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Welcome to the 2021 Divisional Rankings! Each week, we rank the best thoroughbred horses in America based on their divisions and with an eye on the 2021 Breeders’ Cup. Let’s take a look at the rankings, including my latest vote in the NTRA Top 10 Poll.
Here are my overall rankings as seen in the latest NTRA Top 10 Poll this week. The poll ranks the top thoroughbred horses based on if Horse of the Year voting was conducted at this very moment. Here’s what my latest Top 10 poll looked like:
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1. Knicks Go – He’ll be the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) favorite after another impressive win in the Lukas Classic Stakes (G3).
2. Max Player – We have to take him seriously now after 2 straight big stakes victories, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in his last start. Is he the most likely Classic upsetter?
3. Art Collector – He’s now won 3 straight, including the Woodward Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in his last start.
4. Maxfield – He finished second in back-to-back Grade 1 races, but he wasn’t a threat to win either of them.
5. Domestic Spending – A lack of pace really hurt him in his recent loss at Arlington Park in the Mister D. Stakes (G1).
Sleeper: Silver State – He lost at Parx, which is never good, but he still showed up with his normal strong effort.
1. Letruska – No matter what happens at the Breeders’ Cup, this is your Older Female of the Year.
2. Gamine – They’ll be hard-pressed to beat her in sprint races. She was dominant once again in the Ballerina Stakes (G1).
3. Monomoy Girl – She retired after suffering a minor injury during training.
4. Shedaresthedevil – She picked up another win at Churchill Downs; however, she still looks to be a small cut below the top horse in this division.
5. Royal Flag – She’s developing into a pretty solid female runner; however, she is a cut below the top few in her division, but picked up a big win last time out at Belmont Park.
Sleeper: Sconsin – She might be the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1)‘s biggest challenger to Gamine.
2021 Breeders’ Cup
1. Essential Quality – This horse just knows how to get the job done. He won his third straight with another great performance in the Travers Stakes (G1). The Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) will be his final start before heading off to stud dooty.
2. Jackie’s Warrior – Wow, this might be the best 3-year-old sprinter we’ve seen since Runhappy.
3. Medina Spirit – A big win against older horses in the Awesome Again (G1) puts him in the mix for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
4. Hot Rod Charlie – This horse has shown that he’s truly elite. With any luck throughout the year, he’d be nipping at the heels of Essential Quality heading into the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
5. Life Is Good – The talent this guy has is second to none. He’ll be heavily singled in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Sleeper: Midnight Bourbon – He danced every dance this year and showed up every time. He might be a monster at age 4.
1. Malathaat – She returned to the winner’s circle in a big way, taking home the Alabama Stakes (G1) in stylish fashion.
2. Bella Sofia – She’s quickly turned into one of the best 3-year-old fillies in the country. Can she upset Gamine at the Breeders’ Cup?
3. Clairiere – She finally got her moment in the sun, winning the Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx.
4. Private Mission – An impressive victory in the Zenyatta Stakes (G2) has her as a major player entering the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
5. Search Results – Her Test Stakes (G1) performance was just average and she’s now off for the rest of the year.
Sleeper: Army Wife – This filly has run consistently well all season long, showing up with strong efforts in many big stakes events.
1. Jackie’s Warrior – He’ll be the one they all have to catch in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
2. Life Is Good – He’ll probably go to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), but he’s also an elite sprinter. It’s possible this is the most talented horse in the country.
3. Dr. Schivel – He remained undefeated after an ultra-impressive victory in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2).
4. Yaupon – Sadly, he was hurt in a workout at Santa Anita and retired.
5. Ginobili – He’s on the scene after an impressive win in the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar. He seems to love that track, a big deal considering the Breeders’ Cup will be held there this season.
Sleeper: Flagstaff – He shows up and runs well no matter where he’s entered.
1. Corniche – He made it 2 for 2 with a sharp performance in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1).
2. Jack Christopher – This guy just keeps looking better after a sharp performance in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
3. Annapolis – He might be the one American who can beat the European shippers at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) after an impressive win in the Pilgrim Stakes (G2).
4. Gunite – He didn’t run well in the Champagne Stakes (G1), but he’s still a Grade 1 winner.
5. Pinehurst – He exits Del Mar a perfect 2 for 2 after a nice win in the Del Mar Futurity (G1).
Sleeper: Major General – A solid win in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) has this horse on the radar heading into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
1. Echo Zulu – Right now, she seem to be head and shoulders better than the rest of this division.
2. Juju’s Map – Her Alcibiades Stakes (G1) victory at Keeneland puts her in the mix in a major way heading into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
3. Ain’t Easy – She’ll have a big shot at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) if she can repeat her recent dominating Chandelier Stakes (G1) effort.
4. Hidden Connection – Her ultra-impressive Pocahontas Stakes (G3) victory makes her 2 for 2 heading into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
5. Wicked Halo – Asmussen has so many good 2-year-olds this year, including this winner of the Adirondack Stakes (G3).
Sleeper: Grace Adler – She didn’t run well in the Chandelier Stakes (G1), but she’s still a Grade 1 winner.
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