The Breeders' Cup also left several Eclipse Award divisions murkier than ever, with both sophomore divisions, both juvenile divisions, the older dirt male division, and possibly the turf female division all in position to possibly have year-end voting affected by post-Breeders' Cup racing. The greatest possibility for this appears to be in the 3-year-old male division, in which Maximum Security seems to have the edge after winning the Bold Ruler Stakes (USA-G3) and sitting out the Breeders' Cup. Code of Honor has probably taken himself out of the mix with his disappointing run in the Classic and seems unlikely to race again this season, but Omaha Beach may still be in the picture after his second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (USA-G1). Both colts have three graded wins with two at the Grade 1 level; both have a win over older males, and while Maximum Security was clearly best in the Kentucky Derby (USA-G1) despite his disqualification, he made that distinction in the absence of Omaha Beach, who would probably have been the Derby favorite had he not been injured and withdrawn. Both colts are being pointed to post-Breeders Cup Grade 1 races---Omaha Beach to the Malibu Stakes and Maximum Security to either the Cigar Mile or the Clark Handicap, and if both win, the deciding factor will probably be Maximum Security's second win at the expense of older males. A loss for Maximum Security and an impressive win for Omaha Beach could tip the scales the other way.
Besides the Cigar Mile and Clark Handicap (both of which could conceivably impact the older dirt male division, though it would probably take a very impressive performance by another leading older male to unseat Vino Rosso), other graded stakes that could become the final line in a resume for a championship include the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (USA-G1) at Los Alamitos (2-year-old fillies), the Remsen Stakes (USA-G2) at Aqueduct (2-year-old males), the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (USA-G2) at Churchill Downs (2-year-old males), the Los Alamitos Futurity (USA-G2) (2-year-old males), and the Hollywood Derby (USA-G1) at Del Mar (3-year-old males and conceivably 3-year-old fillies). The most intriguing of all could be the Matriarch Stakes (USA-G1) at Del Mar in the older turf female division. While Uni has the edge at present thanks to her victory over males in the Breeders' Cup Mile (USA-G1), Sistercharlie has three Grade 1 wins to two for her rival from identical 3-0-1 records in four-start campaigns and would be hard to overlook with a fourth Grade 1 win. Two other mares that might have at least a shot in the division with an impressive Matriarch score would be Vasilika, who has five graded stakes wins (one of them a Grade 1) and two Grade 1 placings this year, and Iridessa, who would then have a perfect 2-for-2 record in North America and the cachet of having won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (USA-G1) over Sistercharlie. (Vasilika, however, is slated to sell at Fasig-Tipton's "Night of the Stars" and is unlikely to race again.)
Not all was darkness and confusion at the Breeders' Cup, as Bricks and Mortar sealed an Eclipse Award in the turf male division and probably a Horse of the Year title as well in the Breeder's Cup Turf (USA-G1). Mitole upheld his claim to a title as champion sprinter by taking the Sprint (USA-G1), and Covfefe probably sealed the deal in the female sprinter division by taking the Filly and Mare Sprint (USA-G1). Midnight Bisou's Horse of the Year chances died with her second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (USA-G1), but she will still be the champion older dirt female, and her conqueror Blue Prize certainly deserves credit for her late-season campaign. And while unbeaten Structor may not get an Eclipse for his win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (USA-G1), he is certainly worthy of consideration in the 2-year-old male division and may have a shot to get the trophy if one of the division's Grade 1 winners on dirt does not come up with a major late-season victory.
In a perfect world, horses would never get hurt during a race, champions would be decided by thrilling year-end victories in racing's championship showcase, and people would leave the Breeders' Cup completely happy that they had seen the very best American horse racing has to offer. That didn't happen this year and though there were some bright spots, this year's Breeders' Cup may have raised more questions than it answered. Only future events can tell whether the 2019 Breeders' Cup proves to be a catalyst that ends up renewing the sport in North America, the tinder for its funeral pyre, or just another set of short-lived fireworks that are soon forgotten.