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The Horse of the Year Award Doesn’t Matter!

Forget the guy at the sandwich shop who constantly talks about the greatness of Shared Belief. Ignore the cult of people who try to convince you that California Chrome is the second coming of Swaps. Run away as fast as you can from anyone who tells you that Bayern doesn’t need the lead to win even an allowance race.

None of these people matter because the Horse of the Year award doesn’t matter

Back when the first recipoent Ack Ack won the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, horses would run up to ten times per year, and it was almost sacrilegious for the best horses to avoid one another for fear of losing their value as stallions. If you look at the five horses who won the award during the 70’s, the list is littered with horses who will live on in the hearts and minds of the racing public for all of time, and this is why there can be no true horse of the year this year. We the racing public still don’t know how we feel about any of the three main contenders.

Here’s a simple excercise:

If Main Sequence was kidnapped and forced to race at a bush track in Mongolia, how would you feel? How about if California Chrome and Bayern suffered the same fate? The answer to this question is that you simply don’t know. Main Sequence only ran four times this year. Bayern spent the better part of 6 months constantly disappointing his backers. California Chrome hadn’t won since May before his win in the Hollywood Derby. The race that could’ve provided clarity; the Breeder’s Cup Classic, only raised more doubts. Basically, these horses have unfinished business.

Hopefully, California Chrome and Bayern can meet at the Donn Handicap. It would be interesting to see what another head to head meeting would result in. Maybe, Bayern can go ¾ in 1:09.00 and still win a route race, but until that question is answered we can’t call him great.

California Chrome has answered many questions, but there is still one that is on the minds of many; can he win decisively outside of California. If he cannot, he is Lava Man; if he can, the Chromies will light up the internet like never before.

As much as I like Main Sequence, he has the furthest to go in his journey to win the hearts and minds of the American public. While four grade one wins is certainly impressive, he’s still seen as a European horse.

As far as I’m concerned, I view this as a gift. I’m tired of horses retiring at three. I’m tired of having to guess how two horses would have stacked up against one another because they refuse to actually race one another. I see this as the start of a new era in racing. The legacy that Affirmed and Alydar gave to Sunday Silence and Easy Goer is now being carried by California Chrome and Bayern. They have some unfinished business, lets cast our judgement after the dust has truly settled.

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