Ten Year Challenge: Horse Racing Edition

By Evie

The Ten Year Challenge has recently gone viral on the internet this week, so we thought we’d put our own spin on this internet trend. Incase you’ve been living under a rock this week, we’ll break it down for you. The Ten Year Challenge consists of taking a look back in time, to see what was happening a decade ago, and comparing it to the current time. Of course, we can’t compare the two years quite yet, only being a month into 2019, however we thought we’d still take a look back, and see what was happening in racing a decade ago.

In March, the Kauto Star/ Denman duo finished 1-2 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Kauto Star becoming the first horse to ever regain the Gold Cup, having previously won it in 2007 and losing in 2008 seven lengths behind Denman, truly cementing his name into the history books. Also in this year, Kauto won his fourth King George in a row, and would only go on to win the race once more, in 2011.

Early the next month came the Grand National, one of the biggest events in the racing calendar. 40 horses took to the starting line to race over the 30 obstacles, but only one horse came out on top, and that horse was the French-Bred AQPS Mon Mome. Having been sent off at off of 100/1, he became the largest price winner of the race since the infamous Foinavon won this race back in 1967. It was his second run in the race, having finished tenth in the race the year before, and his win came exactly a century after the last time a French-Bred horse had won the race.

And so the 08/09 National Hunt Season came to a close, which meant it was just the beginning of the 2009 flat season, and it kicked off with a bang. The first Group One of the flat season, the 2,000 Guineas, was sure to be a good one, with the champion two year old, Mastercraftsman, lining up to tackle his first race as a three year, alongside a whole host of talented colts. Sea The Stars would end up winning this race, and followed up by winning the Epsom Derby a month later. His win in the 2,000 Guineas kickstarted a career, which many regard as one of the best careers of all time.

Whilst we were fawning over the greatness of Sea The Stars, across the pond many Americans were shocked by the result of their first classic, and the first race in the infamous Triple Crown series. Fresian Fire went off as the favourite for the Kentucky Derby, after winning three highly regarded Graded stakes races, including the Lousiana Derby. However, Fresian Fire would end up coming home in second, being beaten by Mine That Bird, who become only ninth gelding to have ever have won this race. He won at odds of 50/1, but couldn’t manage to back up this brilliant win with a victory in either of the next two classics.

In 2009, fillies won many of the most highly regarded races in the American racing calendar, and the Preakness Stakes was no exception. The great Rachel Alexandra beat the Kentucky Derby winner into second in the Preakness Stakes back in 2009, and followed up this win with victories in the Haskell Stakes and the Woodward Stakes, both of which were relatively new territory for fillies, and still are rarely raced in by fillies even a decade later.

The Breeder’s Cup often marks the massive finale at the end of the flat season, with many extremely talented racehorses coming together to truly see who is the best of the best, and the 2009 Breeder’s Cup festival was no exception to this.

In this year, Goldikova won her 2nd of three Breeder’s Cup Turf Miles, whilst later that night Zenyatta’s late challenge on the dirt in the Classic meant she became the first, and still the only, filly to have ever won the Breeder’s Cup Classic, and forever writing her name into the history books as one of the greatest of all time, all whilst maintaining her unrivalled unbeaten streak.

All in all, 2009 may be one of the greatest flat seasons in modern history, with seeing such greats like Zenyatta, Sea The Stars and Rachel Alexandra grace racetracks across the world, so we can only hope that ten years later, we can see talent like theirs once again, a decade later.

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