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Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings 7/14/21: Saratoga and Del Mar Return
Essential Quality (Credit: NYRA / Chelsea Durand)

Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings 7/14/21: Saratoga and Del Mar Return

Welcome to the 2021 Divisional Rankings! Each week, we rank the best thoroughbred horses in America based on their divisions. Let’s take a look at the rankings, including my latest vote in the NTRA Top 10 Poll:

Overall Rankings

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:

  1. Domestic Spending 
  2. Silver State
  3. Letruksa
  4. Essential Quality
  5. Maxfield
  6. Mystic Guide
  7. Knicks Go
  8. Country Grammer
  9. Max Player
  10. C Z Rocket 

Older Males

1. Domestic Spending – There is no doubt he’s the best turf horse we have on this side of the pond. He should be ultra-tough to beat leading up to the Breeders’ Cup.

2. Silver State – All he does is win! His Met Mile (G1) triumph was his sixth straight victory.

3. Maxfield – You know this division is tough when Maxfield is ranked third. He looked great in the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2).

4. Mystic Guide – He stubbed his toe in the Suburban Handicap (G2); however, he’s still very much in play in this division.

5. Knicks Go – He’s back in a big way after a blowout win in the Cornhusker Handicap (G3). If he can repeat that effort against tougher, then he’ll be right back up to #1 in the division.

Sleeper: Country Grammer – He ran 2 straight solid races under Bob Baffert and is now back east with Todd Pletcher for the New York summer season.

Older Females

1. Letruska – Wow, she was fantastic once again in her Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2) romp. She is clearly the top horse in this division.

2. Monomoy Girl – She lost nothing in defeat; however, she is currently at the farm with some muscle soreness. When will she be back?

3. Swiss Skydiver – When will we see her next after she scratched from the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1)?

4. Shedaresthedevil – Her effort in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) left a lot to be desired.

5. Kimari – This filly is tough to beat when sprinting on dirt.

Sleeper: Valiance – The 2020 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) runner-up finisher should be ready for a big 2021 once she returns to the track.

3-Year-Old Males

1. Essential Quality – Wow, he turned a lot of heads winning the Belmont Stakes (G1) with a career-high 109 Beyer Speed Figure.

2. Hot Rod Charlie – He ran way too good to lose the Belmont Stakes (G1). Look for him to have a big second half of the year, starting with the Haskell Stakes (G1) this weekend.

3. Mandaloun – The expected eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner returned to take the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. We’ll see him in the Haskell Stakes (G1) this weekend.

4. Rombauer – The Preakness Stakes (G1) winner backed up that big effort with a solid third in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

5. Midnight Bourbon – He always shows up with a big effort, no matter who he faces. The Haskell Stakes (G1) is next.

Sleeper: Known Agenda – He’s a cut below the top horses, but he showed some ability earlier in the year.

3-Year-Old Females

1. Malathaat – The undefeated Kentucky Oaks (G1) champ is the clear division leader heading into the summer months of racing.

2. Search Results – Her Acorn Stakes (G1) victory was very impressive. Can she turn the tables on Malathaat?

3. Will’s Secret – She’s had a great season, winning 2 stakes and finishing a solid third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

4. Obligatory – Her runner-up Acorn Stakes (G1) performance proved her last win was no fluke.

5. Zaajel – She showed new life with her very impressive Mother Goose Stakes (G2) win at Belmont Park.

Sleeper: Clairiere – This filly is a consistent board-hitter who hasn’t had much luck finding the winner’s circle.


1. C Z Rocket – We’ll leave him #1 as his loss in the Sexton Mile (G3) was not at a sprint distance.

2. Mischevious Alex – We’ll give him a pass in the Met Mile (G1). He didn’t get a great trip, plus he might be better going a bit shorter.

3. Firenze Fire – We’ll give him a slight pass after losing his first of the year in the John Nerud Stakes (G2).

4. Flagstaff – He ran well once again in the True North Stakes (G2), finishing second to Firenze Fire.

5. Whitmore – The 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champion hasn’t won yet this season, but he’s shown up with great efforts in all 3 tries.

Sleeper: Yaupon – He returned to the races with a big win at Pimlico that should lead to a start against tougher next time out.

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