Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bad Beat for Blame?

Although Blame had his head in front at the finish of the Breeders' Cup Classic, it was Zenyatta who won the gallop out when awarded the 2010 Horse of the Year on Monday night. Zenyatta earned 128 votes eclipsing Blame by 26 marks. Goldikova, winner of the BC Mile for the third consecutive year, received five votes. Completing the process was one abstention, and two "no votes" that were not counted.

Blame wins the 2010 BC Classic

Twitter was the place to be for the awards ceremony as racing fans / writers/ professionals /armchair experts and others across the world chirped at the coverage of the 2010 Eclipse Awards. The debate and commentary over Horse of the Year rages on today over the social networking site that limits users to just 160 characters per comment.

Writer Frances J Karon tweeted this morning,"At this point, I am more concerned that 5 eejits voted Goldi for HOTY, yet only 1 thought she was best older female."

Three BC Mile wins - Five HOTY votes

(Photo by Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

I struggle to explain that voting discrepancy. The tallying of votes is a popular topic as tweeps attempt to analyze the stats.

Thoroughbred Times writer Jeff W Lowe noted, "Per Tom Law, the NTRA voters gave it to Zenyatta 36-to-16, Turf Writers 71-to-49. DRF favored Blame, 38-to-21."

So, read into these numbers what you will. Perhaps, the DRF thinks the Horse of the Year race was won on the track. Other turf writers appear to have voted for career accomplishment in North America. There's no good answer unless someone takes the time to interview each and every person who voted.

This debate will rage on for weeks and while you can find TripleDeadHeat on Twitter, you're not likely to find me debating Horse of the Year. But there's plenty of good discussions trending on Twitter worth following.

Here is the full list of Eclipse Award winners:

2-Year-Old Male: Uncle Mo
2-Year-Old Filly: Awesome Feather
3-Year-Old Male: Lookin At Lucky
3-Year-Old Filly: Blind Luck
Older Male: Blame
Older Female: Zenyatta
Female Sprinter: Dubai Majesty
Male Sprinter: Big Drama
Male Turf Horse: Gio Ponti
Female Turf Horse: Goldikova
Steeplechase Horse: Slip Away
Owner: WinStar Farm
Breeder: Adena Springs
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
Apprentice Jockey: Omar Moreno
Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Congratulations to Woodbine fan favourite Omar Moreno

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In addition to Twitter, there is Eclipse Award inspired blogging aplenty on display this afternoon.

Photographer Barbara Livingston posted a photographic tribute to Zenyatta that is well worthy of clicking the link.

New York blogger Left At The Gate argues that, Eclipse Voters to Blame:

Zenyatta is Horse of the Year, and what a joke and a farce. Eclipse voters had an easy job this time, because the title was clearly decided on the track for a change. We complain about how the top horses rarely race, and how the ultimate showdowns rarely occur. And then, when it not only does take place, but produces a clear result in a cleanly run race, the voters cast the result aside and go for the sappy sentimental choice instead.

Blogger Foolish Pleasure took time to type, Just Sayin'...Chicks Rule:

Need any further evidence that currently fillies and mares rule the horse racing world? The proof is in the awards:

2009-10 Mercedes Award for New Zealand Champion 2-year-old: filly Banchee

2009-10 Mercedes Award for New Zealand Champion 3-year-old: filly Katie Lee

2010 Australian Racehorse of the Year: 5-year-old mare Typhoon Tracy

2010 Australian Champion 2-year-old: filly Crystal Lily

And that's just a few of the ladies listed. Click the link above to read all about the female dominated racing world.

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I absolutely loved the following piece from The Torontoist which reviewed, with screen shots, The Black Stallion which was filmed in Toronto with racing scenes shot at Woodbine and Fort Erie. Click into the story, entitled, Reel Toronto: The Black Stallion

Toronto's extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn't always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.

Is The Black Stallion the best movie ever filmed in Toronto? Lord knows the vast majority of the films we’ve profiled in this column have been stinkers, noble failures, or guilty pleasures. Sure, Chicago won Best Picture at the Oscars, but you probably didn’t even remember that until we said it.

Here, on the other hand, is precisely the kind of family movie they just don’t make anymore. It’s “slow” by today’s standards, containing a key wordless scene that makes the opening of There Will Be Blood look like a Tarantino exercise in verbosity by comparison. It’s stunningly shot by Caleb Deschanel (yes, father of Zooey) and contains an Oscar-nominated performance by Mickey Rooney.


The third act is all about the horse learning to race, so you need racetracks! Here The Black gets his first tryout on a real track, at Woodbine. It's getting dark, sure, but take our word for it.

The big finale, on the other hand, was shot at Fort Erie.

Amusing trivia: The summer of ’77 was notoriously brutal. Rain during the Woodbine shoot created two-foot-deep mud and on some of the days when they shot at Fort Erie the temperatures hit forty-six degrees.

Screenshot from The Black Stallion as it appeared on Torontoist website.

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Finally, there was a fair amount of discussion online and over the airways when the following piece appeared in the Globe & Mail, Why you should eat horsemeat: It's delicious:

Herewith, three facts about horses: 1) They’re cute. 2) They’re edible. 3) You probably haven’t eaten any lately because of fact No. 1.

If horsemeat is something you’re interested in trying, you may want to do it soon. Anti-horsemeat activists would like to put an end to it. Last October, activists descended on a Vancouver butcher shop, a Toronto restaurant and an Alberta abattoir demanding that the practice of killing horses and eating their meat be stopped. Since then, horsemeat has been disappearing from menus, and diners are becoming wary of this now-controversial meat. And a private member’s bill that would effectively shut down the slaughtering of horses for human consumption was tabled in Parliament in June.

All of which is a shame, gastronomically speaking, because here’s a fourth fact about horses: They’re delicious.

The same story links to three separate G&M discussion pieces surrounding the issue:

Horse slaughter and animal rights

Will Canadians stomach a horsemeat industry?

Protesters call for end to Canada's horse slaughter

Recently, CBC Radio hosted a panel on Should we be eating horsemeat?:

Would you? Do you? And what are the key concerns for you on this controversial issue? It's a meat that's popular in many places in the world, but it still sparks heated debate in Canada. Twyla Francois of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition and Livestock Handling Specialist Jennifer Woods disputed the ethics of horsemeat on Q today. And we heard from Steak author Mark Schatzker who is excited about eating more horsemeat, which he considers delicious.

Where do you stand on horse as meat? Should we be eating more horse or drawing a line about which animals we will and will not eat?

Click the link above to listen to the full program which is about twenty minutes in length. As you can imagine, I'm decidedly against the consumption of horse meat and invite readers to click into a previous post from this blog End Horse Slaughter: An Interview With Alex Brown

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Keep track of the latest horse racing news by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.

Still need more? Check out my archived posts including Feature Stories and Photo Essays.

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