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Review: Women of the Year

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Women of the Year

Women of the Year: Ten Fillies who Achieved Horse Racing's Highest Honor

Eclipse Press

The Bottom Line

Next to a Hall of Fame induction, to be voted as Horse of the Year is the highest honor in Thoroughbred racing. Traditionally this award goes to the champion older male, but there have been exceptions. Only ten female horses have been awarded the title, and this book is a tribute to them. Racing history fans will enjoy the stories about the horses and their owners, trainers, and jockeys.
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  • An excellent tribute to the ten female Horses of the Year
  • Great history lesson, covers a span of over 120 years of American racing
  • Complete past performances for reference


  • None. This is an excellent work that any racing fan will enjoy


  • Miss Woodford, the only female 2-time Horse of the Year, in 1883 and 1884
  • Imp, 1899 winner, who raced a now-unheard-of 171 times, winning 62 races, 16 stakes events.
  • Beldame, 1904 winner, who dominated her competition in wire-to-wire fashion twelve times that year
  • Regret, 1915 winner, whose Kentucky Derby win helped put that race into the national consciousness
  • Twilight Tear, 1944 winner, the pride of Calumet Farm, who beat males in the Pimlico Special
  • Busher, 1945 winner, defeated older males in the Arlington Handicap as a 3-year-old
  • Moccasin, 1965 winner, the only 2-year-old filly Horse of the Year, off a perfect 8-for-8 season
  • All Along(Fr), 1983 winner, who won the Arc then shipped here to win three Grade 1 stakes over males
  • Lady's Secret, 1986 winner, won both the Whitney and the BC Distaff in gate-to-wire fashion
  • Azeri, 2002 winner off a 8-for-9 year capped off with the BC Distaff by 5 lengths at Arlington Park

Guide Review - Review: Women of the Year

Horse racing is unique among sports, in that it is one of a few where males and females are allowed to compete against each other. And despite their physical disadvantage and gender biases of their connections, female horses have shown success against males in top stakes competition. Obviously it takes an exceptional filly or mare to be voted ahead of top male competition in Horse of the Year balloting, and with this in mind, only ten have earned this highest honor. In "Women of the Year", editor Jacqueline Duke enlisted ten top turfwriters to each tell the story of one of those ten special horses. Accompanying the story are numerous black and white photographs of the horse and the people involved with her career. The reader learns about how her breeders chose the mating which resulted in their champion, how the young filly developed from a foal to a racehorse, and detailed descriptions of key races in the subject horse's career are included. In the appendix, official Daily Racing Form past performances of the ten horses are included for reference. In the book's preface, Ed Bowen writes, "Any female who is regarded as the best racehorse of a particular year is a very special lady. These Women of the Year brought to the racetrack a compelling combination of speed, strength, class, and sass." This book is a very fitting tribute to these truly exceptional racemares, and contemporary fans will enjoy the historical lessons provided by these top-class writers.
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