As the season winds down and the Champions Cup championships are just around the corner, it's once again time for the Annual Sport of Kings awards.
Horse of the year
This may have been the toughest decision we've had to make as there are three simply outstanding horses this year, all in the three year old group. Dancing Brave continues to be spectacular and leads the earnings per start with a whopping $63.20 mark. Wise Dane, who for some reason missed last years Champions Cup after dominating the season, continues to impress. His only knock this year was the two losses that both came on the lawn. That leaves us with the winner
This three year old filly out of Pioneer of the Nile has absolutely exploded this season after losing the Juvenile Champions Cup by a head. She has absolutely dusted the competition and looks to be a sure thing going into the Champions Cup Turf Finals this year. An $87 purchase from the stable manager yearling sale, she has more than repaid Anfield's faith in her with an excess of $700 earned heading into the finals and her senior campaign. Seemingly the only question left to ask of her will be how long she continue to race?
Juvenile of the year
This was a great year for competitive racing and both of the top two horses on the leaderboard are deserving of this award.
With eight lifetime starts this filly has only finished off the board one time and she is always always within a length or two. She's been a true star for Anfield and she seems to be improving with only the latest speed rating giving pause for concern. She is the only horse from either the sire or mare to enter the starting gate but you have to think that will change with her success.
After missing the board entirely in his prior start this son of Distinctive Passion showed his quality to win by 2 lengths in a late Qualifier to secure a spot in the Finals. This colt appears to be comfortable on both dirt and turf which is a trait that Distinctive Passion seems to pass on. This is the only runner for Ivory Coast, once again proving that owners can find quality in more than one place.
Sire of the year
This seven year old sire, who could still be racing, continues to throw winners at a shocking 85% rate. After a respectable racing career he was retired to stud following two really dull outings in the senior division. With a total over $4,500 in foal earnings and in excess of $110 per horse this sire is still a bargain at the lofty fee of $25 per stud. Among the FIFTEEN graded stakes winners, Dancing Brave continues to be a standout along with One Fast Cast. It's not surprise the breeding rights to this horse sell out quickly every season.