(Photo of California Chrome by Laurie Asseo.)
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) on Monday released its first Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2016, and the names at the top figure to be familiar to racing fans across the nation.
On the Top Thoroughbred Poll — which includes horses of all ages — 2014 champion California Chrome is back atop the rankings. The son of Lucky Pulpit has won both his 2016 starts, taking the Grade 2 San Pasqual at Santa Anita Park in January. Trainer Art Sherman then sent him to Dubai to prep for an anticipated start in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup March 26, a race in which he finished second a year ago. The five-year-old won a minor handicap race last month in preparation for the main event.
California Chrome got the nod over Mshawish, who was second. The Todd Pletcher trainee has won both of his 2016 starts, most recently taking the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park last month.
For three-year-olds, undefeated Mohaymen gets the nod over juvenile champ Nyquist. Mohaymen, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Shadwell Farm, is undefeated and has won four consecutive Grade 2 events, two of them in 2016. He is on track for the Grade 1 Florida Derby later this month, having already taken Gulfstream Park’s two Florida Derby preps.
In the Florida Derby, Mohaymen is expected to tackle Nyqust. Last year’s champion juvenile colt has won all six of his career starts, five against graded foes. In his only start this year, the Doug O’Neill trainee took the Grade 2, seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Pennsylvania-bred Mor Spirit was the only horse bred in the mid-Atlantic region to make either poll. The Eskendereya ridgling was ranked third on the three-year-old poll. He also was second among three-year-olds in the first Top Midlantic-bred Poll of 2016, finishing behind the fleet filly Cathryn Sophia. She was first on the “also receiving votes” list for the NTRA poll.[su_box title=”NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL” style=”glass”]THROUGH MARCH 6, 2016
TOP THREE-YEAR-OLD POLL
- MOR SPIRIT
- GUN RUNNER
- MO TOM
TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL
- California Chrome
NOTE: The Racing Biz correspondents Nick Hahn and Frank Vespe are voters in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.