they had Big Brown sold to stud before the Triple Crown was done.  I want to see the top horses come back as Jackson did with Curlin.

31 Dec 2008 6:10 PM
IlovePapi

Mr. Blowen,

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You and Old Friends will be in my daily prayers for the entirety of 2009 at least.  Thank you, Mr. Haskin, for allowing the blog to bring a potentially happier future to a deserving creature.  Happy New Year to everyone of you, and God bless you all!  Thank you.

31 Dec 2008 6:33 PM
Virgil Fox

Steve,

That’s exactly why I was reading.

Trust me, I have an opinion, but if something similar has already been posted, I wanted to acknowledge the author. Just some journalistic courtesy (not that I claim to be neither a journalist nor an expert in this arena).

Perhaps you are correct and I should just spit it out.

There is one post that I do strongly agree with, and the multitude and variety of opinions offered so far have only served to reinforce my feelings. And for clarification purposes, I am not implying any negativity toward, nor agreement/disagreement with any of the previously expressed opinions, beliefs or judgments.

Well, there is a second post that echoes my sentiment rather succinctly.

OK, disclaimer complete.

The first post is from ………… none other than ………..Steve Haskin!!!

In particular, the following: “Let it be known I am not a fan of awards and pay little attention to them.”

The second post is from shamfan49: “I don't think an owner should be recognized for racing his horse.”

After first reading your introduction, it was almost automatic to think of Jess Jackson and Curlin.  I thought, ‘giving us Curlin this year has saved the sport!’  Admittedly, Curlin, his races and all related news and media has been my primary point of interest (in the world of Thoroughbred Racing) from day 1 right up to day 365.

But then reality sets in and I am quickly reminded of the financial issues surrounding the syndication in 2007.

And down the list I go of various owners that for whatever reason have caught my attention this calendar year.  Many have already been mentioned in previous posts, along with both positive and negative justification.  

Both the emotional and statistical arguments have been made, and some posts have tried to, and very justly, draw attention to special circumstances or rare happenings that may bring intrinsic value to the sport.

In my opinion, being blessed with the opportunity and responsibility to own and care for a horse should be its own reward – regardless of the horse’s age, sex, Beyer Speed Figure, bankroll, etc.  Racing a horse and winning a race should be its own reward – Claiming or Grade 1.

Since there is currently no formula, and since ‘value’ and ‘impact’ and ‘promotion’ and “outstanding achievement” are measured differently by each person, why does the award exist?

The fact that the pre-chosen “drop-down” options now exist only make the award more meaningless.  Who made those “drop-down” selections?  On what basis were they chosen?

Winning the race IS the reward.

Being blessed with owning a horse IS the reward.

If you disagree, you should do the responsible thing and see that your horse finds his/her way to somewhere/someone who does agree.

The End

Steve,

Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion.

31 Dec 2008 6:42 PM
CRob87

The "Power of the Blog"...is becoming pretty amazing.

Good job everyone.

31 Dec 2008 6:55 PM
Steve Haskin

Happy New Year, Michael, and another super year for Old Friends, despite your losses. To you and IlovePapi, I have been in contact with Rick Samuels thru NY Racing, and to a lesser degree Maggi Moss. As soon as I learn something regarding getting enough money to purchase Papi, I will write a story about it. We just need Joe Imperio and the current owner to do the right thing and sell him without any hitches or drawbacks. They are contacting Mike Iavarone as well. I would think that Mike, as a former co-owner of the horse, definitely will help out. We're talking $10,000 to help a horse who has provided his owners with numerous thrills, not to mention some hefty earnings and black type. Owners must be responsible for horses like Papi after they have plummeted into the low claiming ranks. It's great to know that a home awaits him at Old Friends.

31 Dec 2008 7:02 PM
Virgil Fox

P.S.

This probably does not apply to the Media Awards but –

Given the pre-selection of ‘finalists’ in the “drop-down” format, what do YOU think the chances are of a ‘write-in’ vote winning an award?

Thanks again.

31 Dec 2008 7:03 PM
Steve Haskin

Virgil, those Drop-downs will be discussed in my follow-up blog. You have some good thoughts there. And you certainly dont have to vote if you don't want to.

31 Dec 2008 7:04 PM
Virgil Fox

Steve,

Sounds like I may have hit a note with my “write-in” comment.

31 Dec 2008 7:26 PM
Bradgm

Wanda, Steve and I like to get a head start. I really don't drink much at all, so when I do it doesn't take much and I get a wee bit silly. (and my Irish accent comes out apparently).

Steve is on a roll, guess he got to liking these blogs when our old trainer friend had him ready to throw the towel in.

Stay safe tonight everyone, if the party hasn't already started.

Acutally we're going to a 'function' tuxedo's, concert, dancing the whole nine yards.

(Knew I'd pay for those trips to Saratoga, CD, Pimlico, Belmont and Keeneland)

31 Dec 2008 7:43 PM
Pat in Florida

Thanks, Steve for all of the great columns.  It's so wonderful to hear about these horses we love so much.  As far as the owners go, I have so much respect for the Jacksons, the Mosses and Jess Jackson.  But the owners that to me are the epitome of breeding and racing through the years are the Phipps.  It was great to see those videos this year on the Blood Horse of Personal Ensign, My Flag, Storm Flag Flying, and Inside Information.  How great is it that Pure Prize is becoming a good sire.  Anyway, thanks for all you do for racing.  Happy New Year - and let's hope 2009 is a good one for all of us.

31 Dec 2008 8:07 PM
Tammy

Mr and Mrs Moss

Grace over dollars.

Happy New Years to all!

31 Dec 2008 8:21 PM
loplop

I wonder who has a higher IQ...Kenny Mayne or Steve Haskin?  Can we do a drop-down poll?

31 Dec 2008 8:35 PM
Virgil Fox

Does anyone have access to, or could point me in the direction of a nice FULL PDF Past Performance for Papi?

I guess I’m reminiscing and wanted to further entertain my stroll down memory lane.

Thanks

31 Dec 2008 9:04 PM
David

1. Darley Stable

1a. Jerome Moss

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday(3-yo)

31 Dec 2008 9:32 PM
LDP

Sorry Brad,

    When i get mad at something, or think people aren't making any sence, i tent to rant and  rave a bit, and obviously, others don't understand my point. Basicly i was saying that more than one thing could've influenced Jackson's decision on keeping Curlin in training as a four year old. One is he does love the sport and wanted to see Curlin return, and help the sport. The other was probably that with all the legal issues going on it was a good idea to keep Curlin in training. Basicly the timing was good and he could have the pleasure of Curlin around aswell. People on here act like it was just one thing that made Jackson's mind up, and some believe he was being the hero, some believe he did what he did because he had no choice. I am saying that it was most likely both things that helped him decide to keep Curlin around. I was just asking people to use some common scense. I mean hasn't there been times where you made a decision based on both the situation and what you personaly wanted, just because they both gave you, in the end what you want?

31 Dec 2008 9:35 PM
Steve Haskin

Results of the poll and the follow-up blog discussing those results, a brief look at the year 2008, and a few other things likely will be posted this evening.

01 Jan 2009 10:47 AM
lobieb

Steve:

I understand that there is a fund that is started by Facebook to try to purchase Pappi so that we can send him to Old Friends.  I have looked online but don't seem to be able to find it.  I am a retiree with not much but Pappi was good to me when I bet on him in his earlier racing and would like to send something to see if we can't get him bought and retired with all grace and dignity.  If you could let me know what the site is so that I can get a check off it would be appreciated.  Thank you.

01 Jan 2009 12:43 PM
karen2

a day late and a dollar short. The story of my life. I don't know much about the owners so probably not qualified to vote anyway but I think IEAH even with all the negativity this year should be considered. I don't know Gretchen and Roy Jackson but they seem to truly care about their horses. Rick Porter handled the break down of Eight Belles with class. I'm not much for awards either but have two wishes for 2009. That Steve continues to share his gifts with us and the all those involved in the industry can come together and do what is best for the horses.  The true stars of this show

01 Jan 2009 12:45 PM
Steve Haskin

lobieb, the group is on Facebook, called New york Racing. I commented on it on Jason's blog (BC Chat). you can read all the details on there.

01 Jan 2009 2:15 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, Karen. Are you voting for anyone?

01 Jan 2009 2:16 PM
Karen2

Hi Steve, Happy New Year to you. If its not to late, my vote would be for IEAH. I am impressed with the Vet center they are putting up. I would like to see more of these "rich" owners give back to the industry.

01 Jan 2009 5:56 PM
Mercedes

I'm amazed how many people have chosen Jess Jackson for the reason that he brought back Curlin in 2008.

Do we really have to thank an owner to race a horse as a 4yo?

My pick is Sheikh Mohammed. For his respect for horses and people and his fair play attitude.

Best Wishes Steve!

I'm sure many years have been wonderful in your life, but we live in the present, so I wish 2009 is the best year of all for you and your family.

01 Jan 2009 6:26 PM
karen d

My vote would go to HRH King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for returning Alysheba to his home and his fans. It's easy to support the stars of today, but his lasting respect and care for this great horse, which includes covering all care for the rest of Alysheba's life, proved King Abdullah to be an exceptional sportsman and human being.  

01 Jan 2009 7:36 PM

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