The candidates for most impressive performance against male competitors in 2008 are:
1. Eight Belles, in G1 Kentucky Derby, Churchill—May 3
Okay, so this group of 3-year-old males turned out to be sub-par and even Derby winner Big Brown petered off after his Preakness victory. Still, Eight Belles was far the best of the rest, and one can only dream of what could have been with her.
2. Zarkava, in G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp—October 5
Perhaps the truest test of champions, and Zarkava passed with flying colors, having fallen back to last early on, and then putting on the single most impressive closing move anywhere this year, perhaps this century thus far. Magnificent! (Sorry, English versions of video have been removed from YouTube)
3. Samantha Miss, in G1 Cox Plate, Moonee Valley—October 25
Three-year-old Samantha Miss was five-wide around the final turn, but less than a length back in third at the end—an incredible performance of a young filly against far older male horses over 10 furlongs. Her victory over champion colt Sebring in the G1 Champagne Stakes was another worthy candidate in this category.
4. Goldikova, in G1 BC Turf Mile, Santa Anita—October 25
Goldikova accelerated between foes in deep stretch, and Kip Deville—who is no slouch—was no match for her. Chalk another one up for the girls.
Alright, so who's tops in your book?