Stars of Yesterday: Looking Back at Best Arkansas Derby Winners
The votes have all been counted and the results are in for the third-annual America’s Best Racing’s Fan Choice Awards! The 2021 voting period saw 10 hotly-contest categories ranging from your favorite bet to favorite food to this year’s favorite rider. Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2021 Fan Choice Awards as selected by you, the fans.
2022 Fan Choice Award winners:
Favorite All-Time Filly or Mare
In a category featuring beloved fillies like Ruffian and Rachel Alexandra, a close race was anticipated for Favorite All-Time Filly or Mare. Unlike many of her most memorable races when she closed from far back to prevail in a thrilling finish, Zenyatta turned the contest into a runaway. She more than doubled the votes of her closest competitor to add yet another honor to her already impressive Hall of Fame resume.
In perhaps a minor upset, the exacta bet nipped the win bet and multi-race wagers at the wire to take home the hardware for Favorite Bet from Fan Choice Awards voters. Now, we just need to find out where we send the trophy … we’re still waiting to hear back from the winner.
Favorite TV Personality
Britney Eurton, NBC Sports and TVG
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens earned a reputation as a fantastic finisher as a jockey, but in the race for Favorite TV Personality it was the talented Britney Eurton who prevailed in a close finish with Stevens. The NBC Sports and TVG analyst is exceptionally talented and one of the best in the biz. Now a two-time Fan Choice Awards winner (2019, Best Racing Analyst), Eurton always seems to make her guests at ease during interviews and provides great insight and analysis.
Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets
This year’s Belmont Stakes featured a terrific stretch duel between champion Essential Quality and pacesetter Hot Rod Charlie, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve third-place finisher. Essential Quality proved best by 1 ¼ lengths in a thrilling and memorable edition of the “Test of the Champion,” which easily outkicked the Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf to win the Favorite Race category.
A talented and respected rider who set a new career-best in purse earnings in 2021 with more than $32.9 million, Joel Rosario finished more than 350 votes ahead of his nearest contender in the race for Favorite Jockey. Rosario enjoyed a banner season that included wins in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Knicks Go and the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Echo Zulu.
Favorite Podcast or Radio Show
In the Money Players’ Podcast, Hosted by Peter Fornatale and Jonathon Kinchen
Favorite Podcast or Radio Show was one of four categories along with Favorite TV Personality, Favorite Small-Mid Circuit Racetrack, and Favorite Racetrack Food in which the fans selected the six finalists. But once the real voting began the In the Money Players’ Podcast with Peter Fornatale and Jonathon Kinchen set an uncontested pace and coasted to a comfortable victory over a talented field of finalists.
Favorite Race Call
Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, called by Travis Stone
What more could a racecaller hope for than four horses across the track each with a great chance to win in the biggest race on the biggest day of the year? That was how the 2021 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve played out and an exciting finish was perfectly captured by Churchill Downs announcer Travis Stone, the 2021 winner for Favorite Race Call.
Favorite Small- to Mid-Circuit Racetrack
Tampa Bay Downs
The Tampa racetrack has long been a favorite track for horse players with terrific turf and dirt racing combined with a fantastic atmosphere and plenty of good eats. Favorite Small- to Mid-Circuit Racetrack was another category in which the finalists were chosen by the fans and Tampa Bay Downs shined, yet again, by finishing well ahead of runner-up Delaware Park.
Favorite Racetrack Food
Crab Cakes — Pimlico Race Course
Hattie’s Chicken won the inaugural Fan Choice Award for Best Racetrack Food in 2019 but the crab cakes at Pimlico got the better of a familiar rival in the 2021 rematch, winning by a narrow margin in what was a very close race from start to finish. Nobody does crab cakes better than Maryland, and in 2021 Pimlico’s crab cakes took home top prize as 2021 Fan Choice Awards winner for Favorite Racetrack Food. OK, now we’re getting hungry!
Favorite OTTB in Equine-Assisted Therapy
Fahey, 2021 Thoroughbred of the Year, New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding Foundation
In the closest race in the history of the Fan Choice Awards, 2021 Thoroughbred of the Year Fahey of the New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding Foundation edged 2020 Thoroughbred of the Year Sir Gus by three votes to win the award for Favorite OTTB in Equine-Assisted Therapy. The good news for all of the finalists is that when our OTTBs thrive, we all win. Congrats to Fahey and all of the 2021 Fan Choice Awards winners!