After Blame beat Zenyatta in the Breeder’s Cup, many predicted that the most coveted racing award, the Eclipse Horse of the Year, would go to him.
But crowd favorite Zenyatta beat him to the wire on this one, earning 128 votes to his 102. The Eclipse Awards are decided by members of the National Turf Writers Association, employees of The Daily Racing Form and racing secretaries representing tracks that are members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
This is the second consecutive year that a mare has won the top award. In 2009, the HOTY winner was Rachel Alexandra. Zenyatta was second.
Zenyatta, without a doubt, was the winner of the popular vote. Perhaps more than any horse since Secretariat she captured the imagination of the non-racing public who cheered her on to 19 victories out of 20 races. Her come from behind racing style kept people’s heart in their mouths during her races; her competitive spirit was obvious in every race, but especially in the Breeder’s Cup where she came from dead last and ran every step to the wire, just losing to Blame.
Owner Jerry Moss summed it up best:
“If you love Thoroughbred horses, you go through life hoping that you can just see one more in whose presence, the clouds fall away to reveal the mountain top. It can take a generation, or infinitely longer, for such a horse to arrive. A horse that is capable of carrying the human heart. For the last 100 years, we know them all by name. But Zenyatta brought to us a beauty that was a tonic for the soul. She allowed us to believe in the impossible. And it was the light in her being, as much as the thrill of her races, that got us dancing. Zenyatta was transformative.”
Here’s a cute tribute to the Queen of the track.