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The lack of anything in this realm that can be viewed at cut-and-dry almost a month after the Breeders' Cup lends a component to the new year that has been missing for some time - suspense.
Your call, but Little Mike's portfolio is stronger than Wise Dan's. Certainly, Fort Larned merits consideration after adding the Breeders' Cup Classic to the Whitney Handicap he won last summer at Saratoga. Winning the Classic puts a horse in the frame but in this case guarantees little else. He may be charisma challenged, a perhaps overwhelming handicap in a contentious poll.Support for Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another, now a resident of Japan, is a bit surprising. Retirement of a 3-year-old in June is not the path to immortality and the division in which he competed was, as best, profoundly ordinary, its leading figures better known for injury and illness than competitive heroics. Certainly, I'll Have Another will be champion 3-year-old if only by default but there is no argument to be made for the frivolous Horse of the Year aspirations of his fans and connections. On the other hand, the lack of support for Royal Delta is perhaps more surprising. Here is a defending Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic champion who repeated emphatically at Santa Anita while defeating a field of females that included two undefeated champions, both Breeders' Cup winners; the winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama Stakes and a California-based multiple Grade 1 winner - the best field assembled anywhere this year and one of the deepest in the race's history. Yet Royal Delta - who should be the frontrunner to become the fourth female in as many years to win this title -- is not the favorite to win the Horse of the Year vote. If her lack of a victory over males is held against her, her accomplishment more than balances the scale. The lack of anything in this realm that can be viewed at cut-and-dry almost a month after the Breeders' Cup lends a component to the new year that has been missing for some time - suspense. In the advance of winter, a bit of suspense that does not involve the fiscal cliff is a good thing.