Let’s take a look at 2014 and the hot topic of Horse of the Year. 2014 was the type of year we all been wanting for about 25 years. We actually got the top 3yr olds to run all year and to end up in the BC Classic where usually we get leftovers and geldings. California Chrome, Bayern, and Shared Belief , along with Tonalist all made it to the gate. Now we all wish the track was Churchill and it was a fair track to all, but as usual with the BC at SA it was not. This is where I have a hard time with Horse of the Year. Logically Bayern won he should be HOY, BUT not only should he have been taken down , he was running once again on a biased track that only stalkers and speed horses had any chance thus eliminating half the runners. So what do we do?
My opinion is the top races in the US are simple the Kentucky Derby and the BC Classic. Bayern didn’t show up for the Derby maybe he wasn’t ready for that yet, Shared Belief was hurt and also didn’t show up. Chrome won it in hand, then got beat a neck in the Classic.
So we fast forward to the Classic and Bayern wins by a neck over Chrome. Chrome was coming off one lousy prep. Why? I have no idea. I understand Art Sherman and team are not used to getting a Derby winner ready for the Classic but their handling of Chrome from June until November was well abysmal at best. How can you rest a horse all that time then ship across the country instruct the rider to strangle him back on speed biased track, wrap up in stretch then expect him to be ready for the toughest race all year. For Chrome to overcome the track bias, the lack of a 2nd prep, and the start of the race to get beat a neck to me was a huge win for him.
The fact that he won a glorified workout on grass later really means nothing to me. Of the 3yr olds California Chrome to me won the YEAR long battle. He showed up for the main events he didn’t get hurt or run in sprint races , he attended and he won the biggest one and got beat a neck in the other with questionable handling.
Now we can’t forget Main Sequence. He was as good as a turf horse can be winning 4 times against the top grass horses the US can produce then beating Euro’s best, well best that came here.. He was then flattered when Flintshire went on to win again.
So where do we go? Main Sequence vs California Chrome.
This is a very tough choice. My main reason for my decision is what do we as a country value in our horse racing. Is it grass racing or is it the Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown trail? This is why I choose California Chrome as the Horse of the Year. In my book it just comes down to what you value and I side with the 3yr old trail being the most difficult and they all kept running throughout the year and showed up for the biggest one. It is splitting hairs but that is where I go.
2015 could really be a special BC Classic I can see Chrome, Bayern, Shared Belief, Tonelist, AND Wise Dan entering the gate at Keeneland and a group of 3yr olds trying to hold their own with a gigantic older division and maybe the best BC Classic ever. I hope Main Sequence is there too on the Turf but it just doesn’t seem to fit in the same breath as the anticipated Classic division.
Next year we will get into some ways we like to wager, to try to give some advice, to show BETPTC guys how the Fatbaldguys are shown to bet . We may even get into a few videos with examples of how we play. 2015 is about discipline and knowing when to strike for the big hits and when to grind away for some action. Hope you had a good 2014 and look forward to getting to know more players.
Keeneland Dan Cronin