Thursday, July 05, 2007

Half Year Awards

The first half of 2007 is officially in the books and I have to say it has been an excellent year to date. We've been treated to a Juvenile champion winning the Derby. Two photo finishes in the Triple Crown races. Rags to Riches winning the Belmont, Invasor in the Dubai World Cup and of course Lava Man in the recent Hollywood Gold Cup.

The second half of the year will bring many changes and many of the stars of the first half will become forgotten so this is a good chance to recognize those who excelled in the early months of 2007. Generally I advocate that awards be handed out as a result of a 50/50 conjunction between a point system and votes, but in this case we'll just use the point system by itself. This is just for fun anyway.

All points are for races run between Jan 1st and June 30th

Horse of the Year (Jan -June)
Rags To Riches - 239.80
Invasor - 225.00
Curlin - 215.70
Lava Man - 203.22
Street Sense - 186.78

Rags To Riches wins the award for top horse of the first half. It's hardly surprising. Although many of her wins came in restricted company her performance in the Belmont will be remembered for decades. It was absolutely fabulous and its largely on the strength of that performance that she takes this crown. Good arguments could have been made for the other 4 finalists but they were all even more or less.

Older Male
Invasor - 225.00
Lava Man - 203.22
Political Force - 125.20
Corinthian - 123.90
Flashy Bull - 118.44

Invasor edges out Lava Man. Some may protest as Lava Man made 4 starts and managed 2 G-1 wins as well as a win in the Sunshine Millions Turf. But I think Invasor was clearly the better of the two. His Donn handicap victory was shocking as he had all sorts of trouble and still won with ease, and his win in the Dubai World Cup proclaimed without a doubt that he had no peers. The plucky Political Force was well back in third but it was significant that he made it that high.

Older Female
Balance - 101.20
Ermine - 98.80
Sugar Shake - 95.90
Take D'Tour - 81.80
Nashoba's Key - 71.50

Balance is the winner in a division that no one seems interested in winning. She narrowly edges Ermine and Sugar Shake but none of them look likely to capture the real championship at the end of the year. 4th and 5th ranked horses Take D'Tour and Nashoba's Key seem to have a better chance of doing that. Balance won 2 of 3 starts and was only beaten on the Polytrack. She seems to be a bit of a Santa Anita specialist but that's all she needed to be to take this title.

Turf Male
On The Acorn - 113.70
Jambalaya - 96.20
Kip Deville - 93.90
Remarkable News - 90.20
After Market - 88.30

A rather lackluster first half of the year for this lot. On The Acorn stepped up and put together a solid first half but I don't think he is a legitimate tier 1 competitor. Still horses like him are part of the reason we're doing this. He deserves to be lauded for what he has done to this point.

Turf Female
Citronnade - 131.10
Safari Queen - 64.86
Honey Ryder - 63.30
My Typhoon - 57.18
Cassydora - 52.54

Aside from Rags to Riches I don't think there has been a more dominant horse within their division than Citronnade. It hasn't even been close, not in her races and not in the point standings. She has earned more than twice the points of her nearest competitor and is the 6th ranked horse overall for the first half. It will take quite something to catch both here in the standings and on the track.

Kelly's Landing - 110.54
Smokey Stover - 107.96
Silver Wagon - 106.88
Friendly Island - 67.40
Saint Anddan - 62.60

We have a log jam at the top as Kelly's Landing, Smokey Stover and Silver Wagon are all separated by just 3.66 points. This is where I'd like to have a vote to overrule the point system. I think Smokey Stover deserves this award, but we can't slight Kelly's Landing too much. He did manage to win the toughest sprint race of the year. There should be quite a shakeup in this division in the second half.

Female Sprinters
Hystericalady - 77.50
Pussycat Doll - 69.70
Oprah Winney - 58.28
Mary Delaney - 56.76
Any Limit - 54.84

This is by far the weakest division. They hardly deserve a champion but the key race so far was the Humana Distaff at Churchill where Hystericalady beat Pussycat Doll to claim top spot. Many others in this division have spurned chances to take the top spot.

3yo Colt
Curlin -203.22
Street Sense - 186.78
Hard Spun - 116.58
Scat Daddy - 101.12
Nobiz Like Showbiz - 84.98

Curlin edges out Street Sense. Basically the two colts are equal in many respects but Curlin competed in the Belmont and his finish in that race guaranteed to make him the more accomplished of the pair. The top 3 colts seem to be far better than the last two named even if the point gap belies it.

3yo Filly
Rags To Riches - 239.80
Christmas Kid - 95.30
Octave - 85.00
Cotton Blossom - 61.14
Dream Rush - 50.80

A mere formality as the #1 horse in the nation happens to be in this division and the #2 ranked horse in this division is 23rd overall. I do think though that this division will look much the same by the end of the year. Perhaps the order will alter slightly behind Rags to Riches but these 5 I think are clearly the classiest of the crop. Only Lady Joanne has the talent to break into this list in my opinion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

first and foremost play the 7 in the 7th race at all tracks today (07/07/07 // that being said i wanted to continue on my self appointed journey of commenting on my home track, Arlington Park, when i get a chance with KC's tolerance // hey in carrying the water and being the man on the scene i am not embarrassed by my last three postings // for the 4th of July i mentioned J. Graham who produced a triple paying $6.00, $11.00, and $12.00 // he also was involved in a $115.00 exacta // i also mentioned Mad Monster (?) who had an equipment change, was moving inside, and going from turf to synthetic surface // Mad ? paid $12.00to win // i have looked at today's card (07/07/07) at Arlington Park and did not come up with anything spectacular but i am always look for the unusual and i will also try to give my overall impression of the card // i see Janks and Block have rounded up all the ponies on the block whether they are theirs or not and are bringing them in to races today // there are going to be several opportunities today of back speed on this card to take advantage of for example Ms. Lydonia in the 5th/ as usual Douglas looks like he will have some talent as will Emigh// What to do: i am taking Douglas on any thing from 4-1 to 12-1 odds // i am taking an across the board on two first lasix colts // Model Cadet in the 7th and Call Me Goer in the 9th // and what's with trainer Humberto Garcia in the 2nd race? // he has started 14 times with 21% winners // he has a 25% stat coming off 180 days, and, he is an owner trainer // to me, he is worth an across the board bet // and oh yes, i forgot; the 7 th horse in the 7th race on 07/07/07/ good luck to all / thanks to KC for his tolerance // chicago gerry