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Top 5 Best Horses Right Now By Division 09/25/23: Saudi Crown, Next Win Big At Parx
Saudi Crown (Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO)

Top 5 Best Horses Right Now By Division 09/25/23: Saudi Crown, Next Win Big At Parx

Welcome to our weekly rankings of the top 5 best horses right now by division in America!

Last week at Parx, Saudi Crown came home an impressive winner of the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) & Next won the Greenwood Cup Stakes (G3) by 25 lengths to re-affirm himself as a major dirt route threat.

Did either horse do enough to crack his respective division’s top 5 list? Tell us YOUR top 5 in the Comments section!

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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 last Top 10 poll looked like:

  1. Arcangelo
  2. Up to the Mark
  3. Cody’s Wish
  4. Echo Zulu
  5. Elite Power
  6. White Abarrio
  7. Arabian Knight
  8. Casa Creed
  9. Geaux Rocket Ride
  10. Gunite

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Older Males

1. Up to the Mark – This is one of the best turf horses in the world right now after back-to-back dominant victories in the Turf Classic Stakes (G1) & the Manhattan Stakes (G1).

2. Cody’s Wish – He showed up with a lackluster effort in the Whitney Stakes (G1), but he still is one of the most accomplished horses in the country.

3. White Abarrio – If he can repeat his Whitney Stakes (G1) performance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, then he could very well be the Horse of the Year.

4. Casa Creed – He took home the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) at Saratoga for the second straight season.

5. Proxy – He was a tough-luck second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1); however, he still has a better resume than the winner.

Sleeper: Bright Future – He jumped onto the scene in a big way with a win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1).

Older Females

1. Echo Zulu – Her effort in the Ballerina Handicap (G1) was a thing of beauty.

2. Caravel – She lost against the boys at Saratoga in the Troy Stakes (G3), but she is still having an awesome season.

3. Clairiere – Despite her total non-effort in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1), she still has a strong resume.

4. Nest – She didn’t show up with her best effort in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1).

5. Goodnight Olive – There was no shame in her running second to Echo Zulu in the Ballerina Handicap (G1).

Sleeper: In Italian – She ran well but couldn’t do better than runner-up in the Diana Stakes (G1).

3-Year-Old Males

1. Arcangelo – His rise to stardom has been ultra-impressive, culminating with winning the Belmont Stakes (G1) and the Travers Stakes (G1).

2 Arabian Knight – He’s back in the picture in a big way after winning the Pacific Classic (G1).

3. Geaux Rocket Ride – His second-place effort in the Pacific Classic (G1) puts him within striking distance heading into the fall.

4. Forte – He showed up with no real effort in the Travers Stakes (G1) for the first time this year.

5. Saudi Crown – He picked up his first big win in a gate to wire score in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

Sleeper: Mage – We’ll see if he can bounce back after a poor start in the Travers Stakes (G1).

3-Year-Old Females

1. Maple Leaf Mel – She was 1 stride away from defeating multiple Grade 1 winner Pretty Mischievous by 6 lengths before her tragic breakdown.

2. Pretty Mischievous – She was a solid second in the Cotillion Stakes (G1), nearly catching the winner at the wire.

3. Asinette – She has dominated 3 straight turf races, including the Del Mar Oaks (G1), to stamp herself as a major player in the division.

4. Wet Paint – Her Alabama Stakes (G1) effort was solid, but she wasn’t good enough to catch the winner. She still has a solid resume heading into the fall.

5. Randomize – She picked up her first graded stakes victory with a gate-to-wire Alabama Stakes (G1) win.

Sleeper: Ceiling Crusher – She has arrived on the scene in a big way after a nice win in the Cotillion Stakes (G1).


1. Elite Power – He put in another good effort but could not catch Gunite in the Forego Stakes (G1).

2. Gunite – For some reason, they ran him in a 2-turn mile at Parx, which he lost because that isn’t his game. He should bounce back if he returns to 1 turn for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

3. Skelly – This one is developing nicely for Asmussen & is riding a 5-race win streak.

4. The Chosen Vron – The California-bred defeated open company in the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1).

5. Anarchist – He finally got a big win in the Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.

Sleeper: Dr. Schivel – He will improve in his next start and is still a dangerous horse in California.

2-Year-Old Males

1. Prince of Monaco – He is the clear leader in the division after back-to-back graded stakes victories at Del Mar, including the Futurity (G1).

2. Nutella Fella – The upset winner of the Hopeful Stakes (G1) debuts second on the list for now.

3. Timberlake – His runner-up effort in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) was a good first stakes effort.

4. West Saratoga – He surprised many by winning the Iroquois Stakes (G3).

5. Heartland – This debut winner for Bob Baffert looks to have a big future in front of him.

Sleeper: Muth – He is still a maiden; however, this horse should excel when stretching out in distance.

2-Year-Old Females

1. Brightwork – Three straight stakes wins including the Spinaway Stakes (G1) lands her the top spot heading into the fall.

2. Tamara – Her win in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) was tremendous.

3 V V’s Dream – She looked like a star winning the Pocahontas Stakes (G3), setting up what could be a showdown at the Breeders’ Cup.

4. Gala Brand – She beat the boys in her second career start at Saratoga in the With Anticipation Stakes (G3).

5. Ways and Means – She was a tough-luck second in the Spinaway Stakes (G1) behind our top-ranked horse but was reportedly injured after the race.

Sleeper: Laurent – She was a distant second in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) behind our second-ranked horse.