NOVEMBER 5, 2012
by Ed DeRosa
Any thought that I'll Have Another could win Horse of the Year if chaos reigned in the Breeders' Cup is long gone after the event lived up to its championship moniker with Eclipse Award-winning performances throughout the two-day, 15-race, $25.5-million extravaganza.
Several performances were good enough to ensure not only a championship but also a unanimous championship. It would be extremely difficult to consider anyone except Groupie Doll, Royal Delta or Shanghai Bobby for an Eclipse Award in their respective divisions. And he didn't race on Breeders' Cup day, but I'll Have Another is also a likely unanimous selection.
Others probably clinching championships include Fort Larned (older male) and Wise Dan (turf male). That makes the loser in all this Little Mike, who won the Turf Classic, Arlington Million, and Breeders' Cup Turf but doesn't have the cache Wise Dan does.
The Breeders' Cup Classic goes another year without its winner taking home the Horse of the Year trophy (it's been since Curlin in 2007), and the eventual Horse of the Year hasn't even run in the Classic in two of the past four years.
Two-year-old filly will come down between Beholder and Executiveprivilege, with Questing likely to win three-year-old filly. Male sprinter and turf female are up for grabs. In the latter category, Tapitsfly has two Grade 1 wins while Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Zagora only has one, but it was the big one. If Tapitsfly wins again this year that would probably shore it up for her, otherwise Zagora will probably get it.
But overall, Breeders' Cup has to be pleased with the international collection of horses it brought together. A South American horse won the Marathon after qualifying via a Win & You're In race, Aidan O'Brien captured the Juvenile Turf, and a good contingent of international journalists covered the event.