Irish War Cry leads Top Midlantic-bred Poll on Belmont eve

by | Jun 9, 2017 | Breaking, Breeding, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

Irish War Cry

Irish War Cry (inside) wins the Marylander Stakes. Photo by The Racing Biz.

Staff report

Despite a busy May with plenty of top-level racing action, there was virtually no change from last month in the monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll.

Stellar Wind was the unanimous choice to the top spot among older horses. The Virginia-bred daughter of Curlin narrowly bested Vale Dori to take the Grade 1 Beholder Mile last Saturday at Santa Anita Park. That gave her two wins, both in Grade 1 company, from two starts so far in 2017.

Meanwhile, Irish War Cry – a New Jersey-bred son of Curlin – again topped the poll among three-year-olds, comfortably outdistancing the injured filly Unique Bella. Irish War Cry is the morning line favorite for Saturday’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes.

Among older horses, there was something of a logjam for second in the poll. Pennsylvania-bred Mor Spirit, New Jersey-bred Green Gratto, and Finest City, also a PA-bred, all had virtually the same number of points.

Mor Spirit and Green Gratto both are in action this weekend. Mor Spirit, a Bob Baffert-trained son of Eskendereya, won the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile last out and is the 5-2 morning line favorite In Saturday’s Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont.

Green Gratto, a son of Here’s Zealous, is a longshot in the Grade 2 True North Friday at Belmont Park.

Finest City, by City Zip, ran third behind Stellar Wind last week in the Beholder.

The only newcomer to either list was eight-year-old Partly Mocha. The West Virginia-bred Half Ours gelding has wins in a pair of turf sprint stakes at Sam Houston this year.

Among the top three-year-olds, Irish War Cry is the only runner slated to be in action this week.

Last week, Bonus Points made his career turf bow but finished eighth in the Grade 2 Penn Mile. The Maryland-bred son of Majestic Warrior won the Parx Derby for his first win of 2017 on May 6.

Fast and Accurate, winner of the Grade 3 Spiral earlier this year, ran twice in May. The Pennsylvania-bred Hansen colt ran 17th in the Kentucky Derby and then was fourth in the Grade 3 Arlington Classic.

The poll is conducted monthly among a panel of industry participants and media members.

Of the 10 horses on the twin lists, four were bred in Pennsylvania, and two each were bred in Maryland and New Jersey. There was one Virginia-bred and one West Virginia-bred. The list includes seven males and three females.

The monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred is the only publication devoted to Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Racing Biz is the independent voice for mid-Atlantic racing and breeding and includes an online publication, a mobile application, and the weekly Off to the Races radio show.

The poll is restricted to horses that have run in 2017 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.



  1. (last month: 1st) Irish War Cry (NJ) — by Curlin-Irish Sovereign, by Polish Numbers; trained by Graham Motion for owner-breeder Isabelle de Tomaso; won G2 Holy Bull, G2 Wood Memorial
  2. (2nd) Unique Bella (PA) — by Tapit-Unrivaled Belle, by Unbridled’s Song; bred by Brushwood Stable; trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Don Alberto Stable; in 2017 won G2 Santa Ynez, G2 Las Virgenes
  3. (3rd) Fast and Accurate (PA) — colt by Hansen-It’s Heidi’s Dance, by Green Dancer; bred by John R. Penn; trained by Mike Maker for Kendall E. Hansen; won G3 Spiral Stakes, Sage of Monticello Stakes
  4. (4th) Bonus Points (MD) — by Majestic Warrior-Baby Love, by Not for Love; bred by Country Life Farm; trained by Todd Pletcher for Three Diamonds Farm; won $100,000 Parx Derby, second in the Grade 3 Jerome 
  5. (5th) O Dionysus (MD) — by Bodemeister-Safe Journey, by Flatter; bred by Dark Hollow Farm; trained by Gary Capuano for Marathon Farms; won Miracle Wood S., second Frank Whiteley, Jr. S., Private Terms S.

Also receiving votes: Moonlit Song, Crabcakes, Hot Mic, Lies and Scandals, Pistolinmypocket, Midtowncharlybrown




  1. (last month: 1st) Stellar Wind (VA) — 5yo mare by Curlin-Evening Star, by Malibu Moon; bred by Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC; trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC; won G1 Apple Blossom, G1 Beholder Mile
  2. (3rd) Mor Spirit (PA) — 4yo ridgling by Eskendereya-Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union; bred by Elkstone Group LLC; trained by Bob Baffert for Michael Lund Peterson; won G3 Steve Sexton Mile, second G2 San Antonio S., won Essex H.
  3. (4th) Green Gratto (NJ) — 7yo horse by Here’s Zealous-Starship Smokester, by Smokester; bred by Kaz Hill Farm; trained by Gaston Grant for himself and Anthony Grant; won G1 Carter H., G3 Toboggan S.
  4. (2nd) Finest City (PA) — 5yo mare by City Zip-Be Envied, by Lemon Drop Kid; bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing, LLC; trained by Ian Kruljac for Seltzer Thoroughbreds; won G2 Santa Monica, second G1 Santa Margarita, G1 Humana Distaff, 3rd G1 Beholder Mile
  5. (not listed) Partly Mocha (WV) — 8yo gelding by Half Ours-Chocolate Mon, by Maria’s Mon; bred by Mr. & Mrs. John Michael Link; trained by Mike Maker for Ken and Sarah Ramsey; won Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, Bucharest Turf Sprint

Also receiving votes: Sunny Ridge, Next Best Thing, Power of Snunner



  • Irish War Cry is the 7-2 morning line favorite in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes Saturday.
  • Mor Spirit is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap Saturday at Belmont Park.

Participating Voters: Ted Black (freelance writer), Michael Campbell (Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey), Joe Clancy (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Cindy Deubler (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Linda Dougherty (freelance), Debbie Easter (Virginia Thoroughbred Association), Paul Espinosa (Charles Town Races), Anne Frederick (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Rich Glazier (Delaware Park), Cricket Goodall (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Jim Hague (freelance), Nick Hahn (freelance), Carol Holden (West Virginia Breeders Classics), Tom LaMarra (The Blood-Horse), Jeff Nations (freelance), Kate Painter (West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association), Vinnie Perrone (freelance), Frank Petramalo (Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association), Gary Quill (The Racing Biz), David Richardson (Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association), Brian Sanfratello (Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association), Sal Sinatra (Maryland Jockey Club), Chris Sobocinski (Delaware Park), Dan Tordjman (freelance), Frank Vespe (The Racing Biz), Bill Watson (freelance), Lydia Williams (freelance), Bobby Zen (freelance).

Note — Not all participating voters will vote in every poll.