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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 scratched out of the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, but he is still atop this division. However, how long he lasts remains to be seen because his stablemate Catalina Cruiser put on quite the show filling in for him in that race. He is targeting the Grade 1 Pacific Classic as of right now.
2. Diversify – When he is at his best, you simply cannot run with him on the front end. He crushed his rivals in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes, giving him a solid Suburban/Whitney double. He is right on the heels of moving to the top spot.
3. Catalina Cruiser – Say hello to the division’s newest star. He is now 3-for-3 in his young career after dominating the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar.
4. 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?
5. 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.
Sleeper: Mind Your Biscuits – For now, he is ranked in two divisions. He is probably most effective going short, but he deserves recognition for finishing second in the Whitney behind a loose-on-the-lead Diversify. Trainer Chad Summers has several options for his next start.
1. Unique Bella – It was a business-like win for her in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar. She remains number one for now, but the competition is going to get tougher for her from here on out.
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 and 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. However, a recent injury suffered while training was serious enough that her connections are 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 caused his premature retirement.
2. Good Magic – His Grade 1 Haskell Invitational victory confirmed that he is indeed the second-best 3-year-old this year. If not for Justify, he probably would have had a shot to win the Triple Crown.
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? There are talks that he could try the dirt again in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes.
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 – He picked up a solid win in the $100,000 Curlin Stakes, which should set him up for a big effort in the Travers. Hopefully, he can get a big-time win on his resume.
Sleeper: Tenfold – This rapidly-developing colt picked up his first stakes win in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. He showed a lot of immaturity in that race, but he is becoming a nice horse.
1. Monomoy Girl – There is no doubt about it now: she is going to win the Eclipse Award for this division. Sealing the deal was her performance in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga to make it five in a row.
2. Wonder Gadot – She picked up another win against the boys and against Canadian bred horses, but now she needs to go back to open company and see if she can win a race like the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes. Her connections have also cross-entered her in the Travers, where she would face several males.
3. Midnight Bisou – There was nothing wrong with her second-place effort in the Coaching Club American Oaks, but she was clearly second-best to Monomoy Girl.
4. Red Ruby – A huge win in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks was her second straight in a stakes. She also received an eye-popping 104 Beyer speed figure for the effort.
5. Seperationofpowers – This might be the best female sprinter in the country, regardless of age, after a tremendous win in the Grade 1 Test Stakes.
Sleeper: 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.
1. Mind Your Biscuits – For now, he will remain number one in this division until we are 100% sure that he will not go back to sprinting. Going 6 or 7 furlongs, he can beat anyone in the world, but the jury is still out on how he can do going longer. Still, this is an incredibly versatile and talented horse.
2. Imperial Hint – He turned the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap into a total laugher after he dominated the field without being asked for his best. He is on track for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint once again after finishing second in that race a year ago.
3. 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.
4. Roy H – The Bing Crosby was his first start since March and will likely be a solid building block for him, as he finished second. He will progress off of that race.
5. Ransom the Moon – This horse loves running in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes. He won the race for the second straight year, but now he needs to pick up a few wins in-between to move up the rankings.
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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