Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc.
WHAT TRIPLE CROWN WINNER WAS NOT RECOGNIZED AS THE HORSE OF THE YEAR IN THE YEAR HE WON THE TRIPLE CROWN?
The Horse of the Year honors is a coveted award. Over the documented years of Thoroughbred racing there have been numerous variations on the award. From the earliest years our sport has found a way to honor the best race horse each year. This began with retrospective awards going back to 1887. This informal documentation lasted until 1935 when Daily Racing Form and the Turf and Sport Digest created an award. In 1950 this group had the Thoroughbred Racing Association to the award process. Finally, in 1970 the current awards known as the Eclipse Awards were established by adding the National Turf Writers Association to the selection process. This year the debate around the award is unusual. There are clear factions in the process that are split on whether Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown winner, should be named Horse of the Year. The splitting issue is the length of time he raced, approximately 4 months. Looking back at the complete history of the award the only Triple Crown winner not given the recognition as the best horse of the year was Omaha (photo upper right) who won the Triple Crown in 1935. That year the award went to the 4-year-old Discovery. Only three of the Triple Crown winners have won the Horse of the Year title more than once (twice). They are: Whirlaway (1941-1942), Secretariat (1972-1973) and Affirmed (1978-1979). Outstanding by comparison is the horse Kelso who won the Horse of the Year for five consecutive years (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964)