Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Ballot

If you happened to miss my post from yesterday please visit this link to get apprised of the situation. Kennedy's Corridor is hosting the 2nd annual TCR Awards where the TCR points standings and your votes are combined to give us champions for the year. Unlike the Eclipse Awards these have a greater focus on accomplishments, well defined guidelines and of course fans are allowed to vote.

A few votes have trickled in but I thought I'd post my ballot as well as some of my thoughts and reasoning. You may or may not agree but feel free to chime in with a ballot of your own as well as some thoughts on the various divisions.

Horse of the Year
English Channel
Street Sense
Ginger Punch
Hard Spun

This is basically the same order that the TCR points system had them ranked aside from Hard Spun over Ginger Punch. I think the greatest strength of the TCR is how it accurately ranks different horses from different divisions overall. Curlin is clearly Horse Of The Year and in my opinion English Channel was a clear second thanks to Street Sense's inability to hit the board on BC day. Hard Spun won the majority of his points and popularity for losing performances, he did have a great year but Ginger Punch deserves to be ranked ahead of him in my opinion.

Older Male (Dirt & All Weather)
Lawyer Ron
Midnight Lute
Lava Man
Awesome Gem
Student Council

This division was in shambles. Lawyer Ron is a slight choice over Midnight Lute for me. Invasor ran only twice and had enough points to be a finalist but he did not make the 3 starts minimum. Midnight Lute blew his chance to sweep this division as well as the Sprinter division when he lost the Cigar Mile. No one else stepped up and came fro Lawyer Ron. Corinthian missed out making it as a finalist largely due to the fact that the BC Dirt Mile was left ungraded by the AGSC. Still he wouldn't have made an impact anyway.

Older Female (Dirt & All Weather)
Ginger Punch
Nashoba's Key
Miss Shop

Ginger Punch is a no-brainer, Hystericalady had her shot when she drew alongside in the BC Distaff but she couldn't get by that day and she fails to do so in the court of my opinion as well. Nashoba's Key didn't run enough on the main track and having never run on conventional dirt it was hard to rank her above the top two listed here. Balance and Miss Shop were both weak finalists in a division that took quite a long time for any shape to emerge.

Turf Male
English Channel
Kip Deville
After Market
Cloudy's Knight
Nobiz Like Showbiz

I have a soft spot for the old warrior Cloudy's Knight but I think the TCR had these Turf horses ranked just right. Tough luck for Jambalaya not to be included but he got injured at a bad time. Doctor Dino also would have been a finalist with one more American start. English Channel is a deserving winner though and was in my opinion the second best horse overall in 2007.

Turf Female
Precious Kitten
Nashoba's Key
Honey Ryder

I voted for Precious Kitten. She was narrowly the highest ranked horse with the points system but more than that she exemplified what I like to see in a champion. She raced 9 times on 6 tracks in 5 different states and was no worse than second in any race aside from the BC where she was taken to the outside rail by Simply Perfect. She won a pair of G-1's and faced all the principles of this division. She was by no means dominant but she was consistent, well campaigned and the most accomplished in the division. BC FM Turf winner Lahudood will take a ton of votes based on the way she finished the year but is a 5-3-1-0 season with 2 G-1 wins really enough? The point system didn't think so and had her ranked 4th. I personally thought that Lahudood deserved to be second ranked but not first. She actually accomplished more than Nashoba's Key did on the grass as many of Nashoba's points came on all weather surfaces. And her pair of G-1 wins easily overshadows what Citronnade was able to do. The biggest problem with Citronnade is that all of her wins came in the same form. She was the lone speed on a firm Californian track. She took only 1 G-1 race and while she did beat Price Tag and Vacare in that one her 4 G-2 wins were basically against nobodies. Honey Ryder does not have much of a shout to win this division in my opinion. You have to win more than just a single G-2 event to be a champ. She had 3 excellent runner up finishes but that's not enough.

Sprinter (All Surfaces)
Midnight Lute
Idiot Proof
Greg's Gold
Smokey Stover
Kelly's Landing

Midnight Lute wins in a walk over Idiot Proof in a finish reminiscent of the BC Sprint itself. The Lute was in another zone and nearly managed to take the top Older Male title. Talent Search earned enough TCR points to be a finalist but he failed to win a Graded Stakes so he misses out.

Female Sprinter (All Surfaces)
River's Prayer
Dream Rush
Pussycat Doll
Oprah Winney

River's Prayer was my top selection in the Female Sprinter division. I think she's being extremely undervalued. So much focus is going to Maryfield for her win in the BC FM Sprint but that race was not even given G-1 status and it was run in a horrendous slop. The only other races she competed in with credit was a G-2 on the Aqueduct inner and the Ballerina. One could argue that the Test was actually a tougher race than the Ballerina, if you use the form line through Baroness Thatcher. River's Prayer on the other hand won the same amount of G-1's, more graded stakes and she won the only head to head meeting with Maryfield. She was never beaten in 2007. She raced on 4 tracks and won on all three different surfaces. Injury denied her a shot at the BC but the balance of the rest of her campaign gives her the edge in my opinion. Dream Rush is the only other one with significant claims at the title. It's a shame that her only try against older mares came in the slop on BC Friday. I think she is much better than that race showed but it's tough to give her an award without even an open stakes placing when you have River's Prayer and Maryfield as alternatives. I think Dream Rush is the best horse of the three but she just didn't do quite enough to win this award.

3yo Male (All Surfaces)
Street Sense
Hard Spun
Nobiz Like Showbiz

There was so much intrigue in this division all year long that it's almost shocking how straightforward the voting is once the year has ended. The BC Classic decided it all and Curlin was clearly the best. Although Hard Spun did beat Street Sense in his last two races Street Sense won the Derby and Travers while Hard Spun won the Kings Bishop and KY Cup Classic. This was the strongest 3yo crop in recent memory as Any Given Saturday, Daaher, Daytona, Red Giant and Idiot Proof all failed to make it as finalists.

3yo Female (All Surfaces)
Rags To Riches
Lady Joanne
Panty Raid
Dream Rush

This division was done and dusted in June. Rags To Riches became a star and her accomplishments in the first half of the year were so vast she was actually the #1 ranked horse overall for a few months. Injury prevented her from challenging for that title in earnest but she easily wins this one. Octave like always runs second to her. I voted for Lady Joanne above Panty Raid despite the Spinster stakes that saw the order reversed. I thought Lady Joanne overall had a more consistent campaign.

2yo Male (All Surfaces)
War Pass
Kodiak Kowboy
Salute The Sarge
Into Mischief
Wicked Style

War Pass canters out an easy winner. Pyro is a notable absentee from the finalists list. He did have enough points to be a finalist but never managed to win a stakes race so he failed to qualify. Kodiak Kowboy is a clear second. War Pass ought to be unanimous.

2yo Female (All Surfaces)
Indian Blessing
Country Star
Proud Spell
Pure Clan
Rated Fiesty

Not much to say here. I think this is order is basically without controversy. Rated Fiesty is likely viewed by some as an odd ball finalist but she was undefeated and looked extremely good in those races. We just find it hard to remember 2yo's that did not last the summer.

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