Mor Spirit grabs Top Midlantic-bred Poll lead

by | Jul 15, 2017 | Breaking, Breeding, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

Mor Spirit

Mor Spirit dominated the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park. Photo by Chelsea Durand/NYRA.

Staff report

Pennsylvania-bred Mor Spirit gave one of the best performances of 2017 June 10 when he laid waste to his rivals in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, romping to a six-length win in a sharp 1:33.71.

And that effort has allowed him to overhaul Stellar Wind atop the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll, the latest monthly edition of which was issued today.

Among three-year-olds, Irish War Cry remained the clear choice of voters. He ran a good second in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on the same day as Mor Spirit’s Met Mile and is expected to make his next start in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Mor Spirit is a ridgling by Eskendereya-Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union. His Met Mile triumph was his second graded stakes victory of 2017 and gave him three wins and a second from four starts this year. It was also the second Grade 1 win of his career, the prior such victory having come during his two-year-old season in the 2015 Los Alamitos Futurity.

Mor Spirit was bred in Pennsylvania by  Elkstone Group, LLC and is owned by Michael Lund Petersen, who paid a cool $650,000 for him as a two-year-old. He’s trained at Santa Anita Park by Bob Baffert.

The only horse new to either the three-year-old or older horse polls was four-year-old New Jersey-bred Sunny Ridge. The Holy Bull gelding, who ran second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational on the June 10 Belmont Park card, rose to fifth after being among those receiving votes in the prior poll.

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 three were bred in New Jersey. There were two bred in Maryland and one bred in Virginia. Seven are males, and three are 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, 2nd G1 Belmont S.
  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. (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 
  4. (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
  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, Trooper John



  1. (last month: 2nd) 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 G1 Met Mile, G3 Steve Sexton Mile, second G2 San Antonio S., won Essex H.
  2. (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
  3. (4th) 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, G2 Great Lady M S.
  4. (3rd) 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.
  5. (also receiving votes) Sunny Ridge (NJ) — 4yo gelding by Holy Bull-Lignum Vitae, by Songandaprayer; bred and owned by Dennis Drazin, trained by Jason Servis; won Jazil S., Stymie S., 2nd G2 Brooklyn

Also receiving votes: Power of Snunner, Illuminant, American Dubai



  • Bonus Points is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $75,000 Caveat Stakes for Maryland-breds on the turf at Laurel 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.