Members of the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance (TBA) have announced their donation of $1,060 to Old Friends, a retirement and rescue organization for pensioned Thoroughbreds, in the name of their 2006 Horse of the Year, Bernardini.
Bernardini is one of a select few trying to pin down the 2006 Eclipse award for Horse of the Year. However, the TBA has established an objective point system that could, in future years, yield a different winner from the Eclipse victor. This new value system serves an important purpose.
Unlike similar awards that are given each year based solely on subjective media and industry voting, the TBA's Horse of the Year award is given to the horse with the most points earned in Graded Stakes.
The core of the TBA's mission, the standings reward owners and trainers for running horses in stakes races more often, giving fans more opportunities to become familiar with a horse. Also, the standings make it easier for fans to follow the sport, allowing them to take in the top ranked horses at a glance and giving them access to the same kind of easy-to-understand rankings that other sports fans take for granted.
"The main objective of the award is to bring attention to horse racing as a long-time and storied national past time, not merely a specialized and exclusive sport," Patrick Patten said. "We hope these rankings start that trend. We also hope the larger horse racing community begins to demand such standings and that the industry sees the benefits of wider fan bases through easily identifiable standings." Patten, the proprietor of "Pulling Hair and Betting Horses," developed the standings.
"We feel that if adopted by a group who can back standings with money and/or accreditation the standings will arrive at a true 'Horse of the Year,'" he said. "Furthermore, for our champion, it cannot be said that the award was due to a coastal or geographical bias or based on foreign form."
Old Friends is a charitable organization with a mission to care for retired racehorses. Founded by Michael Blowen in 2002, the Midway, KY, organization cares for 15 pensioned Thoroughbreds, including Ruhlman, an eight-time stakes winner, and Bonnie's Poker, dam of 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm.