JC / Railbird

HOTY and the BC

With Zenyatta, Quality Road, and Blame expected in the Classic, it’s no secret that this year’s Breeders’ Cup will decide Horse of the Year. You could say the event is reverting to form. In the 26 runnings since its inception in 1984, only eight horses have been named HOTY without starting in a Breeders’ Cup race:

Three distaffers have won HOTY since 1984, but only Rachel Alexandra did so without a Breeders’ Cup race. She did have a Woodward Stakes start, though, as did three of the other seven HOTYs to win without the BC (Mineshaft ran in the Jockey Club Gold Cup after winning the Woodward). The Woodward Stakes turns out to be a key race in HOTY campaigns, second only to the Breeders’ Cup Classic: 12 of the 26 BC-era winners started in the Woodward en route to honors, 11 of the 20 main track male winners three and up.