Despite a pandemic throwing the world into chaos horse racing managed to show the world the show can go on. We kept racing as safely as possible and you have to admit we finally did something pretty well as an industry.
There were some great moments in racing in 2020. We came up with what we think is “the moment of the year” and have crowned it accordingly. Before we get to the Past the Wire 2020 Racing Moment of the Year we’ll take a quick look at some worthy honorable mentions.
When Authentic won the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in September, yes you read that correctly, September, it was a special moment. Not only did perennial leading sire Into Mischief prove he can get a top class mile and a quarter Grade 1 winner, but partial owner My Racehorse changed the landscape of partnerships. The innovative group knocked it out of the ballpark offering shares in the eventual Kentucky Derby winner. Talk about setting a high bar. About 5000 people bought shares and they all received a Kentucky Derby win picture with their name listed as one of the owners. Special, you bet!
Aidan O’ Brien has won about every meaningful turf race in the world. In 22 tries he had never won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile. That doesn’t even sound like it could have been right. It was until he won it with a 70-1 shot in Order of Australia. Not only did he win, he put an exclamation point on it by finishing second and third for an O’ Brien triple.
We love comebacks and Monomoy Girl made one for the books. She missed all of 2019 after becoming a Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner in 2018. Brad Cox brought her back for 2020 and pointed for the Distaff. Monomoy Girl did it becoming the fourth horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff twice. The next day Spendthrift Farm bought her for 9.5 million dollars and announced she would return to the Brad Cox barn to race in 2021. Yeah, that’s special.
Brad Cox tied Richard Mandella with four, yes four wins in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup.
It took 7 year old Whitmore four tries to get a win in the Breeders’ Cup, but when he surged to win the Sprint he also gave trainer Ron Moquett his first.
Professional handicapper and horseplayer, and yes we mean professional, Tommy Hammer Massis, a former Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge winner became bored with the pandemic and started exploring more horse racing wagering opportunities. The search led him to the Hong Kong Jockey Club where they love to bet, and have strict regulations, and provide an abundance of information to bettors. Hammer put his skill to work and took down a $1 pick 6 for over a cool million in US funds. He tells us he plans to top that in 2021.
The very same Tommy Massis while a guest on Past the Wire’s podcast, Gate to Wire told everyone who would listen Tarnawa would win the Breeders’ Cup Turf without question, and if he was having a winning day he’d bet $50,000 on her. Yes if you read, watch or listen to Past the Wire you hear those kind of things from people that it actually means something from.
Now for the Past the Wire Racing Moment of the Year!
Only six fillies in the history of horse racing have been good enough to beat the boys in the Preakness. Swiss Skydiver was like a war horse in 2020. She took her show on the road and kept it going all year long. Her finest moment came in the Preakness when she beat the Kentucky Derby winner and eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic on the square. It was a nail biter with the filly making an early inside and aggressive move under Robbie Albarado. Robbie delivered a masterful ride all around. Many had counted Robbie out but he showed he still has what it takes and then some on the big stage. An epic race, a filly beating the boys in a Triple Crown jewel, a comeback rider delivering a great ride. Swiss Skydiver winning the Preakness in the Past the Wire Racing Moment of the Year!
See you next year!