Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Favorite Moments as a Young Fan

1. 2007 Breeders Cup Classic

The 2007 Breeders Cup Classic was my favorite moment simply because of Curlin. The mighty chestnut had captured my heart like no horse before, and his utter domination of Hard Spun, Street Sense, Any Given Saturday, and Lawyer Ron had me jumping for joy. It was the race of the year for Horse of the Year, and Curlin proved what I had thought all year, that he was the best of his generation, and one of the best I had ever seen.

2. 2015 Belmont Stakes

I had been waiting for a Triple Crown winner since the gallant Smarty Jones introduced me to this wonderful sport in 2004. American Pharoah is a real American Phenom and when he crossed the wire first at Belmont I could not believe my eyes. The aftermath of the Belmont still resonates with me I have watched this race at least fifty times, still trying to believe that yes indeed we do have a Triple Crown champion.

3. 2009 Preakness Stakes

The 2009 Preakness was a match up of epic proportions. You had the dominating 20 length winner of the Kentucky Oaks in Rachel Alexandra, and you had the against all odds 50-1 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, it was set to be a historic race. I had fallen in love with the exquisite filly and cheered her on the whole way as she crossed the wire first my heart soared.

4. 2009 Breeders Cup Classic
The 2009 Breeders Cup Classic comes to mind as one of my favorite moments simply because of the history. The great mare Zenyatta was trying to remain undefeated, and faced her stiffest challenge yet. To remain perfect the unbeatable mare was going to have to take down a stellar field of older males and a couple of extremely talented three year olds. What resulted was a race for the ages as Zenyatta remained unbelievably unbeaten.

5. 2010 Breeders Cup Mile

Goldikova was already in a class of her own, but what she was trying to accomplish in the 2010 Breeders Cup Mile was unheard of. Three Breeders Cup wins was a lofty goal, and she would have to be on her A-game to defeat a very talented group of world class milers. She came storming down that Churchill Downs stretch right into the record books.

6. 2014 Shadwell Turf Mile
Wise Dan proved just how special and tough he was in this amazing display of heart and courage. The gelding was basically left at the start, and still came charging down to get all the dough in the Shadwell Mile. I was there for this glorious performance, and watching him seem hopelessly beaten about broke my heart, but that didn't last long when the glorious gelding rolled with his customary charge to win.

7. 2013 Belmont Stakes
Palace Malice was the first Classic winner for his sire Curlin who if you haven't caught on by now is my favorite racehorse of all time. Palace Malice had me scratching my head after his poor performance by setting suicidal fractions in the Derby, but all was not lost. I had told anybody who would listen that this colt would come back firing on all cylinders. He roared home to win the Belmont, and proved all my faith in him was not lost.

8. 2015 Whitney Handicap
Honor Code plain and simple is a stretch running sensation. This is my favorite win of his because so many people doubted his ability to get a distance of ground, and turning for home he looked hopelessly beat only to come bearing down in the final strides to nip Liam's Map right on the wire.

9. 2015 San Antonio Stakes
I had so much faith in Shared Belief, and plain and simple I was sick and tired of all the crazy Chromies saying Shared Belief didn't hold a candle up to California Chrome. I lusted for the chance for them to meet up again under a fair setting where Shared Belief wouldn't get mobbed at the start. Shared Belief proved me right that he was in a class all his own, and that California Chrome was really the one who couldn't hold a candle to him.

10. 2009 Woodward Stakes

In what was arguably the greatest display of heart and courage by any racehorse ever Rachel Alexandra fended off all challenges and managed to just hold on to be the first filly to win the Woodward. She would cap off an unbelievable season and arguably the best 3 year old season of any filly ever.

11. 2010 Preakness Stakes

The race where Lookin At Lucky finally got lucky! I so adored this son of Smart Strike and to see him finally get the trip, and prove he was the best of his crop was so gratifying. He would go on to earn champion three year old honors and would retire to stud at the end of the year.

12. 2015 Travers Stakes
After being high on Keen Ice since February I couldn't not help but be ecstatic over his upset of American Pharoah. Many people always said to me the horse wasn't anything or didn't have a chance, but I knew one day he would figure it all out, and he picked a damn good day to figure it out.

13. 2013 Breeders Cup Classic
Mucho Macho Man was another of my favorites who took awhile to get everything figured out, but once he did he turned into an undeniable force in the handicap division, and the Breeders Cup Classic was his crowning achievement.

14. 2015 Pacific Classic 

What else can you say about Beholder's brilliant victory other than holy crap. In one of the most dominant victories of her career she decimated a decent group of older males to become the first mare to win the Pacific Classic. 

15. 2011 Delaware Handicap 

In one of the greatest rivalries of recent memory Blind Luck and Havre De Grace teamed up again for a spine tingling stretch battle that went to Blind Luck. It was a photo finish that did not deserve a loser, it was to be the last time these superstar mares faced, and boy was it a fitting end to a great rivalry.