A lot has happened since my last post.
California Chrome was named 2014 Horse of the Year.
Shared Belief won the much anticipated rematch.
And yes...people are still complaining, still fighting, and still missing it.
I have to give fans credit thought. There is a lot more, "dude...chill out...they are both great" comments floating around the Internet with this rivalry.
However, the fallout from the Horse of the Year decision was fairly despicable. Personally, I was not terribly impressed with the nominees to begin with, but I have been spoiled with having the power house Wise Dan as a shoe in. Of the choices, I was surprised to find out anyone was...well...surprised! Kentucky Derby winners almost always get "bonus points" when it comes to voting. Throw in a Preakness victory, and they almost give you the title there. Obviously, this is not always the case, but it does seem to sway a lot of voters.
Regardless, the win did not warrant the reaction it received from some more...er...vocal fans. Comments flung about how: the voters did not use their brains; the voters were swayed by emotion; California Chrome didn't deserve to win; Shared Belief is a better horse (yet no comments about how he wasn't even a finalist...); blah blah blah! Seriously though, do these people note realize how voting works? They didn't just go up to the casual fan and ask "who do you like?" Nope. (Although...if they did California Chrome STILL would have won. Remember the Vox Populi Award? Chromies do.) The voters have more prerequisites than "I like horse racing!" Still, they can vote how they want. Sure, they will look at number and types of wins, times, the company they beat, etc., but there is no stopping them from simply going "I like this horse." There were plenty of things to sway the other two candidates out of contention. Let's be honest...after the Bayern bump in the Classic, he wasn't going to win. Although people do use logic, the heart wins a lot too. As for Main Sequence, I cannot say, but I can speculate a lot of people were playing the what if game. "What if Wise Dan hadn't been sidelined most of the season?" There are some ideas that had to be floating around in the minds of votes, just as I can guess some simply went "I can't stand Steve Coburn." (Again, I have nothing against the guy. There are other owners I have bigger problems with.)
Anyway, California Chrome won guys. Get over yourselves. Besides, it wasn't but a few short weeks before you got your win as well! The 2015 San Antonio Stakes was an anticipated rematch between the two stars after Shared Belief got the bump in the Classic. Both horses had a good race; both horses had no excused. Shared Belief came out on top. No Chromies, don't diss the little guy. No Beliefers, don't take away big guy's HoY title. I think Shared Belief has more heart and grit than California Chrome does. I think that came out during the San Antonio. Chrome had no excuses during that race. It just seemed like Shared Belief wanted it more, and so he won it.
Again, I think we need to get away from the name calling and horse hating. Pick a side when they are in a race together if you'd like (or bet the exacta box), but we should be enjoying this rivalry. I am. I am loving the fact we had two, strong three year-olds stay sound enough to come back in the 2015 season. I am grateful to the owners for sharing these horses with us. I am looking forward to watching this rivalry grow. I am eagerly awaiting the next rematch.
Stay safe. Stay sound. Stay savvy.