The 2019 season of racing was among my favorite ones of all time. We played witness to stellar performers, standout performances, historic victories, and also a good measure of controversy. It offered a bit of everything. But 2020 will be even better!
Looking ahead to next season, racing fans will have the opportunity to witness various stars and champions competing for another year, where that may have not been the case in the recent past. The budding trend by owners of keeping our top athletes on the track instead of heading to the breeding shed is the best thing our sport could ask for. And I am thankful for it.
I have highlighted two handfuls of horses that I am excited to watch compete in 2020:
Game Winner — Champion son of Candy Ride did not have the three-year-old season that many expected with just one win from four starts for Baffert. But, the fact that he will remain in training in 2020 is a great sign for a horse with so much ability. The California-based colt is a candidate for all of the major races next year.
Tacitus — Tapit colt kicked off 2019 with two Grade 2 tallies for Bill Mott. The twice classic-placed sophomore seemed poised to become the best in his crop in mid-season, but he found numerous ways to settle for minor awards in five graded outings to conclude his campaign. I am expecting big things from the Juddmonte homebred in 2020.
Code of Honor — McGaughey trainee became a formidable foe as his three-year-old year progressed, capped by wins in the Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). Noble Mission colt picked up four graded wins overall in 2019, and the possible Eclipse Award winner will be a mighty foe on the New York circuit in 2020.
Midnight Bisou — The soon-to-be Eclipse Award recipient will stay in training next season to the delight of many racing fans. Daughter of Midnight Lute amassed seven graded stakes wins in 2019, with her lone setback coming when a fine runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). She is a gem and likely will face the boys on at least one occasion in 2020.
Monomoy Girl — Champion from the barn of Brad Cox missed all of 2019 due to injury but is aiming for a 2020 campaign. The brilliant daughter of Tapizar was a five-time Grade 1 queen in her sophomore season, and I am anxiously awaiting her comeback.
Uni — Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) princess is an elite miler who will be back for more in 2020. Daughter of More Than Ready is seven-for-eight since 2018, and she could have room for improvement being relatively lightly raced over the last two campaigns.
Got Stormy — Recent Matriarch (G1) star picked up a historic win when defeating the boys in the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga. The durable Casse trainee seems to thrive with racing, and her consistent excellence at any venue she shows up at is a joy to watch.
Donna Veloce — Precocious filly was a brave runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in just her second career assignment. Trained by Simon Callaghan, the $800,000 daughter of Uncle Mo could be a superstar with expected progression as a sophomore. And knowing how sporting that owner Kaleem Shah is, we could see her facing off with the boys in 2020.
Dennis’ Moment — Romans pupil is far from a finished product, and that is what makes him so appealing to me. Tiznow colt has endured early trouble in two of his four starts to date, but when he is right, Dennis’ Moment is electric. I expect him to be a force on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Green Light Go — Saratoga Special (G2) winner may have been written off by some when second-best in the Champagne (G1), but I still hold the colt in high regard. Jimmy Jerkens trainee is physically imposing, and he could be any kind of runner when he stretches out in distance. Son of Hard Spun remains a top prospect in my eyes.