Looking back on this past year, one thing is for certain; 2014 didn't lack big and memorable moments in the world of horse racing! From the race to the Triple Crown, the Breeders' Cup Challenge, the World Championships themselves, and all the races in between, horse racing fans received ample awe-inspiring moments on the track this year.
With that being said, the New Year already holds promise for some epic moments. BUT, before we can move forward, we must look back. So without further ado, I'm going to flashback and highlight my top five favorite horse racing moments from 2014!
1. The Photo Finish for $5 Million
The final moment that cannot be forgotten from 2014, was the photo finish in the $5 million awarded Breeders' Cup Classic. In a field that pitted Shared Belief, California Chrome and Tonalist together as top contenders, Bayern showed them all up!
Chrome, Shared Belief, Toast of New York, and Bayern couldn't separate on the homestretch and it was a battle to the finish. Shared Belief was knocked out when Bayern veered sideways, but it was a photo finish between California Chrome, Toast of New York and Bayern. In the photo review, it was declared the hefty purse and Breeders' Cup Classic Champion honor went to the deserving Bayern by a nose.
2. The Champion Who Surpassed All Odds
There's something to be said for a race horse who can undergo health issues, bounce back and still finish on top... especially in their older years. When two-time Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, developed colic via a potentially fatal twist in his gut, the world of horse racing was doubtful this champion could ever return to the top, if he even was able to return to the track at all.
Two months after his surgery, Wise Dan was out of the gate and finishing in the Winner's Circle at Saratoga after winning the Bernard Baruch!
3. Sometimes Those Who Finish Second Finish First
Now, not every best moment in horse racing has to come from a win. In this case, it's a repeated second place finisher who has caught my eye. Eight-year-old British race horse, Red Cadeaux, quite possibly has topped the list of amazing accomplishments.
For the second year in a row, third time in history, this colt has shipped to Australia for the two mile long Melbourne Cup and has finished second in a field 20 thoroughbreds. How does that even happen?
4. Running with the Boys
A topic horse racing fans, trainers, owners, and jockeys alike love to talk about is a dominating filly in a field of colts. Fillies such as Zendaya and Rachel Alexandra are common topics of discussion here, but this time I'm talking about Woodbine's Lexie Lou.
This Ontario bred three-year-old crushed the field in the Woodbine Oaks and left jaws on the floor with her victory in the Queen's Plate. Lexie Lou even proved to be a challenging contestant on turf when she finished second to California Chrome in the Hollywood Derby.
5. The Underdog that Surprised Them All
Where do we even begin with 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Champion, California Chrome? Taking the mantra "good horses can come from anywhere" to a whole new level, this California desert bred colt owned by two first-timers changed the game last year.
Defying all odds and his blue-collar roots, Chrome captured the heart of anyone who dares to dream in horse racing. He entered the Road to the Derby, earning enough to grant him a spot in the field in the Run for the Roses.
After tasting sweet victory after the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, California Chrome lovers appeared all over the nation and everyone watched that fateful day in Belmont when this chesnut colt ran for Triple Crown glory.
Although he fell short, his 3-year-old year is ending as a masterpiece as he went on to win the Hollywood Derby, had an impeccable performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic and is up for the "Horse of the Year" honor.
Don't Miss What's Sure to be an Epic Weekend in 2015 Horse Racing: the Kentucky Derby!
The past year has had some unbelievable moments in horse racing, but with new three-year-olds coming through the ranks, there is one thing for certain. The 2015 Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown Series will be one for the record books!
With Official Ticket Packages to the 141st Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, you can have an unparalleled experience at Churchill Downs for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Official Packages include access to an exclusive in-track hospitality venue throughout the race weekend where you'll complimentary gourmet fare, open beer, wine and soft drinks, celebrity jockey meet-and-greets, and much more!
Transportation to and from Churchill each day and luxurious hotel accommodations can also be included so there is no need for you to plan additional arrangements. You can simply make the trip to Louisville and enjoy.
Just as 2015 rolled in rapidly, May will be here before you know it! Get more information on how you can attend the 141st running of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby to see horse racing history made by calling 1-888-384-7088 to speak to a representative or visit Derby Experiences' website.
Don't miss the 2015 "Run for the Roses!"