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Top Race Horses Of 2011 - Havre De Grace

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By Author: Lee Lane-Edgar
Total Articles: 365
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Some horse racing fans have said that 2011 was a rather dull year when it came to top notch thoroughbred champions.  Those fans, however, would be overlooking the fact that by winning Horse of the Year, Havre de Grace became the third consecutive female to win thoroughbred racing’s top honor, after Zenyatta won in 2010 and Rachel Alexandra won in 2009.  Before 2009 only 6 other times in history had a female been named Horse of the Year.   

After an impressive third place finish in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Churchill Downs to cap her three-year old season, the racing world was expecting good things from Havre de Grace, and she did not disappoint.  Under new trainer J. Larry Jones, the mare started her four-year old campaign in style, scoring a strong win in the Azeri Stakes March 19 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  The win was especially gratifying for those in Havre de Grace’s camp because she prevailed over her fierce rival Blind Luck, one of the horses that finished ahead of her in the 2010 Ladies Classic.  Four weeks later she scored the first Grade I triumph in the prestigious ...
... Apple Blossom Handicap on tax day, April 15.  Returning home to Delaware Park, Havre de Grace circled the field to an easy, nearly coast to coast victory in the Obeah Stakes.  Then came the match that everyone was waiting for:  a rematch with Blind Luck in the Delaware Handicap.  This time, Havre de Grace suffered her first loss of the 2011 season, finishing in second place by a nose to her chief rival.  
 
Jones was very impressed with the effort, though, and decided that it was time to send Havre de Grace up against male horses for the first time in her career.  Entered in the 2011 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on September 3, Havre de Grace was made the heavy betting favorite and won easily, joining Rachel Alexandra as the only females in history to win the Woodward, a race that not even the mighty Secretariat was able to win.  After that historic triumph, the classy mare returned to racing females in the Beldame Stakes on October 1 in what would be her final race before the ‘Breeders’ Cup Classic’.  It was no contest at all.  She destroyed the field at Belmont Park, scoring a dominating 8 ¼ length win over Royal Delta, the mare that would go on to win the 2011 Ladies Classic.  
 
Havre de Grace finished out her remarkable 4-year-old campaign against the boys in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing fourth.  However, with a record of 5 wins and 1 second in a total of 7 starts (7 5-1-0), including a win against the boys, Havre de Grace could not be denied the 2011 Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, and was the top race horse of 2011.

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