Monday, January 3, 2011

Members: Please Check Your Email and Vote!

Members: Make sure you check your email and vote!

Many members of the press have come out saying fans and bettors should have a vote for Horse of the Year. That is neither here nor there (the year end votes and banquets are put on primarily for horse owners who spend piles of money and spend plenty of time buying horses who they hope do well, and it is their night), but it got us thinking: Who would you choose as HANA members?

From our survey in 2009 we learned a great deal about you. You are horseplayers who follow this sport religiously (for the most part), but about 25% of you also own, train, groom, write for racing blogs or papers, work for tracks, and much more. In addition, you are addicted to racing. 44% of you play or watch the races three or more days a week. 75% of you have been watching racing for "20 or more years". About one in ten are true and pure fans - you bet less than $500 a year, and the majority of you bet less than $5000 a year. But we have a good many players who play more than $50,000 per year too. In total, you bet like a small army, and represent piles of eyeballs on almost every race, everyday.

In other words, we think it's a great mix of fans and bettors for a poll.

We have looked at some votes on the web regarding Horse of the Year, and they seemed to be open to anyone. As Jessica Chapel on her blog noted today, Zenyatta is one popular racehorse with almost 60,000 fans on Facebook (some votes show her getting 90% or more on web polls!). We thought allowing only HANA members to vote, we might get a pretty true result on how horseplayers, big, small and large, and industry watchers who are very passionate about horse racing feel about this years big vote.

Thanks to everyone for voting. We'll have the results up in a jiffy.


Anonymous said...

I voted.

It rhymes with Benyatta.

Anonymous said...

Successful horseplayers need to base their day-to-day decisions on logic and not sentimentality. I hope they do the same with this decision.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those "everyday players" that HANA has so many of..... but I bet they disagree with my choice. Reading the DRF it seems all everyday players are voting for Blame. I bet this poll goes against me, but that is okay - Blame is a nice horse.

Eric said...

No brainer. It's Blame.

Jeffrey said...

I don't think it's fair to automatically assume Zenyatta voters are rejecting a rational assessment of evidence in favor of sentiment.

There are multiple ways to assess what constitutes the 'best' horse. For example, one might fault Zenyatta for not racing vs. the boys (except in the Classic). Or one might reasonably claim she faced lackluster competition in several races.

But alternatively, Blame lost by open lengths to Haynesfield (a non-factor in the Classic) and defeated his opponents by very slim margins, even when advantaged by a 5lb weight break when facing Quality Road. Furthermore, Blame only entered five races in his relatively truncated 4yr old campaign; and one of his victories came in a G3 event.

It's important to note that no formal criteria exist for determining HOY. For this reason, one might reasonably argue that Goldikova is the logical choice, irrespective of the fact that she only made one start in the US. Few would seriously argue that Blame or Zenyatta made a more compelling case on the basis of individual performance. Goldikova took on the toughest competition possible at distances ranging from 7F to 9F 55yards.

I'm just trying to argue for civility and respect for divergent opinions. My own perspective is that Zenyatta deteriorated from her 4 year old peak, where she won seven straight vs. high quality opposition. But I also thought she was deserving of HOY in 2008. Furthermore, I thought Rachel Alexandra deserved HOY in 2009 based on a more complete season--even if Zenyatta's Classic was the most compelling race of the year. This year I'm a bit conflicted and think a case can be made for several horses.

If there's anything I've learned from horse racing and life in general, it's that black and white dichotomous ways of looking at the world are irrational and self-defeating.