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With the big summer races now under way and the Breeders Cup on our radar screen, we figured its time to start the debate. Who will win Horse of the Year? Here are our top 10 candidates at this time.
1. I’ll Have Another – Four for four in his shortened season, but his wins were massive. He can be passed by someone, but it’s going to have to take a big second half run. As of now he’s the easy choice.
2. Game On Dude – He’s three for four this year with his lone loss coming in Dubai. Even though I have him ranked second at the moment, I view it as his award to lose. A win in the Breeders Cup Classic would all but lock him into the top spot. Even a win in the Pacific Classic and a strong showing in the Classic would make him very attractive.
3. Ron the Greek – I can’t figure out why this horse is flying under the radar. He has two Grade 1 victories under his belt, and has a monster win at Santa Anita, which of course is the site for the Breeders Cup. The month of August is going to be interesting for Ron the Greek as he’ll have a couple of chances to win Grade 1’s at Saratoga.
4. Acclamation – This is the best horse in the country right now, but his mainly turf racing might keep him from winning Horse of the Year. However, winning the Pacific Classic again would really help, and then if he won the Breeders Cup Turf it would be really hard to deny him the award.
5. Paynter – That Haskell performance was awesome, but he’s got a long ways to go. He would have to sweep the Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Breeders Cup Classic to win the award. With today’s news of a spiked fever, that task doesn’t look likely. Still, the horse has massive talent.
6. Royal Delta – She could be this years version of Havre De Grace, only I think she’ll have to actually win the Classic to get the award. Who knows if they’ll even run her in that race, but I don’t see any filly or mare beating her. Look for her to rattle off a couple more wins, and then her connections will have a decision to make.
7. Bodemeister – This illness has really hurt his chances. He might be the most talented horse on this list, but when will he return, and will it be too late? Winning the King’s Bishop would be great, but it won’t get him many points in the Horse of the Year running.
8. Alternation – Has had a little bit of a lay off after a dull Stephen Foster effort, but this horse still has a shot at making some noise. He’ll be running at Remington Park on August 11th as a prep for the bigger New York races in the fall. If he can win his remaining races, including the Classic, he could win the award. It’s a very tall order, but you can’t count him out of the running.
9. Shackleford – It’s hard to imagine him winning the award if he continues to sprint, but this is a horse that has a lot of fans throughout the media. If Romans were to enter him in a Grade 1 route race and he’d happen to win, I could see a big campaign for him.
10. Mucho Macho Man – This horse is quietly having a great year. His win in the Suburban was pretty impressive, and if he can win out you’d have to think his name will be in the mix. His light race schedule has set him up to be fresh and ready for the big fall races.
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