THW: It’s Time for Awards

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 26 January 2011, Wednesday

It’s Time for Awards

It’s that time of the year when sportswriters roll up their sleeves, down pots of coffee, squint at reams of statistics, and choose the recipients of “of the Year” awards.

In the US, the Eclipse Awards were given out last January 21 in Miami and to the acclaim of many supporters, supermare Zenyatta received the North American horse of the year award.

The Eclipse Awards are handed out by members of the National Turf Writers Association, employees of the Daily Racing Form, and racing secretaries representing tracks that are members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Zenyatta earned 128 votes over second placer Blame’s 102. Blame defeated Zenyatta in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, handing the highly-regarded racemare her only career loss, and was expected by some to cop top Eclipse honors.

The popular vote, however, was overwhelmingly with Zenyatta, who, at her age, has a shining career that Blame can only hope to duplicate. She won 19 races out of 20, her come-from-behind style keeping fans on the edge of their seats or cheering her on down the stretch to the wire.

She ran from dead last in the Breeders’ Cup and stride by stride mowed down the opposition, failing only to overtake Blame in the final few furlongs. But with that performance, she showed her supreme fighting heart that refused to give up.

The recipient of the third place award was three-time Breeders’ Cup mile winner Goldikova. The winner of the Eclipse Award in 2009 was another brave racemare, Rachel Alexandra. She was locked in a rivalry with the older Zenyatta in the early years of her career.

The blog Equine Ink ( carried this lyrical quote from Zenyatta’s owner Jerry Moss: “If you love Thoroughbred horses, you go through life hoping that you can just see one more in whose presence, the clouds fall away to reveal the mountain top. It can take a generation, or infinitely longer, for such a horse to arrive. A horse that is capable of carrying the human heart.

“For the last 100 years, we know them all by name. But Zenyatta brought to us a beauty that was a tonic for the soul. She allowed us to believe in the impossible. And it was the light in her being, as much as the thrill of her races, that got us dancing. Zenyatta was transformative.”

This was Zenyatta’s third straight Eclipse award as top older female.

In our neck of the woods, Yes Pogi has emerged as the Philippine Sportswriters Association Horse of the Year, while Jesse Guce is Jockey of the Year. This was announced recently by PSA treasurer Joe Antonio.

Meanwhile, folks are looking forward to the weekend of February 19-20 at the Philippine Racing Club’s Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. That’s the date and venue for the coming Philippine Racing Commission-sponsored Amethyst II (3YO local fillies) and Amethyst III (3YO local colts), both mile races. ***

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