Eclipse Awards: Havre De Grace a Lock for Horse of the Year?

Carlos TorresContributor IJanuary 16, 2012

Havre de Grace is about to make history on Monday
Havre de Grace is about to make history on MondayRob Carr/Getty Images

On the night of Monday January 16th, the 41st annual Eclipse Awards dinner will be held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

And history is expected to be made, when for an unprecedented third year in a row, a female horse wins the highly coveted 2011 Horse of the Year award.

It's a lock and you can take it to the bank. All that is left is for the official announcement to be made.

I am not convinced that she should win the award, but after looking at the signs, I've come to realize that she is going to win it, and there is no other viable option.

When you take a look at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) poll on their webpage, you will see how big Havre de Grace is a favorite to win this award.

Horse of The Year NTRA Poll Results

  1 Havre de Grace (15) 4-F 7-5-1-0 189 1
  2 Game On Dude (1) 4-G 8-3-3-1 141 4
  3 Royal Delta (1) 3-F 7-4-1-1 135 -
  4 Tizway (1) 6-H 4-2-0-2 122 3
  5 Drosselmeyer (1) 4-C 7-2-2-0 111 -
  6 Acclamation (2) 5-H 7-5-0-0 88 6
  7 Cape Blanco (1) 4-C 6-3-0-0 71 8
  8 My Miss Aurelia 2-F 4-4-0-0 63 -
  9 Flat Out 5-H 7-2-3-0 60 2
  10 Caleb's Posse 3-C 10-5-1-1 49 -
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But if you are still not convinced, the Daily Racing Form (DRF) and the NTRA conducted a poll on the DRF website, between December 16 and January 3.

Over 12,000 votes were received, and Havre de Grace once again came out on top with a total of 4,249 votes. But what makes her award even more of a surefire deal is who was voted behind her.

Rapid Redux, who went a perfect 19-for-19 last year, received 2,213 votes, while Breeders' Cup Classic winner Drosselmeyer checked in third with a vote count of 1,236.

If you compare this results to the ones from the NTRA poll, you will see even more of a disparity as to who could challenge her for top honors for last year.

Rapid Redux will receive a Special Eclipse Award for his record-tying perfect season performance, but he is a claimer horse and no graded stakes victories. Drosselmeyer's lone bright spot was his BC victory.

The reality is that the rest of the horses didn't do enough to win it.

Most of the horses that were expected to contend for it suffered unfortunate injuries throughout the year, and never fulfilled their potential.

Uncle Mo was derailed early with his liver disease, and tried valiantly to return to form. He even made the BC Classic but never had a shot to win it.

Derby winner Animal Kingdom was the early favorite. But then got injured after the Belmont Stakes and therefore out of the HOY race.

Tizway was the favorite during the early part of the second half of the year, but his brittle history came back to haunt him.

Blind Luck, who was Havre de Grace's nemesis, also got injured and was knocked off the contention path. Acclamation and Cape Blanco, also went down with the injury bug.

The other winners in the Triple Crown, Shackleford and Ruler On Ice, never won again after those wins.

Stay Thirsty surfaced in the second half of the year, but never got that win over the best horses that would have put him on the front seat.

That leaves us with the gutsy Game on Dude, second in the BC Classic. He won two Grade 1 races this year and faced the best of the best all year round.

Havre de Grace won three, but only one against the boys.

Game on Dude beat Tizway and Acclamation. Havre de Grace did not, with no wins against any of the above mentioned.

And when it counted the most: the BC Classic, Game on Dude was second and Havre de Grace was fourth. Head-to-head Game on Dude took it to her, and so he should have been on the voting.

But in the end, according to the reports on the internet, the polls and everywhere else you look point at, Havre de Grace is a lock to win Horse of the Year honors.

Congratulations to her connections on the achievement. History will be made once again.