Mandella is still saying that Kotashaan deserves to be horse of the year. The electorate--about 275 voters from the Daily Racing Form, the National Turf Writers Assn. and tracks that belong to the Thoroughbred Racing Assns.--can look at the Japan Cup in a number of ways:
--As a throw-out race for Kotashaan because of Desormeaux's boner.
--As a plus for Kotashaan, who traveled all the way to Japan and did the next-best thing to winning the race.
--As a race that diminishes Kotashaan's Breeders' Cup achievement and prompts the vote for Lure, who spread his six victories over six tracks.
--As a race that was meaningless even before it was run, on the theory that a race in Japan shouldn't help determine a championship in North America.
The envelope with the horse-of-the-year result will be opened in New Orleans the night of Feb. 4. It will be worth waiting up for.
Horse Racing Notes
It's likely that Star of Cozzene will run next year. After a poor start, the colt finished fifth, beaten by less than three lengths, in the Japan Cup, and for the year had six victories and four seconds in 12 races. . . . Richard Mandella continues to lobby for another year of racing for Kotashaan. . . . Now Listen, scheduled to run in the Hong Kong Bowl on Dec. 12, cracked a cannon bone Wednesday at Hollywood Park and his career is probably finished.