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Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings 9/29/21: 3-Year-Old Power
Hot Rod Charlie winning the Pennsylvania Derby (Credit: Equi-Photo / Joe Labozzetta)

Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings 9/29/21: 3-Year-Old Power

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. Hot Rod Charlie
  6. Maxfield
  7. Gamine
  8. Life Is Good
  9. Max Player
  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. 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.

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

5. Silver State – He lost at Parx, which is never good, but he still showed up with his normal strong effort.

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 retired after suffering a minor injury during training.

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 Filly & Mare Sprint division’s biggest challenger to Gamine.

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 – Wow, this might be the best 3-year-old sprinter we’ve seen since Runhappy.

3. Hot Rod Charlie – This horse has shown that he’s truly elite. With any luck throughout the year, he’d be nipping at the heels of Essential Quality heading into the Breeders’ Cup.

4. Life Is Good – The talent this guy has is second to none. He’ll be heavily singled in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

5. Midnight Bourbon – He danced every dance this year and showed up every time. He might be a monster at age 4.

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. Bella Sofia – She’s quickly turned into one of the best 3-year-old fillies in the country.

3. Clairiere – She finally got her moment in the sun, winning the Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx.

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

5. Army Wife – This filly has ran consistently all season long, showing up with strong efforts in many big stakes events.

Sleeper: Obligatory – Her Cotillion Stakes (G1) effort was strong, finishing second to our third-ranked horse.


1. Jackie’s Warrior – He’ll be the one they all have to catch in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

2. Life Is Good – He’ll probably go to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), but he’s also an elite sprinter as well.

3. Yaupon – Sadly, he was hurt in a recent workout at Santa Anita and been retired.

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 put him squarely in the mix.

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 2 for 2 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. She should move forward off of that effort.

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