Even though it was only a little over two months, it seemed as though the Horse of the Year debate had gone on forever. Now that it is finally (and thankfully) over, I wanted to give people a final chance to express their thoughts before we move on.
The voting did lose a bit of its luster since Jerry Moss announced that Zenyatta would return in 2010, which is perfectly understandable. As passionate as both sides are, people know (hope) that the two horses will finally get to meet on the track this year and settle this thing the real way. I think knowing this kind of took the pressure off of everyone.
As far as the voting, Rachel won by a bit more than I thought (130-99). I had heard rumors in the week leading up to the awards that she was going to win, but I expected a closer vote. As you know, I have stated all along that Rachel deserved the award because her campaign was more complete. I'm glad my colleagues felt the same way and were not swayed by emotions. If you looked at most of the public polls conducted over the past two months, Zenyatta won nearly all of them--and pretty easily. No matter what happens in 2010, I believe the right horse won in 2009.
Like everyone else, however, I look forward to seeing both super horses meet on the track, hopefully more than once. A summer meeting in New York and a second one at the Breeders' Cup would be ideal. We'll see.
One last thought on the awards: I was disappointed that neither Jess Jackson nor Steve Asmussen mentioned Hal Wiggins during their three times on stage. It would have been a nice thing to do since Wiggins is the one who trained Rachel during her 2-year-old season and through the Kentucky Oaks. He deserves much of the credit for preparing her to do the things she did in 2009. With all the thanking that both Jackson and Asmussen did, it would have been nice to recognize Wiggins on a national stage. I guess neither felt the need to. I don't think it was an oversight either.
That's all I have on this subject. Let's get it out of our systems now and look forward to an exciting 2010.