Mor Spirit, Irish War Cry steady atop Top Midlantic-bred Polls

by | Aug 5, 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

The final Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll listing three-year-olds and older horses separately, released today, shows little change from the prior month’s poll.

And that means that Pennsylvania-bred Mor Spirit and New Jersey-bred Irish War Cry remain atop the older horse and three-year-old polls, respectively.

Mor Spirit retained the top spot — narrowly — after a month in which he was idle. The son of Eskendereya’s last outing came in June, when he crushed the field in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. He has not raced since, and though he’s showing several works in the interim, trainer Bob Baffert has said the star isn’t showing quite the energy he’d like to see.

Mor Spirit’s nearest challenger, Virginia-bred Stellar Wind, did what she could to close the gap. The Curlin mare won the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar narrowly on July 30 to give her three Grade 1 wins from three starts this year.

The rest of the top five among older horses includes Pennsylvania-bred Finest City, who finished third in the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes at Los Alamitos during the month; New Jersey-bred Green Gratto, who finished fifth in the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship and seventh in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, the latter at Saratoga; and another New Jersey-bred, Sunny Ridge, who was idle during the month.

Irish War Cry remained atop the three-year-old list although he was a well-beaten fourth in his lone start during July, in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. That’s because the multiple Grade 2 winner’s toughest competition, Pennsylvania-bred Unique Bella, hasn’t raced or recorded a work since March.

The list of sophomores does have one newcomer. That’s West Virginia-bred Moonlit Song. The daughter of Fiber Sonde, out of the Parker’s Storm Cat mare Malibu Kitten, has won five of seven starts this season, including scores in the It’s Binn Too Long Stakes and the Fancy Buckles Stakes, both at her home track of Charles Town. She was bred by Tim and Judy Grams and is trained by him for their Grams Racing Stable.

The other sophs on the list are Pennsylvania-bred Fast and Accurate, who ran third in the state-bred Crowd Pleaser Stakes at Parx Racing July 22; and Maryland-bred Bonus Points, who was second in the state-bred Caveat Stakes July 15 at Laurel Park and most recently was ninth in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga August 4.

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 was one each bred in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Six are males, and four 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) 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, third in Crowd Pleaser S.
  4. (3rd) 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 Jeromesecond in Caveat S.
  5. (also receiving votes) Moonlit Song (WV) — by Fiber Sonde-Malibu Kitten, by Parker’s Storm Cat; bred by Timothy C. and Judith A. Grams; trained by Tim Grams for Grams Racing Stable; won It’s Binn Too Long S., Fancy Buckles S.

Also receiving votes: O Dionysus, Tulsa Queen, Midtowncharlybrown, Trooper John



  1. (last month: 1st) 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. (2nd) 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, G1 Clement L. Hirsch
  3. (3rd) 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. (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.
  5. (5th) 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: Illuminant, American Dubai, Just Call Kenny, Page McKenney, Long On Value, Irish Strait



  • None.

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.