Are you having a little anxiety today? Are you biting your nails a little more today than most Mondays? Is it because of that little golden trophy for Horse of the Year that will be announced tonight in Beverly Hills, Calif.? Are you just in a big old knot today wondering if it will be Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta?
Relax it will be okay.
After months of debate in the pages of racing publications, blogs, discussion boards, Google groups, Facebook comments, and Twitter tweets, tonight the debate ends.
Some will surely experience some type of post debate depression, similar to what some suffered following the Presidential election in 2008. They should seek professional help. Because they probably have more problems. Could be issues lingering from a childhood during the Alydar-Affirmed years.
At the very least - if this race between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta is as close as we all think - about half of us won't be so happy tomorrow.
I'm here, however, to offer pre-Eclipse Awards consolation. First, realize that life will go on past the Eclipse Awards. If the folks in Buffalo and Minnesota can survive all of those Super Bowl losses (there's seven between the two teams) than you should be able to survive one Horse of the Year vote.
In fact, after tonight it's going to be a little better life than what most Horse of Year fans get. Both Rachel and Zenyatta are preparing their return to the races. Add to that, that they might even give us that dream race for which we have all been clamoring.
I guessing the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 3 is as likely a place as any to host the showdown. The race is 1-1/16 miles over a natural dirt track on which both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta have won. Rachel Alexandra won the 2009 Martha Washington Stakes and Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn last year while still in the Hal Wiggins barn. Zenyatta would be in pursuit of her second Apple Blossom title having won the race in 2008. Rachel won both of her races at the Spa by 8 lengths or more. Zenyatta won by nearly five lengths in Arkansas.
So win or lose we have that going for us. Which is nice.
Tonight's losers should also take solace in the fact that there have been historically good horses with stunning records in a given year, but were not awarded the golden Eclipse for Horse of the Year.
The three great mares Bayakoa (Arg), Personal Ensign (photo) and Paseana (Arg) come to mind. There's not a Horse of the Year among them. Bayakoa lost the honor to Sunday Silence in 1989, her most impressive year. Personal Ensign retired undefeated and with a stirring victory over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors in the Breeders' Cup Distaff in 1988. Alysheba was named Horse of the Year that year. A.P. Indy took the prize away from Paseana in 1992 with half as many grade 1 wins and just as many defeats. In reference to any of these Hall of Fame mares, you just don't hear people say, "Nice mare. But she never won Horse of the Year."
Win or lose, there is nothing the voters for Horse of the Year can do to blemish the year that Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta gave us. So before you begin to wale or gnash a tooth tonight, just be thankful. We might be able to see it all again.