Filed under: award, Horse Racing
Feb 2010 Award Winners
|Feb'10 Award||Winner||Honorable Mention|
|Horse of the Month||Quality Road||Blind Luck|
|Jockey of the Month||Rafael Bejarano||Victor Espinoza|
|Trainer of the Month||Todd Pletcher||Bob Baffert|
Horse of the Month
Quality Road declared himself the leader of the (male) handicap division, pending the return of Summer Bird from a leg injury, with a record-setting romp in the Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream. The 12 3/4 length victory in 1:47.49 broke his own track record for a mile and an eighth, set in last year’s Florida Derby. There’s a good chance this won’t be his only Horse of the Month award this year.
Blind Luck also nominated herself as a division leader with her win in the Las Virgenes (G1) at Santa Anita, but, unlike Quality Road, she needed every inch of the racetrack to get it done. (video, photo) For that, she gets Honorable Mention.
Jockey of the Month
Rafael Bejarano won three graded stakes races in February, and finished third three times as well, to earn the Jockey of the Month award. In addition to just getting Blind Luck up in time in the Las Virgenes (G1), Bejarano won the Buena Vista (G2) with Tuscan Evening and the San Luis Obispo (G2) with Bourbon Bay.
I don’t know if it merits an Honorable Mention, but Victor Espinoza’s five runner-up finishes in February (four in Grade 2’s), without a victory, merits a mention of some sort. And, of course, it was Espinoza aboard Evening Jewel that got nosed on the wire by Blind Luck in the Las Virgenes.
Trainer of the Month
Four wins and two thirds in graded stakes action would be a pretty good month for any trainer. For Todd Pletcher, it was just a very good day. On Saturday February 20th, Pletcher won four of the day’s eleven graded stakes, including three Kentucky Derby preps. If Pletcher had done nothing else all month, he would still have won Trainer of the Month. In addition to the win with Quality Road, Pletcher dominated the Kentucky Derby Trail with wins by Rule, Discreetly Mine, Connemara, and Eskendereya.
Last month’s Trainer of the Month winner is this month’s Honorable Mention. Bob Baffert won twice, with Richard’s Kid and Conveyance, and finished second three times in graded stakes this month.
Graded Stakes Points
Several racetracks, including some of the top courses in the country, will be offering free admission during the last week in April as part of a national campaign to increase interest in thoroughbred horse racing.
It’s part of a public relations drive by the horse racing industry to broaden the appeal of the sport and draw more people to the track. The promotion will be backed by a co-ordinated advertising campaign at the national, regional and local levels.
Sounds pretty exciting, right? It’s about time horse racing got its act together and promoted the sport in a big way. (Go, baby, go!)
Oh, wait, never mind. It’s not here, it’s in Great Britain. There’s still nothing in the U.S.
Filed under: Horse Racing
- The race is on! Once Oaklawn President Charles Cella agreed to move the Apple Blossom back six days, to Friday April 9th, the connections for both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta agreed to point their horses to the race. All that remains is to get through eight weeks, a dozen workouts and two prep races without either horse sneezing or stubbing its toe. Keep your fingers crossed.
- As expected, Rachel Alexandra’s next race will be the newly-minted New Orleans Ladies (Handicap or Stakes?) on March 13th at Fair Grounds Race Course. Zenyatta will make her 2010 debut the same day in the Santa Margarita Handicap (or Stakes?) at Santa Anita. This gives both horses 27 days to rest and reload before meeting in Hot Springs.
- The $5 million Apple Blossom purse will be distributed in a unique manner that is sure to attract a full field of 10 runners. While most of the money will go to the winner ($2,500,000) and runner-up ($1,000,000), the horses that finish sixth to tenth (aka last) will each receive $100,000. That’s not bad considering the owners will only have to put up $20,200 to enter the starting gate.