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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Open and Shut Case

- Nice job by John over at The Race Is Not Always To The Swift, who deftly shows how in years where the Triple Crown is split three ways, the [three-year old] championship gets more subjective. (But c'mon man, did you have to show that map?)

John opines that therefore, the vote will be close between Barbaro and Bernardini. My take is that if you're voting strictly on performance and not trying to make a political statement about premature retirements, Bernardini gets the award hands down. It's not even close - that's my opinion. Bernardini made an absolute mockery of the competition in the Preakness and in New York and affirmed that form with a tremendous performance against the best older horses in training in the Classic. It's an open and shut case. To this observer, anyway.


Anonymous said...

Bernardini made a mockery of he Preakness only because Barbro didn't run. If Barbaro ran the Preakness, does anyone really think that Bernardini would have won? No contest here, folks! Barbaro was magnificent in every race he ran. He ran away with the Derby. He continues to show just what a spectacular athlete and champion he is. Barbaro has done more for horse racing than any horse before him or any horse alive today.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Mr. Matz...

Alan Mann said...

I don't disagree with most of what the anonymous poster says. I just don't think any of that is relevant to who should win the Eclipse, which is given to the horse whose overall performance on the racetrack.

John said...

Thanks for the nice compliment on my post (sorry the map upset you, you liberal Democrats are so sensitive).

There is nothing stopping the Eclipse voters from making a reasoned but emotional decision about the championship this year. Giving the Eclipse to Barbaro is not that much of a stretch. I think the voters may also want to make a statement about statements Godolphin/Darley makes with their checkbook.

Anonymous said...

I still think Discreet Cat is the best horse that ran this year. He crushed Invasor. Bernardini beat little. Yes, he beat Barbaro, and that was because Barbaro was standing on three legs as Bernardini cruised by after the wire in the Preakness. Bernardini had his chance against Invasor and showed he couldn't last.

The performances of the past two years for the top honors is cause for more concern than the one this year. Frankel and Ramsey supposedly talked about Ghostzapper over Ramsey's steed in the BC Classic that year, then followed by Dutrow, a known cheat, who served 60 days, and gets Saint Liam to win the top award. Now, we have people whining about the sheihks who went out bought both Invasor and Discreet, breeding Bernardini. And Bernardini's dam was bought while him in foal.

People who breed or buy these horses and then just turn around and sell them to another person(s) with infinite bankrolls shows that maybe the horse of the year award should go to a horse that runs, wins, and runs more races than the coddled future stallions, and races some more.

I vote for McDynamo as horse of the year.

Alan Mann said...

>>The performances of the past two years for the top honors is cause for more concern than the one this year.

Solid point there!

Anonymous said...

Barbaro has this hands down. Barbaro won on turf, dirt, in slop and on a fast track. He ran the Derby stretch much faster than Bernardini did in the classic. Horses like Barbaro come along once in a lifetime. His determination in the race of his life shows just how spectacular he is. If this vote is strictly on races run, he is clearly the winner.

Anonymous said...

Folks that think that Bernardini is a better than Barbaro needs to take a closer look at the stats. Barbaro blew away 14 graded stakes winners in the Derby. Bernardini did not even go against that many graded stakes winner in all of this year. Barbaro has a higher percentage for winning and being in the money. Out of the three legs of the Triple Crown, the Derby is by far the most focused on and the bigger jewel compared to the other two. Yet Bernardini did not race in the Derby. Barbaro only raced through May and Bernardini raced through the beginning of November. If you eliminate any wins by Bernardini following the Preakness, this evens the comparison - and again Barbaro blows Bernardini away.

Anonymous said...

Not to be a jerk but were there really 14 graded stakes winners in the Derby !?

And that last statement is one of the bigger IFs I've ever heard in a game loaded with them.

That said, I'm a massive Barbaro fan and while I ultimately feel he's a more memorable horse than Bernie in the end, there's just no question that this particular award goes to the latter.

Anonymous said...

Really, Berny beat most of the same horses in the BC Classic that Barby did in the Derby, and he defeated all of the top older horses in training, except one.

He is clearly champion 3yo.

If Giacomo got hurt after last years Derby would he have been champion 3yo of 2005? Just food for thought.

Michael said...

***Berny beat most of the same horses in the BC Classic that Barby did in the Derby...***

You mean Lawyer Ron and Brother Derek? Because the other 17 horses from the Derby didn't run in the BC Classic.

And yes Pete here are the stakes winners from the Derby: 5/6 Kentucky Derby - Bluegrass Cat (G1 Haskell Invitational, etc.) Jazil (G1 Belmont Stakes) Brother Derek (G1 Hollywood Futurity, Santa Anita Derby, etc)Showing Up (G1 Secretariat Stakes)Sweetnorthernsaint (G2 Illinois Derby, etc)Deputy Glitters (G2 Ohio Derby, etc)Point Determined (G3 Affirmed Handicap)Seaside Retreat (won Charlie Barley Stakes, Display Stakes)Lawyer Ron (G2 Arkansas Derby, etc.)Cause to Believe (G3 El Camino Real Derby, etc). Private Vow (G2 Kentucky Jockey Club, Futurity)Sinister Minister (G1 Blue Grass Stakes)Bob and John (G1 Wood Memorial, etc.)A. P. Warrior (G2 La Jolla Handicap, San Felipe Stakes)Sharp Humor (G2 Swale, etc) Keyed Entry (G2 Hutcheson Stakes)

Anonymous said...

The part of that Barbaro commercial that really gets me is:

"Barbaro has done more for horseracing than any horse before him, or any horse alive."

Are you freaking kidding me? Yeah, Barbaro did more for horseracing than Secretariat. And Seattle Slew. And any other great horse you wanna name. Yeah, sure he did. Now let's examine the other part of that. Last i checked, Cigar is still alive. So is Holy Bull, for that matter. What about Ouija Board? What about Deep Impact? Surely, that horse has done as much for racing as just about any horse in history. His following is downright fanatical. But let's narrow it down even more, to just recent Derby winners. Barbaro did more for racing than Smarty Jones? Or even Funny Cide and War Emblem? What about Real Quiet? To be quite honest, the most noteworthy thing Barbaro ever did was break down as the prohibitive favorite in a Triple Crown race. Sure, he put together an impressive resume, but i can name a whole lotta horses who can match it, and certainly some who were more talented. Hell, Barbaro probably isn't even the best horse from his own crop. I think Bernardini and Discreet Cat have a lot to say about that. Don't get me wrong, Barbaro has shown me a helluva lot, mostly AFTER the Preakness. The horse's resolve and resiliency in the face of death is probably unmatched. But on the racetrack, his resume (aside from the Derby win) really isn't all that impressive. Sure, he won over several different surfaces. But for the most part, those were some pretty low-grade races. Even his Derby win was matched by Bernardini's Preakness (and if you don't think so, you're nuts). And even the Derby isn't a particularly high-grade race. Several good 3yo's, and a whole lotta overmatched horses. Who's the best horse that Barbaro ever beat? Showing Up, maybe? Bluegrass Cat? Brother Derek? Sweetnorthernsaint? Their records are dwarfed by Lava Man, whom Bernardini dispatched pretty easily. To me, running a good second in the Classic outweighs a Derby win. The field is just far superior. I heard some idiot on the radio last week talking about how Barbaro deserved the Eclipse because he won contentious races like the races like the Florida Derby and Holy Bull, and also won on grass. While Bernardini "just had a few walkovers". Since when are the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup walkovers, anyway? Well, since there was a horse so good that he scared everyone away. Incidentally, those "walkovers" included some pretty decent horses, certainly as good as any Barbaro faced. Bluegrass Cat for one, who ran second in Barbro's Derby. Bernardini beat him just as convincingly as Barbaro did, if not more so. So bottom line, i like Barbaro, and i do think he deserves consideration for that meaningless award, but let's keep his career in perspective, shall we? One big Derby win doesn't make you the greatest horse that ever lived.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, the greatest horse i've ever seen was probably Dubai Millenium, though i only saw him once. Best American horse was probably Holy Bull. Been doing this for less than 15 years, so cut me some slack on the timeframe. Kona Gold was damn fine also, though for some reason nobody everb includes sprinters on their "best ever" lists.

P.S. - I probably should've mentioned Ruffian in my previous post. She did an awful lot for racing, no doubt. From what i understanmd, she was one of the greatest ever. And she went off @ 6/1 in her debut, btw. Think they did a pretty good job keeping HER a secret??? Good Grief.

I even read a book about her once, where one of the stable guys said he overheard Whitley saying (before the debut) that she was "the fastest filly in the country." And the guy STILL didn't bet her, because he "thought she was fat." Pretty funny.

Anonymous said...


Yeah I meant Brother Derek and Lawyer Ron, the two big name favorites going INTO the Derby.

"Most of" i guess was a stretch, but surely there were a dozen Graded Stakes winners in the Breeders Cup Classic, dontcha think?