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It’s that time of the year again! Each week for the rest of the year we will be ranking the best thoroughbred horses in America based on their divisions. All but one division (see directly below) is wide open which should give us an exciting second half of the year!
1. Arrogate – THE GOAT
2. Gun Runner – He’s come back extremely strong this year, winning the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap before running second to Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup.
3. Shaman Ghost – His Santa Anita Handicap and Pimlico Special wins were great this year, but perhaps the best accomplishment was finishing second in the Pegasus World Cup to Arrogate.
4. Cupid – I admit that his Gold Cup at Santa Anita win shocked me. He was awesome in that race and will be very successful in this division if he keeps up that type of effort.
5. Connect – His fantastic 2017 debut has him set up for the Met Mile on Belmont Stakes weekend, where he might be the favorite.
Sleeper: Mor Spirit – He’s quietly winning races while flying under the radar. It looks like the Met Mile will be next for him, and if he wins there, he won’t be under the radar anymore.
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1. Songbird – She starts the year ranked number one based on her talent level, but this division is loaded with challengers. She’s scheduled to make her 2017 debut next week at Belmont Park.
2. Stellar Wind – Her 2017 debut was solid in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park. She’ll try to make it two in a row in the Beholder Mile this weekend.
3. Vale Dori – She’s riding a SIX-race winning streak into this weekend’s Beholder Mile, including a perfect 4-for-4 this year. She’ll get the acid test, though, as she’ll have to beat Stellar Wind, something she failed to do in 2016.
4. Finest City – This consistent filly is a solid sprinter, but she can also route. She’s pointing towards the Beholder Mile this weekend, along with Vale Dori and Stellar Wind.
5. Terra Promessa – She’s been running fantastic this year and recently proved that she can win outside of Oaklawn Park. She may be a small cut below the top two or three, but she has quality.
Sleeper: Forever Unbridled – She’s getting closer to making her 2017 debut and should not be forgotten. At her best, she’s really tough.
1. Always Dreaming – He’s the only horse in the division to have two Grade 1 wins, including the Kentucky Derby, the division’s biggest race of the year.
2. Cloud Computing – Both he and Classic Empire have one win this year, and Cloud Computing has the bigger of the two, when he beat Classic Empire head-to-head in the Preakness.
3. Classic Empire – He’s in a position to overtake the top spot with a big win, but until he does it, I have to rank him third. Talent-wise, he might be the best in this division.
4. Lookin At Lee – Mr. Consistent hasn’t won a race all year but is always around at the end, including a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
5. Irish War Cry – Extremely inconsistent, but with two big-time wins this year (the Holy Bull and the Wood), he has to bounce back from his poor Kentucky Derby effort.
Sleeper: Timeline – I really wish that he’d run in the Belmont Stakes. This good-looking up-and-comer stomped them in the Peter Pan.
1. Abel Tasman – The Kentucky Oaks winner deserves the top spot – for now. She still has a lot of proving to do, but everyone shoots for the Kentucky Oaks, and she got the win.
2. Unique Bella – She’s easily number one on talent, but we must respect Abel Tasman for winning the Kentucky Oaks. If Unique Bella comes back and wins big races (like Songbird last year), she’ll easily overtake the top spot.
3. La Coronel – Her big-time performance at Churchill Downs last time out has her set for a trip overseas to Royal Ascot, where she’ll try to do what Tepin did last year and win at that prestigious meet.
4. Paradise Woods – Her Kentucky Oaks effort was a total joke when she got into a heated speed duel with Miss Sky Warrior. She hasn’t accomplished enough to rank her too high yet, but she has the potential to bounce back and move up the rankings quickly.
5. Miss Sky Warrior – Much like Paradise Woods, throw out the joke that was her Kentucky Oaks.
Sleeper: Lady Aurelia – She looks to be in great form heading to Royal Ascot. It’s always fun to see our horses run at that elite overseas meet.
1. Drefong – He’s number one in the rankings for now, but his long absence is troublesome. Mind Your Biscuits and Whitmore are poised to take over if he doesn’t come back soon.
2. Mind Your Biscuits – What a dramatic run to win the Golden Shaheen at Meydan. He can overtake the top spot with a win over Drefong.
3. Whitmore – Without a doubt, he’s become a top-class sprinter. He now has to win a Grade 1 and prove that he can beat the top two horses in the division. Seeing him try to take them down will be fun.
4. Sharp Azteca – He would have won the Godolphin Mile in Dubai with a better ride but proved he’s in great form in both that and his debut race at Gulfstream Park.
5. A.P. Indian – Though he’s had a couple of tough losses to start the year, you can tell that he’s rounding back into form. Unfortunately, the division is loaded, and he might be a cut below.
Sleeper: Unified – It’s easy to forget about him after his recent effort, but he did beat Mind Your Biscuits two races back. He’s pointing to the Met Mile next week.
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