IN A NUTSHELL: The latest National Thoroughbred Racing Association poll, released yesterday, saw major changes.
THERE AT THE TOP: For the first time in, well, a long time, the name at the top of the poll was not Wise Dan. Instead, Shared Belief, the speedy California-based three-year-old, ascended to the top spot after winning Saturday’s Grade 1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita. Shared Belief is four-for-four in 2014 and has now won all seven of his career starts.
NEWBIES: Three horses not in the top 10 last week ascended to that lofty status this week. Tonalist’s victory in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup gave him his second Grade 1 win of the season and jumped him from 15th to fourth. He was joined by Main Sequence, who used a win in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch (his third Grade 1 of the year) to move to sixth; and Beholder, who made her first start in nearly four months a winning one in the Grade 1 Zenyatta at Santa Anita and is now ninth on the list.
COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Three new arrivals on the list mean three departures, too. Those three were Itsmyluckyday, Moreno, and Wicked Strong. Itsmyluckyday finished third as the favorite in the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont on Saturday, while Moreno ran fourth and was disqualified to ninth in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Wicked Strong lost his rider in the Gold Cup after clipping heels with Moreno.
CONSOLIDATION: While first-place voting was relatively spread out in previous weeks, this time voters have pretty much decided that it’s either Shared Belief or Wise Dan. Those two accounted for 44 of the 47 first-place votes cast, with only Close Hatches (two) and California Chrome (one) taking any other top votes.
OLD SCHOOL: Bayern has made more starts than any other horse in the top 10. He’s made nine (with five wins). More than 6,200 horses have made more than nine starts so far this year.
AGE AND SEX: The list includes five three-year-olds (Shared Belief, California Chrome, Bayern, Untapable, and Tonalist) and three females (Beholder, Close Hatches, and Untapable).
NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL
- Shared Belief
- Wise Dan
- Close Hatches
- California Chrome
- Main Sequence
- Palace Malice
Note: The Racing Biz writers Nick Hahn and Frank Vespe are voters in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.