Victory in the G1 Cigar Mile did more than add a third victory at the premier level this year to the resume of the 4-year-old Posse colt Kodiak Kowboy. It put him directly in the spotlight as a contender for the Eclipse Award as leading older horse.
Previously, Kodiak Kowboy had to be considered primarily as a high-class sprinter, but his victory in the Cigar Mile came over Metropolitan Handicap winner Bribon, the high-class 3-year-old Vineyard Haven, and G1 winner Pyro. Nice going.
The Cigar score also foregrounds the consistent colt’s form, which has maintained a high level throughout the year, something a couple of his notable competitors for the award have not managed.
And who else would rise to the top of this group? Einstein is an admirable and courageous racehorse who seems to have lost a step or two since last spring. Likewise, the form of Well Armed crashed after his Dubai World Cup victory. Macho Again, Bullsbay, and Rail Trip have shown very good form on their day but have not progressed when called on through the fall.
I had not really considered Kodiak Kowboy for best older horse till today’s result. Part of the reason surely is that the “older horse” category typically goes to a racer who has campaigned at nine to 12 furlongs, but the stronger segment of older horses this year seems to be the sprinter-milers, and off his showings in the Carter, Vosburgh, and Cigar Mile, Kodiak Kowboy is the best of them.