(The best of) Hanson's Hot Takes in 2016

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

December 20th, 2016

We're nearing the end of another year blogging at, and this quiet week on the racing front is a good time to bring back to readers' attention some of my better (IMHO) takes, historic and contemporary, during 2016.

Before diving into Santa Anita's opening day card over the Christmas weekend, enjoy this anthology and feel free to let me know (@VPHanson) your thoughts on any of the topics. (You can also check out my 2015 anthology as well.)

"Rogue" Eclipse Award votes

"Rogue" Eclipse Award votes happen every year, and after last year's vote breakdown was published I had thoughts on how best to limit the number of these going forward.

A race unworthy of Songbird

The season turned out all right for Songbird, but back in February/March I had reservations about her potentially risky entry in the Santa Ysabel (G3).

The "Chicken" Flamingo

Fifty years on, I looked back at Buckpasser's incredible win in a controversial edition of the 1966 Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah Park.

A Big 'Cap Date Change

With the Dubai World Cup (G1) back on top of the heap, I advocated a change in date for the Santa Anita H. (G1) following a seemingly lackluster renewal in March.

How to beat a Derby favorite that's odds-on in the Preakness

Looking through the history books early Preakness week, I found ways a Derby-winning favorite could be beaten in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, foretelling Nyquist's experience in the Pimlico slop.

Too many solutions for Preakness "problems"

Here I took a columnist to task for coming up with lots of solutions to numerous non-existent problems with the Preakness (G1).

Untapable's retirement a little late

In the wake of a bad beat in the Fleur de Lis H. (G2), I argued champion filly Untapable's retirement was welcome but a little late.

First visit to Delaware Park: I had the pleasure of visiting this picturesque track on Del 'Cap Day in July, and shared my thoughts before and after.

Best Pal's Pacific Classic

On the 25th anniversary of Best Pal's victory in the inaugural Pacific Classic (G1), I recollected on the race and shared thoughts on the future Hall of Famer.

The Woodward's weighty issues

In the wake of Frosted's upset loss in the Woodward, I addressed Joel Rosario's limited use of the whip on the heavy favorite and the race's allowance weight conditions.

The Breeders' Cup Distaff: In advance of arguably the race of the year, I noted how this year's race was a unique showdown between a trio of champion three-year-old fillies. After the dust settled between Beholder and Songbird, I wrote how the race conjured up a bad memory but provided a happier ending.

2016 Eclipse Awards: I had plenty to say about the upcoming Eclipse Awards following the Breeders' Cup, advocating Arrogate's candidacy for Horse of the Year, commenting on that horse's brief two-stakes start campaign, and wondering whether the results of the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) matter anymore.

Racing during TV's Golden Age

Here I looked back at racing's relationship with television during the medium's early years and hopefully exposed as myths a few long-held beliefs.

Soul-rejuvenating Happy Valley

On my recent sojourn to Hong Kong, I found a visit to Happy Valley Racecourse a way to invigorate one's racing soul.

(Songbird photo: Benoit Photos)

(Woodward finish photo: Adam Coglianese Photography)