Welcome to the 2018 Divisional Rankings! Each week for the rest of the year, we will rank the best thoroughbred horses in America based on their divisions. Let’s take a look at the latest rankings:
1. Accelerate – He impressively won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, and then followed that win up with another impressive victory in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita.
2. West Coast – Gun Runner disposed of him in the Grade 1 Pegasus Stakes, and then Thunder Snow got the best of him in Dubai. Still, he’s a prime older male contender, and at this point, he’s first on most people’s lists. However, he will get an extended break so it is unclear when we will see him next.
3. City of Light – We learned in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita that ten furlongs might not be what he wants to do. He ran well to finish third in that race, but did not display his usual zip down the stretch.
4. Army Mule – Trainer Todd Pletcher might have a monster on his hands with this undefeated colt. He dominated the Grade 1 Carter Handicap like a horse that has a massive future. It’s hard to believe that it was only his third lifetime start, but he is not a sound horse. He will miss his next targeted start in the Grade 1 Met Mile.
5. Backyard Heaven – Trainer Chad Brown has developed him slowly, a move that paid off with a win in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day. He beat a few solid horses in that race, but the waters will get deeper from here on out.
Sleeper: Hi Happy – He could be the best turf horse in the country after a powerful win in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes.
1. Unique Bella – This division is in flux right now, so it’s hard to know what to do with any of these horses. Unique Bella gets a pass for her runner-up Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn, but she has to improve next time out.
2. Abel Tasman – This is another filly that gets a pass for a poor 2018 race after she struggled in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes to finish fourth. She’s way better than that, but she must rebound in a hurry.
3. Fault – She’s 3-for-3 this year, all against graded stakes company. The competition is going to get tougher, but based on resume alone, she’s the top filly in the division right now.
4. American Gal – You must respect this filly after her Grade 1 Humana Distaff Stakes win on Kentucky Derby Day. She could become one of the top sprinters in the country.
5. Martini Glass – She’s tackled some big races lately, including a decent third-place effort in her last start (the La Troienne) despite being up against a track bias. This is one to watch as we move on throughout the year.
Sleeper: Salty – The hard knocker finally broke through with a win in the La Troienne after she made a closing move along the rail. This could be the start of a big year for her.
1. Justify – Two down, one to go. In the Kentucky Derby, he showed immense talent, and in the Preakness, he showed the heart of a champion. He will head to Belmont with a big chance to become the 13th Triple Crown winner.
2. Good Magic – He showed that he is a world-class animal as he took it to Justify all the way around the track in the Preakness. This horse will get a much-deserved break now, but he will be back for a solid summer campaign.
3. Audible – After solid victories in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes and the Grade 1 Florida Derby, he backed things up with a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. It looks as though he’ll point for the Belmont Stakes now, where he could be tough to beat.
4. Bolt d’Oro – The Kentucky Derby was terribly disappointing for him, but he’s proven that he’s a better horse than that. It looks like he will head to the Grade 1 Met Mile for his next start, which is a bit insane, but hopefully he runs well in that spot.
5. Magnum Moon – He’s another that had a disastrous Kentucky Derby, but that was the first loss of his career. He’ll bounce back from that and will likely have a solid summer campaign.
Sleeper: McKinzie – This may end up being the second-best horse in the crop. A minor injury caused him to miss the Kentucky Derby, but he’s already back training and is going to be tough to beat this summer.
1. Monomoy Girl – She proved that she was much the best with a win in the Kentucky Oaks despite drawing the 14 hole. With that win, she now has a huge lead over her rivals in this division. She was back on the workout tab last week as she prepares for the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes.
2. Midnight Bisou – The Kentucky Oaks didn’t set up well for her, but she still finished well to run third. She now moves to the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen in order to target a summer campaign in New York.
3. Wonder Gadot – She runs well in every single race but just can’t get up for a win. Her Kentucky Oaks race was fantastic, and at one point, she had the lead in mid-stretch before Monomoy Girl re-rallied for the victory.
4. Dream Tree – An injury forced her to miss the Kentucky Oaks, but she could come back strong with a summer campaign. She was a top contender before the injury.
5. Mia Mischief – She looks like the top 3-year-old sprinter in the country after a dominating win in the Grade 2 Eight Belles Stakes.
Sleeper: Caledonia Road – The 2-year-old champ returned in a small allowance race at Belmont Park and looked awfully good. She’s poised to return to stakes company next.
1. Mind Your Biscuits – When it comes to winning races in Dubai, nobody’s better than this horse. Let’s see if he can hold his form a bit longer this year and stay ranked number one throughout the entire season.
2. Roy H – He deserves a free pass in Dubai because it was his first bad race in a long time. The defending Breeders’ Cup champ should come back ready to roll once he’s ready for his next start in the United States.
3. X Y Jet – This Jorge Navarro-trained horse was all heart in Dubai but was narrowly defeated by Mind Your Biscuits in the end. He’ll be dangerous when he’s ready to run again.
4. Bobby Abu Dhabi – He’s been solid in both of his 2018 starts, finishing second to City of Light before winning the Grade 2 Kona Gold Stakes.
5. Imperial Hint – Draw a line through his last race because the track was not to his liking. He’ll come back strong in his next start.
Sleeper: Mitole – This is the best 3-year-old sprinter in the country. His last two races can compete with almost anyone, regardless of age.