There were two big stories in racing this evening. A horse trying to go 23 for 23 in the Complex at the snowy Meadowlands, and the O'Brien Awards, broadcast for the very first time by Woodbine.
St. Elmo Hero is absolutely, positively, for real. On a cold night he was stung big-time to the half by one of the four horse entry against him in a brutal 53.3. Tetrick shut him down to get a little rest for about an eighth of a mile, but along came another challenger. He looked like he could easily be beaten, but not a chance. He motored away to win in a very impressive 149.1. When the video is up we'll link it.
Tonight's O'Brien Awards, streamed for the first time was fairly entertaining.
Most of the night went to plan, however I was struck by a couple things.
Riina Rekila lost horseman of the year and I was surprised. Riina is a fantastic horsewoman and exactly what this sport needs.
Western Silk beat Put on a Show?! Are you kidding me? The greatest mare since Rainbow Blue doesn't win an O'Brien? Wow!
Comments from the peanut gallery this year asked the O'Briens to add a Vet of the Year category next year, because the human awards are what they are. I think the peanut gallery might be onto something.
On the flip-side, Waples winning driver of the year was a no-brainer. I must admit it was the only time I have seen a driver of the year interviewed who thanked Viagra. He should have thanked his barber because that was the best Rob Lowe lid I have seen since I saw Oxford Blues on late night TV. Go Waples!
Rock n' Roll Heaven did not get bit by a Western Silk bug. He won, which was an awesome choice. The best horses need to be recognized.
As for Horse of the Year Dreamfair Eternal won in a face-off with San Pail. My old pal Greg - sure that San Pail was going to win because the awards were homer awards - was not on point with that one.
It was a fairly interesting evening and it was fun to watch it streamed. I hope they do it again next time.