JC / Railbird

Expert Opinion

John Pricci on the DRF bloc voting Blame as Horse of the Year:

The shocking portion, however, was Daily Racing Form’s tally, a margin that looked very much like a third judge at a heavyweight title fight who was looking the other way while a battle was joined.

Joe Drape on the same subject:

Not surprising, but how un-expert. (via @raypaulick) DRF block went for Blame 38-21. How can DRF say it’s the authority on horse racing?

The argument could be made that the DRF bloc made the least shocking, most expert pick, going for a male winner of multiple Grade 1s over main track dirt with a narrow edge in speed figures (five triple digits to Zenyatta’s four) — a horse who beat the other the one time they met in the race that everyone said would decide the title (before the race was even run). They voted the dogma, which, most years, nicely aligns with what happens on track. That it didn’t this year says much more about how ultimately unsatisfying both leading HOTY contenders’ 2010 campaigns were than it does about DRF voters’ judgment.

Based on the rancorous debates of the past couple years surrounding the HOTY title, Todd Lieber argues in the Thoroughbred Times that Eclipse voters should have set criteria to guide their votes:

It would be up to others with far more knowledge and greater standing in the industry than this correspondent to determine what those criteria should be, but since I’ve raised the issue I will at least hazard a suggestion. The honor should go to the horse with the most consistent record of achievement at the highest level of racing during the year. To be sure, this will not stifle debate, but it would at least focus the questions.

Well, that’s awfully vague. How about a points system for HOTY?


Would be curious to see the voting bloc breakdown from last year’s HoTY vote. I don’t recall seeing that circulate after last year’s kerfuffle. Maybe the DRF bloc put Z over the top this year in comparison to last year?

Knowledgeable voters don’t need criteria. Having a point system or additional guidelines opens up the system to all sorts of unintended consequences not the least of which would be maintaining the integrity of the past winners should one from the past not qualify based on a new set of criteria.

Many cite other sports awards like MLB’s MVP or Cy Young awards but those have little to no criteria also. And a funny thing has happened in baseball with regard to awards: as sabermetrics have spread into the mainstream, that’s been reflected in the way the press has voted. Ten years ago it would have been considered absurd that a player like Felix Hernandez win the Cy Young over a player like CC Sabithia, as it happened this year.

Posted by o_crunk on January 19, 2011 @ 11:33 am

the “most expert pick” would have been Goldikova, but as long-standing biases remain intact, she was barely even considered.

Posted by Tinky on January 19, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

Tinky: Turf milers are nice, but it’s nowhere near being the glamor division in this country.

Posted by EJXD2 on January 20, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

“Turf milers are nice”

Well, there’s a sophisticated opinion, if I’ve ever heard one.

Posted by Tinky on January 20, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

Which is more sophisticated, The statement “Turf Milers are nice” or using the anonymous handle “Tinky”?

Posted by EJXD2 on January 21, 2011 @ 10:40 am