Thursday, January 20, 2011

Harness HOY at the O'Briens

What a difference a sport makes huh? You really have to condition yourself to think differently when dealing with Horse of the Year items in thoroughbred and harness racing.

The O'Brien this year is a tough one - or is it?

I read my monthly Trot Magazine and checked the tale of the tape, but as you know you don't really have to look at stats if you follow the sport. Regardless, for those voters who are not every day watchers or bettors, I thought it was a good summary.

The Candidates:

Big Jim - The two year old superstar of 2010 is certainly in the mix. If he won the Metro instead of going goofy on the sloppy track, he might be a big winner. Divisional NA champ, however.

Crys Dream - the best two year old trotting filly since Snow White. Divisional champion. She's going to have a tough time though.

Dreamfair Eternal - the best older mare in racing - north and south of the border. She should get votes.

Rock n Roll Heaven - the slam-dunk no question winner in the US, but he only raced three times here and that will be held against him, a la Goldikova in the US Eclipse.

San Pail - great horse, great story, but probably not enough for a HOY title.

Idyllic and Western Silk - both horses were not even tops in their division in 2010 in NA (See You at Peelers and Put on a Show), so there is little chance they'll get it.

My choice? If Rock n Roll Heaven would have done something up here, rather than jump at the half and come up sick in the NA Cup Final, he'd get my vote. He is the best 3YO since SBSW. So I am down to three candidates - Big Jim, Crys Dream and Dreamfair Eternal. Crys beat up on some fillies not in her league, so I would have to eliminate her based on that, and that she is awesome, but truly lacked a huge "wow" factor.

Between Big Jim and Dreamfair Eternal the separation for me is razor-thin, but I think I would lean to the former. Dreamfair Eternal went through a small stretch where she was flat, and it cost her some money and some overall respect. Waples could not have tripped her out any better at the M for example, and she simply did not fire in those big races. Big Jim showed up each time and really let them have it. His win in the elimination of the Breeders Crown showed some serious talent, and like I mentioned, other than the excuse in the Metro, the horse was a monster.

I'd lean to Big Jim, in a tough choice, but I have a sneaky feeling Dreamfair is going to win.



Greg Reinhart said...

I would not vote for him b/c his resume does not scream HOY, but I think San Pail will win and win fairly easily.

Personally, I think Crys Dream was the best standardbred to race this year other than Rock N Roll Heaven, and I would give it to her. I thought the 2yo filly trotting group was pretty good this year, and she beat them all, including Martiniontherocks, who aired in the Breeders Crown (taking advantage of a number of breakers mind you). the mile Crys Dream went at Woodbine off six weeks in the Goldsmith Maid elim was as good as any 2yo filly trot mile in the history of harness racing outside of Snow White's mile at Lexington.

Pull the Pocket said...

You think this is really "sentimental" then?

I just can not see it. But you might be right and be totally onto something. If that happens, it is a pretty bad decision I think. DE and BJ have pretty stout Classic race resumes, San Pail has the Maple Leaf and the Glorys Comet.

We c!


PTP said...

The more I look at it, it seems you make a good point. His lines, to the non-handicapper, seem to scream vote for me.


Walleye Willy said...

PTP don,t agree with Greg he is usually bang on but this year he lost his mind . No one is voting HOY for a 2TF who wasn,t in the BC. And the Pail won one race of value. He has about as much chance of Mac and Cheese being declared Fine Dinning as being correct.

Pull the Pocket said...

Greg was swearing to us that Z does not win HOY, so we'll see if he goes oh for 2.

Thanks for putting things into perfect perspective Walleye Finsherman.


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