The Championship Picture Following Breeders' Cup
Horse of the Year:
Now: Main Sequence
Still: Bayern or Untapable
Main Sequence won four Grade 1 races, including our richest turf event and second-most-valuable race in general, and the controversial no change in the Classic likely hurts Bayern’s chances, though he’d be impossible to deny with either a Clark Handicap or Cigar Mile win, and the same goes for Untapable.
Champion two-year-old male:
Now: Texas Red
Still: A bunch
There’s only one Grade 1 race left for juveniles, and unless another Grade 1 winner wins it then my vote will go to Texas Red, who showed up on the big day & got the job done. American Pharoah has the two Grade 1 wins, including defeating Texas Red in the Frontrunner, but the Breeders’ Cup trumps for among the two-year-old set.
Champion two-year-old filly:
Now: Lady Eli
Still: Take Charge Brandi
Lady Eli’s exhilarating Juvenile Fillies Turf was the two-year-old filly performance of the year and easily gets the nod over Take Charge Brandi’s gate-to-wire victory of dubious merit in the Juvenile Fillies. Still, she is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, so a run back wouldn’t be out of the question. Last year, “the coach” wheeled back Will Take Charge into the Clark off a runner-up Classic finish and the win sealed champion three-year-old male honors.
Champion three-year-old filly:
It’s impossible for me to make a case for any other filly in this category
Champion three-year-old male:
Still: California Chrome, Shared Belief
While Bayern’s gate antics might cost him Horse of the Year, I can’t take this award away from him unless either of the other two come back and win a Grade 1, and even then I’d say California Chrome has the edge in that situation versus Shared Belief.
As things stand now, though, Bayern won sprinting and at the Classic distance, and at distances in between while traveling the country.
Champion older female:
Now: Close Hatches
Her season ended with a rough double, but she was the best over the longest period
Champion older male:
Now: Wise Dan
This is a bit creative, but if he deserved the award last year then why not this year, and Main Sequence already has turf and Horse of the Year. Otherwise, maybe Palace Malice gets it for a first half of the year when he looked the sky was the limit?
Champion male sprinter:
Now: Work All Week
Undefeated on dirt including a Breeders’ Cup Sprint score gets him the nod over Goldencents, who did his best work at the specialty two-turn mile distance.
Champion female sprinter:
Now: Judy the Beauty
This division has been pretty strong in recent years, and there appeared to be some good ones this year, but with Judy the Beauty getting job done in Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and others like Artemis Agrotera no showing, the Cup winner gets the nod.
Champion female turf:
Pretty nice finish to her year, putting it all together in the First Lady then stretching out to win the Filly & Mare Turf in gate-to-wire fashion Intercontinental-style. Incidentally, Dayatthespa is trained by Chad Brown, assistant to the late, great Bobby Frankel who campaigned Intercontinental.
Champion male turf:
Now: Main Sequence
Wise Dan will get some consideration, but Main Sequence earned it