Below are a selection of a dozen Horse of the Year campaigns to get us in the mood for this year's choice. I chose a dozen that I think rank among the best seasons. This is not intended to be an exclusive list; rather I wanted to include at least one candidate from each decade while going back several decades. I then distilled those seasons into a fairly simple capsule summary: Year, Name, age, sex, St W-P-S, and "Major Wins." For horses from the Graded Stakes era, I recorded G1 victories only; for the earlier era, I simply relied on my best memory of what was accorded importance in that year.
The current order is chronological, from most recent backwards. How would you rank this not-too-shabby dozen?
Horse of the Year Campaigns
Combined Record: 132 115-10-3
2009 Rachel Alexandra 3f Feb - Aug. 8 8-0-0 Major Wins: Oaks, Preakness, Mother Goose, Haskell, Woodward
1995 Cigar 5h Jan-Oct. 10 10-0-0 Major Wins: Donn, Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn, Pimlico Special, Hollywood Gold Cup, Woodward, JCGC, BC Classic
1988 Alysheba 4c Feb-Nov 9 7-1-0 Major Wins: Strub, Santa Anita, Iselin, Woodward, Meadowlands Cup, BC Classic
1980 Spectacular Bid 4c Jan-Sep 9 9-0-0 Major Wins: Strub, Santa Anita, Californian, Haskell, Woodward
1979 Affirmed 4c Jan - Sep 9 7-1-1 Major Wins: Strub, Santa Anita, Californian, Hollywood Gold Cup, Woodward, JCGC
1974 Forego 4g Feb - Oct 13 8-2-2 Major Wins: Widener, Brooklyn, Woodward, JCGC
1968 Dr. Fager 4c May - Oct. 8 7-1-0 Major Wins: Californian, Suburban, Whitney, Washington Park, United Nations, Vosburgh
1966 Buckpasser 3c Feb - Dec 14 13-1-0 Major Wins: Everglades, Chicken Flamingo, Arlington Classic, Brooklyn, American Derby, Travers, Woodward, JCGC, Malibu
1963 Kelso 6g Feb - Nov 12 9-2-0 Major Wins: Suburban, Whitney, Aqueduct, Woodward, JCGC
1956 Swaps 4c Feb - Aug 10 8-1-0 Major Wins: American, Hollywood Gold Cup, Sunset, Washington Park
1953 Tom Fool 4c Apr. - Oct. 10 10-0-0 Major Wins: Metropolitan, Suburban, Carter, Brooklyn, Whitney, Pimlico Special
1948 Citation 3c Feb. - Dec. 20 19-1-0 Major Wins: Seminole, Flamingo, Derby, Preakness, Belmont, American Derby, JCGC, Pimlico Special