Beginning Dec. 11 and through Jan. 15, 2010, fans can choose from among five compelling storylines – some human, some equine – and cast their ballots for NYRA “Story of the Year.”
The five nominees are highlighted in a video available at www.nyra.com, www.facebook.com/thenyra and NYRA’s official YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/nyravideo.
The five stories are:
• Linda Rice becoming the first woman to win a training title in New York when she saddled 20 winners to take the Saratoga meet by a single victory over Todd Pletcher. It was the first training title of any kind for Rice, who started her own stable in 1987, and the first victory by a woman at any major racetrack in the United States.
• Summer Bird sweeping the top races in New York as the first 3-year-old since Easy Goer in 1989 to win the Belmont Stakes, the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The chestnut colt followed in the footsteps of his sire, Birdstone, when he completed the Belmont-Travers double.
• Ramon Dominguez’s remarkable year as New York’s leading jockey, winning riding titles at all three of NYRA’s tracks – Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga – in his first full year of riding in the Empire State.
• Rachel Alexandra capping her extraordinary 3-year-old season at Saratoga by becoming the first filly to ever win the Woodward Stakes, defeating older horses in the process. In June at Belmont Park, the filly put on another dazzling show when she romped to a record 19 1/4-length victory in the grade I Mother Goose in a stakes record 1:46.33.
• Gio Ponti ’s victories in Belmont Park’s Man o’ War and Manhattan Handicaps in a superlative season that included two other grade I wins in the Frank Kilroe Handicap and the Arlington Million as well as a second in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont and a second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to Zenyatta.