Turf writers have hearts and emotions. And that's why some are touting Arazi as Horse of the Year: His sensational win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile was a thrill to witness.
Next year, Arazi could become the biggest name in racing in nearly 20 years. His story could have all the elements: The mystique and precedent of a European horse as a heavy Kentucky Derby favorite, the drama of a conquering hero in his return to the States, the attractiveness of a truly superior specimen. What an exciting prospect.
He could well be the 1992 Horse of the Year.
But contrary to what you may have read or heard -- and certainly contrary to what you will read or hear, once votes are counted -- Arazi is not the 1991 Horse of the Year.
The colt ran in the United States one time. Once. He lived, trained and ran in France. Will Fourstars Allstar, who won the prestigious Irish 2,000 Guineas in a quick trip overseas, be Ireland's Horse of the Year? Come on. One start does not a year make, nor a country adopted.
Black Tie Affair is no Secretariat or Seattle Slew. His is no marquee name; his style is hardly flashy. In 25 years, he might be known as the Zoilo Versalles of Horses of the Year. But he accomplished the most in this country this year, and that's all that matters.
Turf writers have minds, too. And this is a no-brainer: Black Tie Affair is the 1991 Horse of the Year.
Arazi, who is recovering nicely from minor arthroscopic surgery on his knee, might not have been the only romping 2-year-old winner on Breeders' Cup day if Easy Now had not been excluded from the Fillies event. Pleasant Stage won the Fillies in dawdling time (1 minute, 46 2/5 seconds for 1 1/16 miles), and if you'll pardon the 20-20 hindsight, Easy Now might have blown them all away.
What adds to interest in Easy Now is that she's a half-sister to Easy Goer and races for the same connections. The filly tries to increase her record to 3-for-3 today in the Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct, and if she wins impressively again, she could win the Eclipse Award for top 2-year-old filly over Pleasant Stage.
One of the closest Eclipse races should be for the nation's top jockey between Pat Day and Jerry Bailey.
Bailey had a career year, riding the winners of the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic and other major races, and his mounts have earned more than $11 million.
Day, a three-time prior winner, leads in earnings with more than $13.5 million and is poised to break the mark for stakes wins in a year. Before this weekend, Day had won 55 stakes, only two less than the record jointly held by Jorge Velasquez and Craig Perret.
Maryland jockeys' ward update:
* Gregg McCarron, who suffered two compressed vertebrae in his back in a Nov. 8 spill at Laurel Race Course, said he will be back riding in "about three or four weeks. I just saw the doctors and they said everything looks fine."
* The return of apprentice Charles Fenwick III, who injured his back in a morning training accident Sept. 11, has been set back to at least Jan. 1.
* Andrea Seefeldt is expected to be out until February or March after suffering a fractured collarbone in a Nov. 3 spill at Laurel.
"It's never a good time to get hurt," said Seefeldt, who was riding a number of stakes horses before the spill, "but this was especially bad."
Doonesbury, a 14-year-old Kentucky-based sire, has had these offspring to race: Andy Capper, Kartoon, Trudeau, Waldon Pond and Zonker Harris.