Zenyatta beyond Blame in Eclipse spotlight

If it's January, it must be time to go for a gong. And never mind the Oscars, never has the result of America's thoroughbred equivalent, the Eclipse Awards, been so eagerly debated. Late on Monday night in Miami came the result that had them whooping in the aisles: the people's darling Zenyatta was finally and justly granted the coveted Horse Of The Year title at the third time of asking.

The count was nearly as close, though, as her agonising yet glorious head defeat by Blame in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November, a few inches that brought her four-season winning streak to an end at 19 victories. The mighty mare polled 128 votes to Blame's 102 to give owner Jerry Moss and trainer John Shirreffs a degree of consolation for her near-miss in achieving statistical perfection.

There is no European equivalent of the Eclipse Awards, which are given after a poll of the nation's professionals and pundits and are more highly craved than any other. California girl Zenyatta, at her best on synthetic surfaces, lost out last year to another female, the East Coast's Rachel Alexandra, and in 2008, with her unbeaten run then at a mere nine, she was runner-up to the colt Curlin.

Moss is no stranger to red carpets and spotlights; he is co-founder of A&M Records and named his superstar after an album by Sting, his business associate and friend. And he sent a timely message, based on bitter experience, to the marketeers who would see the sport solely as the province of big-spending punters. "You have to take care of the real fans," he said. "I came from an industry that sued them when they started stealing music through Napster.

"There is sentiment in this horse business and you have to play to it; it's true in show business and it's true in horse racing. If you have a horse who gets people in the heart, then they want to come see them again and get to know about them. And then you have the Beatles again."

Zenyatta, now retired, is at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky awaiting a date with star stallion AP Indy. Neither will Blame, whose connections had the satisfaction of a unanimous vote in the older male category, nor Lookin At Lucky, the first colt since Spectacular Bid 32 years ago to complete the juvenile and three-year-old Eclipse double, be seen again. They will soon start their own breeding duties at Claiborne and Ashford respectively.

Happily, another Eclipse heroine is likely to continue to build her own legend. French-trained Goldikova, uniquely a triple Breeders' Cup winner, polled only five votes in the three-cornered fight for the top award, but retained her female turf title by a country mile.

Turf account

Sue Montgomery's Nap

Marching Home (5.30 Kempton) Showed his best form last year in his so far brief career over today's course and distance and may prove to have been well-treated on his entry into handicap company.

Next best

Wind Instrument (3.50 Newbury) Goes on heavy ground and will strip fitter after his seasonal debut in much hotter company at Cheltenham.

One to watch

Progressive Kudu Country (T Tate) Can build on his fine fourth-place effort against Champion Hurdle prospect Mille Chief at Sandown last week.

Where the money's going

After the news yesterday of Dunguib's enforced absence from Sunday's Irish Champion Hurdle, Hurricane Fly hardened as favourite, now 1-2 with Paddy Power.

Chris McGrath's Nap

Fiftyfive Degrees (2.15 Newcastle)

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'