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, including my NTRA Top 10 Poll:
Here are my overall rankings as seen in the latest NTRA Top 10 Poll. The poll ranks the top thoroughbred horses based on if Horse of the Year voting was conducted at this very moment. To me, Justify still has the top spot, but Accelerate is at least making things interesting. There is just one change this week: Catholic Boy and Monomoy Girl flip-flopped positions.
3. Catalina Cruiser
5. Abel Tasman
6. Catholic Boy
7. Monomoy Girl
9. Mind Your Biscuits
10. Imperial Hint
1. Accelerate – Look out, he’s far and away the top dog in this division after a nearly 13-length victory in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar.
2. Catalina Cruiser – There may be no stopping this horse now after he once again dominated his rivals in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes. He is quickly becoming the most impressive horse in the country.
4. Mind Your Biscuits – It looks like he is officially in this division now. It will be interesting to see how he matches up with the field in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Grade 3 Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs will be his next start.
5. Yoshida – His dirt debut was a successful one as he powered home to win the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes. It looks as though he will now be pointed towards the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Sleeper: West Coast – He is back in training and could come onto the scene late to make an impact in this division.
1. Abel Tasman – The Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes may have been her most impressive race yet as she was able to hold off Elate once again to win.
2. Elate – It was another heartbreaker for Elate in the Personal Ensign as she just couldn’t get by Abel Tasman. She is still a major threat in this division and will reportedly try the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
3. Unique Bella – Her injury and retirement means that she will continue to fall down the rankings. Hats off to a solid career.
4. Sistercharlie – She has now won three Grade 1 turf races this year and seems to be getting better with every race.
5. Blue Prize – She is never going to blow you away with her talents, but she just keeps on winning races. After her Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes win, she is now pointing towards the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, which will be held at Churchill Downs, her favorite track.
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.
2. Catholic Boy – Make it three Grade 1 wins in a row for this guy, who is quickly becoming a beast. His transfer from turf to dirt to win the Travers Stakes was simply amazing.
3. Good Magic – He has been retired and will stand at Hill ‘n Dale Farms. It was a solid two year career for this horse.
4. McKinzie – Baffert’s “other” big horse is back, and might be better than ever after a solid victory in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby. He earned his shot at the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
5. 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, he was away from the track until mid-September, and his connections have said that the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup is his main target, so expect him to return near the end of 2018.
Sleeper: Axelrod – His Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby runner-up finish shows that he can hang with the big horses in the division. He is rising quickly.
1. Monomoy Girl – Her disqualification in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes was a tough way to lose her first race of the season. Still, she leads this division by a wide margin.
2. Dream Tree – She has always been the second-best horse in this division, but an injury forced her to miss all of the important spring and summer races. She is back now, though, and could have a big say in things the rest of the year after her dominating Grade 1 Prioress Stakes win.
3. Midnight Bisou – Even though she didn’t actually finish in front, she was placed first in the Cotillion after Monomoy Girl’s disqualification, which was a major win for her. The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is likely next.
4. Wonder Gadot – There is no disgrace in finishing third to Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou, but she was not competitive with those two in the Cotillion.
5. Seperationofpowers – The Cotillion distance was a bit too long for her, but she will be tough when cutting back to one-turn races.
Sleeper: Eskimo Kisses – She picked up her first Grade 1 victory in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga and has been a consistent filly all year long.
1. 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.
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 – 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.
4. 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.
5. Whitmore – It was great to see him finally get a Grade 1 win in the Forego Stakes. If not for a couple of narrow losses he could be ranked number one in this division.
Sleeper: City of Light – I’ve moved him to this division, but there are talks that he could stretch out again. Either way, don’t hold the Forego against him because of an awful trip.
1. Instagrand – He is this division’s clear standout after two dominating efforts to start his career. However, he will miss the Breeders’ Cup, which means that he will be likely passed for the top spot by the end of the year.
2. Game Winner – He pulled off a mild upset in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity Stakes over his Bob Baffert stablemate, Roadster, and the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Rowayton.
3. Mind Control – This horse now has two victories in a row after outlasting his rivals to take home the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.
4. Mucho – He may have lost the Hopeful as the favorite, but he still finished a solid second. Two-turn races should be where he excels.
5. Call Paul – His victory in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes made him 2-for-2 in his young career.
1. Serengeti Empress – This is your early favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies after her dominating win in the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs.
2. Bellafina – She posted back-to-back stakes victories at Del Mar, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes, where she beat some really nice horses.
3. Newspaperofrecord – She might be a turf horse, but you had better pay attention after she dominated her debut at Saratoga over the lawn. She is the very early favorite to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
4. Sippican Harbor – She closed from the clouds to win the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga, giving her two nice victories is a row.
5. Restless Rider – She had a tough trip in the Spinaway but still finished a decent second. She has shown a lot of class in her two starts.
Sleeper: Der Lu – She was an impressive maiden special weight winner at Del Mar. Also, she is trained by Baffert, which is never a bad thing.