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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, then followed that up with another impressive victory in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes.
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 is on an extended break following his return from Dubai, so it’s unclear when we’ll see him next.
3. City of Light – We learned in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita that 10 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. Will he stay in this category or go back to sprinting?
4. Bee Jersey – As of now, it is hard to know whether to put him in this category or in the sprinters division. He and Mind Your Biscuits put on a show in the Grade 1 Met Mile, with Bee Jersey winning by a nose. The win was his fourth straight.
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: Irish War Cry – The recent Grade 3 Pimlico Special Stakes winner will take on Backyard Heaven and others in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Stakes this weekend.
1. Unique Bella – She picked up a dominating win in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile Stakes, which confirmed her spot at the top.
2. Abel Tasman – This Bob Baffert trainee proved that she was back in a big way with an impressive win in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park.
3. Fault – She’s 3-for-3 this year, all against graded stakes company. Based on resume alone, she’s the top filly in the division right now. However, a recent injury suffered while training was serious enough that her connections are now debating whether to retire her.
4. Martini Glass – She’s tackled some big races lately, including a decent third-place effort in her last start (the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes) despite being up against a track bias. This is one to watch as we move on throughout the year.
5. Salty – The hard knocker finally broke through with a win in the La Troienne after making a closing move along the rail. This could be the start of a big year for her.
Sleeper: Selcourt – She has become one of the top female sprinters in the country as we head into the summer.
1. Justify – The Triple Crown winner has this division on complete lockdown and will undoubtedly be the 2018 Horse of the Year as well. Hopefully, we will see him in the summer at Saratoga or Del Mar.
2. Good Magic – He showed that he is a world-class animal after taking 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.
4. Hofburg – His consistency over the last few months earned him this spot heading into the summer. He should be one to show solid progression and likely has a big race with his name on it.
5. Gronkowski – Was his Belmont Stakes run a fluke, or is this horse for real? We will find out as he makes more starts in the United States, but his Belmont runner-up effort was a very good start.
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 – This division is now on lockdown after she picked up her third straight Grade 1 victory in the Acorn Stakes. The Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks will be next.
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. 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.
4. 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.
5. Wonder Gadot – She has made a living out of finishing second. Will she ever win a race this year?
Sleeper: Road to Victory – This is the only horse to ever defeat Monomoy Girl. She finally made her 2018 debut at Woodbine last weekend and won the $100,000 Alywow Stakes.
1. Mind Your Biscuits – After a tough-luck runner-up finish in the Met Mile, he is still number one on this list. However, there are talks of stretching him out for the summer races, which would mean that he will be moving into a different division.
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. Imperial Hint – He is BACK after a sensational performance in the Grade 2 True North Stakes at Belmont Park. It’s now obvious that the slop got the best of him at Churchill Downs two races back.
4. 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, which Navarro has said will be the Grade 3 Smile Sprint Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
5. Limousine Liberal – After winning at Churchill Downs last time out, he took his show on the road with a solid third-place effort in the Met Mile.
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.
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