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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. He is slated to defend his title in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar this Saturday.
2. City of Light – We learned in the 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?
3. Bee Jersey – As of now, it is hard to know whether to put him in this category or in the sprint 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.
4. Pavel – After many tries, he finally broke through with a big victory in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap. He is a talented horse that could be a player if he finds consistency.
5. Diversify – His Grade 2 Suburban Handicap victory puts him back in the mix after starting off slow in 2018. If he can carry his speed like he did in that race, then he will be tough to beat, no matter where he runs next.
Sleeper: West Coast – He is 0-for-2 this year, and there is no timetable for his return. Right now, we are in a “wait-and-see” approach with him.
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. Elate – Welcome back Elate! After a long layoff, she made her 2018 debut in dominating fashion in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. She could be poised for a major year.
4. 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.
5. Blue Prize – The Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap was her second win at Churchill Downs going 1 1/8 miles. That bodes well for her chances in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff later in the year.
Sleeper: Salty – The hard knocker finally broke through with a win in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes after making a closing move along the rail. She is currently on the bench, though.
1. Justify – The Triple Crown winner has this division on complete lockdown and will undoubtedly be the 2018 Horse of the Year as well, even though a recent hoof injury has put the rest of his year – and career – in jeopardy.
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 recently resumed training for what should be a solid summer campaign.
3. Catholic Boy – After his Grade 1 Belmont Derby win, he has proven to be a special colt. If not for a bleeding issue in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, who knows what could have happened? For now, he will stay on the turf, as he continues to impress on that surface.
4. 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. However, there is no timetable for when he might run again.
5. 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 at Saratoga with his name on it.
Sleeper: Core Beliefs – A solid win in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby moves him up to this spot, but he is still a long way off from being ranked in the Top 5.
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 – She made her competition look silly in the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes with an eye-catching effort while not being asked for her best. A rematch at Saratoga with Monomoy Girl awaits.
3. Wonder Gadot – The $1,000,000 Queen’s Plate Stakes was a much-deserved triumph after several close calls in big races all season long. It opens up the door for a lot of possibilities for her and brings her back into the discussion of top 3-year-old fillies if she can continue to win races.
4. Red Ruby – A huge win in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks was her straight in a stakes. She also received an eye-popping 104 Beyer speed figure for the effort.
5. Talk Veuve to Me – The drop in class was just what she needed as she crushed her rivals in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks. That win could send her back into tougher company for her next race.
Sleeper: 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.
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 moving him to a different division.
2. X Y Jet – The 6-year-old gelding just keeps winning and will always be the horse that they have to catch up front. His Grade 3 Smile Sprint Stakes victory at Gulfstream Park was an easy return as he begins to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
3. 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 makes his next start in the United States, which is looking like the G1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar on July 28.
4. 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.
5. American Anthem – This is a horse that has always shown talent. He will have to prove that he can stay consistent, but so far, he is 2-for-2 and looking solid in 2018.
Sleeper: Limousine Liberal – This horse is running as well as ever this year and will have a home track advantage at the Breeders’ Cup.
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