THOROUGHBRED RACING : After Black Tie Affair’s Fast Finish, He Deserves to Be Horse of the Year
Although he doesn’t remind anyone of Sunday Silence, Alysheba or some of the other recent winners, Black Tie Affair deserves to be named 1991’s horse of the year.
The 5-year-old son of Miswaki finished his career with six consecutive victories, including a wire-to-wire triumph in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. He won races at six different tracks, and there isn’t a candidate more deserving.
Arazi was sensational, but it’s difficult to give the 2-year-old the award based upon one race. In Excess blew his chances when he ran in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and, to be honest, Farma Way had just as good a year.
Dance Smartly was unbeaten in eight starts, but her competition was suspect. Does anybody really think she could have beaten Lite Light when that filly was at her best?
Here are the rest of our Eclipse choices:
2-Year-Old Colt or Gelding: Arazi. This should be a unanimous choice, and the only hope is that he comes back as good next year as he was in 1991. Nobody who saw his victory in the Breeders’ Cup will ever forget it.
2-Year-Old Filly: Pleasant Stage. Trainer Chris Speckert’s miss broke her maiden in the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita, then proved that victory was no fluke with a Breeders’ Cup victory. Her Eclipse was clinched when Easy Now, who was touted as the next Ruffian by the Eastern press after two victories in New York, was beaten in her third start. If Easy Goer’s half-sister had won the Demoiselle, she might very well have wrapped up the Eclipse, as unfair as this would have been to Pleasant Stage.
3-Year-Old Colt or Gelding: Hansel. His year ended prematurely, but he stamped himself the best with victories in the Preakness and Belmont. He probably would have won the Travers, too, if he hadn’t injured himself.
3-Year-Old Filly: Dance Smartly. The daughter of Danzig wrapped up her perfect year with a score in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Best Older Colt, Horse or Gelding: Black Tie Affair. The Irish-bred finished his career with 18 victories from 45 starts and over $3.3 million in purses.
Best Older Filly or Mare: Queena. Probably, nobody deserves the award in this category.
Best Male Grass Horse: Tight Spot. He didn’t finish his year with a flourish--the 4-year-old His Majesty colt was well-beaten in the Breeders’ Cup Mile--but that was his only defeat in six starts this year, and he won four graded stakes.
Best Female Grass Horse: Miss Alleged. Until last Sunday’s Hollywood Turf Cup, the choice was Flawlessly. She had won five of six on the grass this year, including a victory in the Matriarch, and her only loss came when she was second to Kostroma in the Yellow Ribbon. However, Miss Alleged finished by winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Turf Cup, beating males in both.
Best Sprinter: Housebuster. Even though he bombed as the heavy favorite in the Breeders’ Cup--when he injured himself--the Mt. Livermore horse was clearly tops in the division. He won four of eight starts and was second twice. His only bad race prior to the Breeders’ Cup came in the Metropolitan Mile.
Trainer: Ron McAnally. A decade after winning his first Eclipse, McAnally, 59, picks up another. Tight Spot, Olympio, Festin and others made it a banner year.
Jockey: Jerry Bailey. He’s among the national leaders in earnings and won three of the sport’s biggest races--the Preakness, Belmont and Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Dance Floor, who will try to give trainer Wayne Lukas his fourth victory in the Hollywood Futurity, worked a half-mile in 48 flat Wednesday morning. Owned by rap star Hammer and his family, Dance Floor was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Other likely starters in the $500,000 Futurity, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles, are A.P. Indy, Real West, Casual Lies, Old Master, Zurich, Turbulent Kris and Star Of The Crop.
Entries will be taken this morning for Saturday’s $500,000 Hollywood Starlet at 1 1/16 miles, and those likely to go are Soviet Sojourn, Looie Capote, Golden Treat, Magical Maiden, More Than Willing, Hopeful Amber, Pennant Fever, Crownette and Top Bank.
Horse Racing Notes
Excavate, who was injured last spring, worked five furlongs in 58 3/5 Wednesday morning for trainer Charlie Whittingham. . . . Mangaki, a 10-year-old who hasn’t run since May 17, 1987, will return in a six-furlong allowance race today at Bay Meadows. Victorious in the 1984 Bay Meadows Derby and the 1987 All American Handicap, Mangaki has been at stud since 1988. Owner Chrys S. Chrys plans on running him up to three times before returning him to stud. . . . Trainer Robert Wright and jockey Hector Torres combined for two victories Wednesday--18-1 shot Power Slyde in the second and Interclear in the seventh. . . . Thanks to Power Slyde’s victory and a $69.40 upset by Office Gals, the early triple paid a meeting-high $15,249. Office Gals provided Corey Black with his first victory since he returned to California two weeks ago.
Jockey Danny Velasquez Jr., got his first two victories Wednesday at Bay Meadows. He scored with Groovystrplethreat in the second and Gnitsaoc Mi Reglob in the fourth. . . . Blue Eyed Danny, the 4-5 favorite, won the $36,000 allowance feature in 1:08 3/5, the fastest six furlongs of the meeting.