Azeri Voted Horse of the Year in a Landslide

Azeri Voted Horse of the Year in a Landslide
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston<p>
2002 Horse of Year Azeri.
By Steve Haskin
With all the debating about Azeri's Horse of the Year credentials, it turned out to be a landslide. The daughter of Jade Hunter did not defeat males during her 2002 campaign, but she certainly dominated them in the voting for racing's highest honor.

Azeri, owned by the Allen Pauslon Living Trust and trained by Laura DeSeroux received 37 of the 44 votes from Daily Racing Form, 107 of the 128 votes from the National Turf Writers' Association, and 45 of the 53 votes from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, giving her 84% of the total votes. Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner War Emblem received a total of 12 votes, with Left Bank and Rock of Gibraltar each getting seven. Other Horse of the Year votes went to Orientate (three votes), and Storm Flag Flying, Toccet, Street Cry, Medaglia d'Oro, Volponi, and Xtra Heat (one each).

Azeri became the first female to be voted Horse of the Year since Lady's Secret in 1986, joining other distaffers All Along, Twilight Tear, and Busher. Moccasin was voted Horse of Year by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations in 1965, but Roman Brother took the honors in the more-recognized Morning Telegraph/Daily Racing Form poll. Of the 11 horses receiving Horse of the Year votes in 2002, three were fillies.

The most dominant category, to no one's surprise, was older female, where Azeri received all 227 votes. Also dominating her category was champion 2-year-old filly Storm Flag Flying, who received 226 of 227 votes, with Awesome Humor's one vote standing between her and a clean sweep. Champion sprinter Orientate received 220 of 227 votes.

All Eclipse champions in 2002 were unaninmous with the exception of leading older male, Left Bank, who narrowly lost out to Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Volponi in the NTRA poll, 18 votes to 16.

In the people categories, Richard Englander just squeaked by The Thoroughbred Corp. and Juddmonte Farms in the outstanding owner category. Englander won the NTRA poll, 18-14, over Frank Stronach, was trounced by the Thoroughbred Corp., 50-14 (finishing third), in the NTWA poll, and tied Juddmonte Farms, 10 apiece, in the DRF poll.

Juddmonte Farms beat out Harry Mangurian, winning two of the three polls, in the outstanding breeder category, while the remaining three categories were sweeps. Bobby Frankel easily beat out Steve Asmussen and Laura DeSeroux in the outstanding trainer category, Jerry Bailey finished well ahead of Edgar Prado in the outstanding jockey category, and Ryan Fogelsonger dominated John McKee in the outstanding apprentice jockey category.

2002 ECLIPSE AWARDS

Horse of the Year: AZERI

Two-Year-Old Male: Vindication

Two-Year-Old Female: Storm Flag Flying

Three-Year-Old Male: War Emblem

Three-Year-Old Female: Farda Amiga

Older Male: Left Bank

Older Female: Azeri

Sprinter: Orientate

Male Turf Horse: High Chaparral (IRE)

Female Turf Horse: Golden Apples (IRE)

Steeplechase: Flat Top

Owner: Richard Englander

Breeder: Juddmonte Farms

Jockey: Jerry Bailey

Apprentice Jockey: Ryan Fogelsonger

Trainer: Robert Frankel


VOTING SUMMARY
In all equine categories, with the exception of Horse of the Year, each voting group's first choice counts 10 points, five points for second and one for third. In the Horse of the Year balloting and in all human categories, each voting group receives one vote counting one point; maximum, three points.

Two-Year-Old Male: Vindication, 30; Toccet, 15; Sky Mesa, 2

Two-Year-Old Female: Storm Flag Flying, 30; Awesome Humor, 5

Three-Year-Old Male: War Emblem, 30; Medaglia d'Oro, 11; Came Home, 7

Three-Year-Old Female: Farda Amiga, 30; Imperial Gesture, 7; Take Charge Lady, 6; You, 5

Older Male: Left Bank, 25; Volponi, 17.5; Street Cry (IRE), 3.5; Evening Attire, 2

Older Female: Azeri, 30

Sprinter: Orientate, 30; Xtra Heat, 10; Left Bank, 5; Gygistar, .5; Kalookan Queen, .5

Male Turf Horse: High Chaparral (IRE), 30; With Anticipation, 11; Rock of Gibraltar (IRE), 7

Female Turf Horse: Golden Apples (IRE), 30; Starine (FR), 15; Astra, 3

Steeplechase Horse: Flat Top, 30; It's a Giggle, 8.5; McDynamo, 8.5

Horse of the Year: Azeri, 3

Outstanding Owner: Richard Englander, 1.5; The Thoroughbred Corp., 1; Juddmonte Farms, .5

Outstanding Breeder: Juddmonte Farms, 2; Harry Mangurian, 1

Outstanding Trainer: Robert Frankel, 3

Outstanding Jockey: Jerry Bailey, 3

Outstanding Apprentice Jockey: Ryan Fogelsonger, 3

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