Female Turf: 1) European invader Dank didn’t just come over to the U.S. and win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), she earned her spot in the race with a dominant 4 ¼ length victory in the Beverly D Stakes (G1), a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” race. In addition to her two U.S. Grade 1 wins, she won a Group 3 in Great Britain and a Group 2 in Ireland. 2) Mizdirection would get my vote for Female Turf Champion if Dank had stayed in Europe. See comments in Female Sprint category. 3) The 3-year-old Emollient finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, only a length behind Dank. She won the Spinster (G1) and Ashland (G1) over Keeneland’s Polytrack and won the American Oaks (G1).
Horse of the Year: 1) Wise Dan again gets my vote for Horse of the Year. In addition to his four Grade 1 wins and two Grade 2 wins, he’s given racing fans something to talk about. His performance in the Firecracker Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs this summer was incredible. Shoved against the hedge in the pouring rain when it looked like Wise Dan would lose his six-race win streak, he powered through a tight hole, brushed the hedge, and came out on top. I know there are some racing analysts that think he’s dodged the competition, but instead of trying to prove the horse on all surfaces this year, trainer Charlie LoPresti has kept Wise Dan where he’s best, on the turf. In my opinion, the surface is irrelevant in choosing horse of the year. When a horse can run virtually every month in the year and consistently perform at an elite level, he or she deserves to be crowned Horse of the Year. 2) Game On Dude 3) Will Take Charge.
Trainer: 1) Todd Pletcher 2) D. Wayne Lukas 3) Bob Baffert
Jockey: 1) Gary Stevens 2) Joel Rosario 3) Mike Smith
Apprentice Jockey: 1) Victor Carrasco 2) Edgard Zayas 3) Dylan Davis
Owner: 1) Ken and Sarah Ramsey 2) Zayat Stables, LLC 3) Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc.
Breeder: 1) Ken and Sarah Ramsey 2) Adena Springs 3) Mort Fink
Photo: Courtesy Churchill Downs
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