This past Monday the Eclipse Awards were handed out to the top horses, trainers, jockeys, and owners of the horse racing industry for the year. For the most part, the award people generally can't wait for is the naming of Horse of the Year. This title, simply put, goes to the horse that has performed the best over the racing year. The winner can be male or female, and the horse does not have to be a certain age to win.
This year the three main contenders for the award were Big Brown, Zenyatta, and last year's winner Curlin. They all had their strong points. Big Brown was favored because he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness stakes (I'll talk about those in a later post, I promise), while Zenyatta went the year undefeated (much harder than it sounds), and Curlin took the Dubai World Cup (arguably the biggest race in the world) as well as a few Grade I races back in the states. So who gets it? That's up to the voters selected from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers Association, and that Daily Racing Form. They all gather and debate which horse is best while comparing each horse's data.
CURLIN! Yes, Curlin was given the honor of being Horse of the Year yet again. That's right, again. He is truly an amazing animal and I (along with other fans) are happy that the owners' choice of racing him another year paid off so nicely! Curlin had many accomplishments this year, two of the biggest being the Dubai World Cup and breaking the North American earnings record with $5,294,000 in won money. No horse has been able to win the repeat of the Horse of the Year title since Cigar won it multiple times over a decade ago. So in case you didn't think this was an amazing feat before, you should now. Not every horse has the heart to run the way Curlin can run, and possibly more importantly, not many owners have the faith and the desire to allow their horse to continue with their career long enough to get the chance for such greatness.
Kudos Curlin, it was an amazing year!