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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 Saturday was Travers Stakes day at Saratoga, and we knew that the ranking would change after SEVEN Grade 1 races took place. Let’s see how things have changed from last week’s rankings!
1. Gun Runner – Even though he lost to Arrogate in Dubai, he’s now the clear number-one. The Grade 1 Woodward this weekend gives him a chance to widen his lead in the rankings.
2. Collected – He’s been fantastic this year and did his best running ever in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. He seems to love Del Mar and will have a big shot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
3. Arrogate – In what can only be described as unbelievable, he’s now justifiably third. He has only two wins this year, and with the Breeders’ Cup Classic being at Del Mar, he has a tall task ahead of him. What a crazy game…
4. Mor Spirit – His “WOW” performance in the Grade 1 Met Mile officially confirmed that he’s arrived in a major way. His progression from 3 to 4 has been impressive, just like Gun Runner. However, he hasn’t been seen lately because he hasn’t worked well.
5. Keen Ice – You have to love the consistency that this horse provides. He brings the same effort each and every time, and he proved that once again with a nice second-place effort in the Grade 1 Whitney.
Sleeper: Cupid – He won a small stakes at Del Mar, but it wasn’t as impressive as some had hoped it would be.
1. Stellar Wind – She made it three Grade 1 wins in a row with another narrow win over Vale Dori in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch. At this point, she has a nice lead in the division, but one race could change it all.
2. Lady Eli – Another fantastic performance when she made her final start at Saratoga a winning one in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa. Her consistent form has been amazing to watch.
3. Forever Unbridled – She defeated champion Songbird in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, which was her second big win of the year. She is in solid form heading into the Breeders’ Cup and should have a decent shot at winning the Distaff.
4. Songbird – She’s still running well but doesn’t quite look like the same horse as last year. She looks to be a small step below but is still pointing towards the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
5. Vale Dori – Even though she lost again to Stellar Wind, I kept her here. She battled all the way down to the wire before being narrowly defeated. She’s ranked behind four horses who are Hall of Fame-caliber.
Sleeper: Money’soncharlotte – She’s quietly winning smaller stakes for the older females. I’m not sure if she can move up in class or not, but she’s been solid this year.
1. Oscar Performance – The Secretariat victory gives him back-to-back Grade 1 triumphs and easily puts him at the top. After the Travers, he still looks like a clear number one.
2. West Coast – His awesome performance in the Grade 1 Travers elevates him all the way to number two in the rankings and gives him a shot to win 3-year-old of the year honors. He needs more big wins, though.
3. Irap – He proved in the Travers that he is for real with a solid third-place effort. If you scratch out the Kentucky Derby, he has been tremendously consistent.
4. Practical Joke – This is the most talented 3-year-old in the crop and is still undefeated when going one turn after his win in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens.
5. Girvin – He had a horrible performance in the Travers, but I’ll give him a pass because the Haskell/Travers double is so hard to pull off. He will bounce back.
Sleeper: Gunnevera – Who knows what this horse will ever do! He looked great finishing a solid second in the Travers.
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1. Abel Tasman – Thoroughly entrenched now as the number one horse in this division after her third straight Grade 1 victory, she should have the Eclipse Award in the bag – as long as she doesn’t completely fall apart.
2. Lady Aurelia – She just narrowly lost in a race overseas, so I don’t think that she needs to be moved down. Hopefully, she rebounds and is ready to run a big one when the Breeders’ Cup rolls around.
3. Elate – Based on current form, she seems to be doing better than any others in this division. Abel Tasman will be hard to take down from the top spot, but this filly is really starting to hit her stride after winning the Grade 1 Alabama.
4. Unique Bella – She’s easily number one based on talent, but we must respect Abel Tasman for all of her recent wins. At this point, her passing Abel Tasman is becoming more and more unlikely. However, she put in a monster workout over the weekend, so there’s hope that she will return to form soon.
5. Unchained Melody – Something went terribly wrong for her in the Alabama, so I’m giving her a pass for now. Thankfully, she seems to be ok after stopping and being pulled up.
Sleeper: American Gal – She deserves to be mentioned after dominating rivals in the Grade 1 Test. If she keeps running like that, she’ll be ranked in the top 5 very soon.
1. Drefong – He earned his redemption at Saratoga with a big win in the Grade 1 Forego. He also beat his rival, Mind Your Biscuits, for the third time, which is very important.
2. Mind Your Biscuits – He simply didn’t fire in the Forego and finished a baffling sixth. His camp must regroup now, as there is still time to turn the tables on Drefong, but he will have to run much better.
3. El Deal – He absolutely destroyed the field in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap. Trainer Jorge Navarro has him running at a level that will make him hard to beat – his early speed is deadly.
4. Sharp Azteca – It’s easy to forget about him, but he is easily the second-best dirt mile horse in the country. He had a stellar return at Monmouth Park on Haskell Day.
5. Ransom the Moon – He won the Grade 1 Bing Crosby last time out to cap a great season on the Southern California circuit.
Sleeper: Imperial Hint – He’s been forgotten about because we haven’t seen him in a while. He was impressive in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint a couple of months back at Gulfstream Park.
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