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Owner: Came Home win can’t be Eclipsed

Oct 22, 2002 4:49 AM

Came Home will be Horse of the Year if he captures the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday.

That’s the firm opinion of John Toffan, part owner of the son of Gone West.

"I don’t think there’s any doubt about it," Toffan said. "If he wins that race, he’s going to be Horse of the Year. Who in the hell could you vote for (if he wins)? There’s nobody else. If he wins the Classic, he’s the Horse of the Year. I don’t think it’s going to be any contest."

Almost from the start of his 3-year-old campaign, the knock on Came Home from the majority of the media was that he didn’t have the bloodlines or the talent to win at a mile and a quarter. But he did just that in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 25, and he whipped Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem and older horses in the process.

But the negative barrage continued. Del Mar’s short homestretch favored Came Home, his critics wailed.

"It’s not a matter of getting respect," Toffan said. "The media got hung up on him not being able to win at a mile and a quarter. They started something and then they had to write about it. They’re still doing it. The Kentucky Derby wasn’t his race, but the writers said he couldn’t win at that distance, so they had to support what they said, hoping he was going to screw up somewhere down the line. Then they could say, ”˜I told you so.’"

Toffan said Came Home, a winner of nine of 11 starts and earnings of $1,835,940, was all the rage with prospective breeders at the recent Kentucky sales.

"They were only talking about one horse, and that was Came Home," Toffan said. "Of the new stallions, he’s the horse everyone wants to breed to. Any horse that wins nine of 11 and eight graded stakes, and has speed . . . I mean, who would you want to breed to?"