Best of 2014 in Horse Racing
Best of 2014 in Horse Racing: 2014 has been exciting as any other! The Breeders’ Cup Classic didn’t turn out like many would have likely hoped. Wise Dan seemed unbeatable, on the turn, and in the barn as well. Overseas, Australia and the Grey Gatsby dueled it out over the turf, officially creating a rivalry. 2014 is quickly coming to a close and the best of 2014 is going to come to a close with the ball dropping on New Years.
The Comeback King – Already being dubbed the Titan of the Turf, Wise Dan came back to win two graded stakes after a battle with colic in May. Again trying to comeback in 2015, after suffering a hairline fracture, Wise Dan may be back at age 8, if he can heal up to 100%.
Double Trouble – The dynamic duo of Rosie Napravnik and Untapable first were able to pull off an unbeaten season (in the female division) with a win in the Kentucky Oaks (May 2) and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Oct 31).
The Stars Align – According to co-owner Steve Coburn, California Chrome was the result of a star alignment, after Coburn saw Chrome winning the Kentucky Derby (May 3) in a dream he had, just days before the colt was born on Harris Ranch in California.
Owner Outburst – After a disappointing 4th place finish for California Chrome in the G1 Belmont Stakes (June 7), Coburn let his mouth run the show. Calling the connections of Tonalist cowards even! After an apology, the fans still seem to look down on the horse and the Dumbass Partners
Dirt Double – For the first time in the seven runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Goldencents pulled off back-to-back wins. In exhausting fashion, Goldencents was able to pull off the win, even with a surging Tapiture, on October 31. After finally finding his niche in dirt miles, the Into Mischief colt excelled in his races.
Man O’ War Man – Shug McGaughey seems to be the dominant entity in the Man O’ War Stakes, having won the last three editions. This year, on May 11, he won with frontrunner Imagining. Will he have Imagining back for a 2015 run?
The Dude – Game On Dude had his worst season in 2014, which led up the Bob Baffert calling it quits with the veteran runner. Game On Dude only had one win this season, which is the least of any season he had been running. Baffert retired the Dude, announced September 18, to Old Friends in Kentucky for a life of leisure and peppermints.
California Chrome in Hollywood – California Chrome won his first stakes race at Hollywood Park, and now, a multiple graded stakes winner on dirt, Art Sherman has his hands on a possibly Horse of the Year and 2014 Three-Year-Old Champion. Now, California Chrome is not a 2/3 Triple Crown winner, but he is also a G1 winner on Turf! Winning the Hollywood Derby over 2014 Queens Plate winner Lexie Lou, Chrome has a lot of options as an older horse.
Voodoo Vavoom – Trainer Eric Gulliot, a seasoned Louisiana-Bred, practiced voodoo to propel his horse, Moreno, to a win in the G1 Whitney on August 2. The spirits granted the trainer’s wishes when Moreno put away his competition and got his grade one win.
Handicap Horror – The with defection of the older horses, such as Palace Malice, Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge, Game on Dude, and Moonshine Mullin, the top Breeders’ Cup Classic competitors were out, and the three-year-olds took over. Some said the three-year-old crop is the best since 2007 (Street Sense, Curlin, and Hard Spun).
Bayern Bowling – Bayern won the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 1, but only after bowling his way sideways, and taking out, arguably, his main competitor in Shared Belief. Bayern was able to hold off long shot Toast of New York and Classics winner California Chrome.
Front Stage Retirement – Rosie Napravnik has seemingly been one of the best jockeys in the country the last few years. After winning to Kentucky Oaks, a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and a Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Rosie announced that she was pregnant and would begin her retirement on November 2. She announced this all on national television after her Distaff win.
Double Arc – Treve didn’t seem to be a factor in some of her races across the pond, but she returned to top form when she won back-to-back Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, over Flintshire (2nd in BC Turf), Taghrooda, and Kingston Hill on October 5.
Lucky Days – After returning this year after suffering a fractured pelvis in 2013, Itsmyluckyday has only one off the board finish this year, and has proven that he is a serious racehorse. His hard fought win in the G1 Woodward (on August 30) finally gave him his first grade one win. Itsmyluckyday will stand stud in 2015 at Spendthrift Farms.