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Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings 9/22/21: Breeders’ Cup Preps In Full Swing
Essential Quality winning the Travers (Credit: NYRA)

Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings 9/22/21: Breeders’ Cup Preps In Full Swing

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. Knicks Go
  2. Essential Quality
  3. Letruska
  4. Jackie’s Warrior
  5. Maxfield
  6. Gamine
  7. Silver State
  8. Max Player
  9. Hot Rod Charlie
  10. Domestic Spending


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Older Males

1. Knicks Go – The big gray horse is back on top after a fantastic effort in the Whitney Stakes (G1).

2. Maxfield – He showed a lot running second against a tough group in the Whitney Stakes (G1).

3. Silver State – His win streak came to an end at 6, but he was still solid in the Whitney Stakes (G1).

4. Max Player – We have to take him seriously now after 2 straight big stakes victories, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in his last start.

5. Domestic Spending – A lack of pace really hurt him in his recent loss at Arlington Park in the Mister D. Stakes (G1).

Sleeper: Tripoli – A win in the Pacific Classic (G1) earned him a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Older Females

1. Letruska – This horse has turned into an absolute beast, with her lastest victory coming in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.

2. Gamine – They’ll be hard-pressed to beat her in sprint races. She was dominant once again in the Ballerina Stakes (G1).

3. Monomoy Girl – She lost nothing in defeat; however, she is currently at the farm with some muscle soreness. She is reportedly targeting the Cigar Mile (G1) in December for her return.

4. Shedaresthedevil – She picked up another win at Churchill Downs; however, she still looks to be a small cut below the top horse in this division.

5. Royal Flag – She’s developing into a pretty solid female runner; however, she is a cut below the top few in her division.

Sleeper: Sconsin – She might be the biggest challenger to Gamine in the filly and mare sprint division.

3-Year-Old Males

1. Essential Quality – This horse just knows how to get the job done. He won his third straight with another great performance in the Travers Stakes (G1).

2. Jackie’s Warrior – He’s one of the best sprinters we’ve seen in a long time within the 3-year-old ranks.

3. Hot Rod Charlie – He ran way too well to end up being disqualified in the Haskell Stakes (G1) and is now aiming at the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

4. Midnight Bourbon – Call him Mr. Consistent. He ran too good to lose in the Travers Stakes (G1) but just couldn’t hold off Essential Quality.

5. Life Is Good – Wow, what a return effort in the Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1), even if he did finish second. This guy is back in a big way and it’s exciting to see.

Sleeper: Medina Spirit – It’s weird to call him a sleeper, but he’s back on the radar after a nice win in the Shared Belief Stakes.

3-Year-Old Females

1. Malathaat – She returned to the winner’s circle in a big way, taking home the Alabama Stakes (G1) in stylish fashion.

2. Search Results – Her Test Stakes (G1) performance was just average and she’s now off for the rest of the year.

3. Bella Sofia – She showed up in a big way, dominating the Test Stakes (G1) by multiple lengths.

4. Clairiere – She’s simply not as good as the top horses in this division; however, she shows up and tries every time.

5. Army Wife – After 2 nice stakes wins, she shipped to Saratoga and put up a solid effort in the Alabama Stakes (G1), finishing third.

Sleeper: Maracuja – Her Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) was strong enough to keep her mentioned within this division.


1. Jackie’s Warrior – They’ll be hard-pressed to beat this horse if he shows up with his best effort. He is a monster in one-turn races.

2. Life Is Good – They might stretch him out in distance, but this horse is an elite sprinter if they choose to take that route with him.

3. Yaupon – He picked up his first Grade 1 victory in the Forego Stakes (G1), defeating Firenze Fire despite getting savaged down the stretch.

4. Ginobili – He’s on the scene after an impressive win in the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar. He seems to love that track, a big deal considering the Breeders’ Cup will be held there this season.

5. Flagstaff – His return to the races was pretty solid and he should improve next time out, which will have him right there in the mix with this group.

Sleeper: Beau Liam – Trainer Steve Asmussen has yet another monster. This one is 3 for 3 and earned a 107 Beyer in his allowance win at Saratoga.

2-Year-Old Males

1. Corniche – This horse won a Del Mar maiden special weight on debut with an incredibly impressive effort.

2. Gunite – He exits Saratoga with a massive win by multiple lengths in the Hopeful Stakes (G1). He keeps getting better the longer he goes.

3. Wit – He’s a solid horse, but must learn how to get out of the gate better, as that cost him a win in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).

4. Pinehurst – He exits Del Mar a perfect 2 for 2 after a nice win in the Del Mar Futurity (G1).

5. Annapolis – This turf horse looked like the real deal in his maiden special weight score at Saratoga. He’ll be in a stakes race next.

Sleeper: Major General – A solid win inn the Iroquois Stakes (G3) has this horse on the radar heading into the Breeders’ Cup.

2-Year-Old Females

1. Echo Zulu – She exits Saratoga as the number-one ranked horse in the division after a dominating effort in the Spinaway Stakes (G1).

2. Hidden Connection – Her ultra-impressive Pocahontas Stakes (G3) victory makes her two for two heading into the Breeders’ Cup.

3. Grace Adler – This filly was dominant in both of her effort at Del Mar, including the Del Mar Debutante (G1) to round out the meet.

4. Wicked Halo – Asmussen has so many good 2-year-olds this year, including this winner of the Adirondack Stakes (G3).

5. Ain’t Easy – She was impressive in her debut victory at Del Mar, which should lead to a stakes race next.

Sleeper: Goddess of Fire – Even though she was third in the Pocahontas Stakes (G3), it was a nice effort for his first start against stakes company, and she should move forward off of that effort.

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