The Eclipse Award for 2014 Horse of the Year went to California Chrome, a modestly bred colt owned by people who have to work for a living.  The final vote from the members of the Daily Racing Form, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters was a landslide win for California Chrome.  The first four top vote getters were:  California Chrome, 143 votes; Main Sequence, 53; Bayern 36; and Shared Belief, 12.

The Horse Racing Business post of December 26, 2014, was titled “2014 American Horse of the Year by the Numbers” (available in the archives).  I used a point system to predict 2014 Horse of the Year that I developed in 2010 to evaluate the hotly debated Horse of the Year contest between Zenyatta and Blame (the point system correctly predicted that Zenyatta would win).  The value of a point system is that it removes emotion and also gives equal weight to what a horse has done all year, thereby eliminating the psychological tendency of recency bias, wherein the most recent information is given more weight.

Following is a verbatim quote from the December 14 post:

“…point totals for 2014 HOY are:

California Chrome = 110 points (including wins in four G1 races and over two different types of surfaces in G1 races)

Main Sequence = 100 points (including four G1 races and a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf)

Shared Belief = 95 points (including four G1 races and only one career loss)

Bayern = 90 points (including two G1 races and a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic)”

It is gratifying to see that the voters in the aggregate made almost the same exact rankings.

Now, getting into the area of pure opinion rather than numbers, I thought that the Eclipse Awards webcast was very well done.  Jeannine Edwards did a smooth job as master of ceremonies, like the television professional she is, and the Gulfstream Park setting made for a germane and stylish backdrop.

Especially appropriate was the presentation of an Eclipse Award to Jose Arias for being the 2014 Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapper of the Year.  As Steve Crist of the Daily Racing Form said in his introduction, folks like Mr. Arias make the entire horse racing industry a viable commercial endeavor.

As a columnist for Blood-Horse, I was particularly pleased to see writers for the magazine win two Eclipse Awards in the media category.

The vast majority of people are not likely to watch an awards broadcast from start to end, and the Eclipse Awards webcast made it easy for a viewer to drop in and out.

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