Classic Empire, Arrogate top NTRA polls
From a National Thoroughbred Racing Association release
With less than two weeks remaining before the 149th Belmont Stakes (G1), the latest NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll remains unchanged and on hold, awaiting the next big clash of top sophomores.
John and Debby Oxley’s reigning two-year-old champion Classic Empire (20 first-place votes; 389 points), who ran in the first-two legs of the Triple Crown (Preakness, 2nd, Kentucky Derby 4th), tops the field for the second straight week. The Pioneerof the Nile colt is confirmed to run in the final and third leg of the Triple Crown on June 10 by his trainer Mark Casse.
Always Dreaming (15 first-place votes; 367 points) the Kentucky Derby winner remains in second for trainer Todd Pletcher and owners Brooklyn Boyz Stable, MeB Racing Stable, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, St. Elias Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds and Siena Farm. The Bodemeister colt has been declared out of the Belmont Stakes.
Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing (3 first-place votes; 337 points) is ranked third for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. Trainer Chad Brown has confirmed they will not run in the Belmont Stakes.
Lookin At Lee (222), ranked fourth, is expected to run in the Belmont Stakes with Irad Ortiz, Jr., in the irons for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Sitting out the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in fifth position is Battle of Midway (149). He’s followed in sixth by Irish War Cry (124), who is under consideration for the Belmont Stakes according to his conditioner, Graham Motion.
Rounding out the field are: Unique Bella (1 first-place vote; 114 points); Mastery (2 first-place votes; 83 points) and Practical Joke (78).
The NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll is the sport’s most comprehensive survey of experts ranking the generation of Thoroughbreds that includes all Triple Crown contenders. Every week eligible journalists and broadcasters cast votes for their top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. The Top 3-Year-Old Poll concludes June 12 after the Belmont Stakes.
The top ranked older horses on this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for all horses slight movement in the bottom-half of the rankings.
The top five older horses on this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll remain unchanged, with Arrogate (42 first-place votes; 420 points) the unanimous top choice. The leading earner in North American racing history is trained by Bob Baffert for owner Juddmonte Farm. The Dubai World Cup winner and Eclipse Award winner is being pointed towards the G1 $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on August 19 at Del Mar Race Course.
Joining the ranks in sixth from fourteenth is Lady Eli (124) after a hard fought victory in Saturday’s Gamely Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita by a half-length under regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. Trained by Chad Brown, Lady Eli, who overcame a life-threatening bout with laminitis last year, negotiated 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:45.29.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll concludes November 6 after the running of the Breeders’ Cup.