Eclipse Awards Debate Begins as Arrogate Dethrones California Chrome in Breeders' Cup Classic
Did Arrogate’s brilliant Travers-Breeders’ Cup Classic double do enough to usurp California Chrome as Horse of the Year following wins in the Dubai World Cup, Pacific Classic, and Awesome Again?
On one hand, the back half of Arrogate’s incredible late-season surge came at the expense of California Chrome’s perfect season, but the other hand notes that California Chrome danced more dances and was active throughout the year while Arrogate only faced top three-year-olds in August and the rest of the handicap division in November.
But make no mistake: these are two world class animals who put on a show in front of a packed Santa Anita Park grandstand that was ready for an encore performance following Beholder’s nose victory over Songbird in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Regardless of which one wins Horse of the Year both will be champions. California Chrome was only vulnerable to a win by Frosted or Melatonin to lose the champion older male Eclipse, and Arrogate easily usurps Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist as champion three-year-old male.
Really, Horse of the Year is the only major debate going into this Eclipse Awards season.
- +Classic Empire as two-year-old male
- +Arrogate as three-year-old male
- +Songbird as three-year-old filly
- +California Chrome as older male
- +Beholder as older female
- +Tepin as turf female
- +Drefong as sprint male
- *Champagne Room as two-year-old filly. In a year where no one distinguished herself to date, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies will likely hold strongest sway.
- *Highland Reel as turf male. I’m guessing Flintshire will actually win this award, but I’m voting for Highland Reel, who beat him on the square here, and Flintshire’s season before this wasn’t that great.
- *Finest City as female sprinter. This is the same as the two-year-old filly award. No one had a big enough season to withstand a loss here, and she was best on big day.
The Eclipse Awards are in mid January, and racing awards season begins in early December with the Beemie Awards.