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Each week for the rest of the year, we will rank the best thoroughbred horses in America based on their divisions. Last week, we saw a major performance from Stellar Wind, as well as several exciting turf stakes! What impact did those have on our rankings this week?
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 – Tough break for this horse, who will miss the Met Mile because of a minor injury. We’ll know more about his long-term prognosis soon.
Sleeper: Mor Spirit – He’s quietly winning races while flying under the radar. With the defection of Connect in the Met Mile, Mor Spirit could be the favorite in that race.
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1. Stellar Wind – She’s earned the number one spot for now after her second Grade 1 win of the season. However, Songbird looms large and debuts this weekend in the Grade 1 Odgen Phipps at Belmont.
2. Songbird – Her 2017 debut is this week in the Ogden Phipps! We’ll find out how she developed during her time off.
3. Vale Dori – She was valiant in defeat in the Beholder Mile, only losing to Stellar Wind by a head. This quality filly has closed the gap on the division’s elite.
4. Finest City – She was never within range of Vale Dori or Stellar Wind in the Beholder Mile, but she’s still a quality filly. She needs to only go one turn from now on.
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 this week in the Belmont Stakes, 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. He gives it one more shot in the Belmont Stakes this weekend.
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. Maybe he can pick up a big win in the Belmont Stakes this weekend.
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. He’s possible for the Grade 2 True North this weekend at Belmont Park.
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. He points for the Met Mile this weekend at Belmont 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. He gets another shot this weekend in the True North at Belmont Park.
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 this weekend.
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