Mucho Gusto tops first 2020 NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll
After starting his year off with a handy victory in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes on January 25, the Bob Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto finds himself on top once more in the initial National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2020, the NTRA announced today.
In his 4-year-old debut, Mucho Gusto earned the first Grade 1 victory of his career when he drew off for a 4 ½-length victory over Mr Freeze in the 1 1/8-miles Pegasus. The chestnut son of Mucho Macho Man was a multiple graded stakes winner as a sophomore but took a big step forward in his first outing since September – one that was noticed by voters who gave him 12 first-place votes and 224 total points.
Champion Midnight Bisou, who is gearing up to make her seasonal debut in the $20 million Saudi Cup on February 29, ranked second in the poll with 4 first-place votes and 188 points. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou earned the 2019 Eclipse Award for Champion Older Dirt Female following a campaign that saw her win seven of eight starts.
Maximum Security, the reigning champion 3-year-old male, received 11 first-place votes and 186 points to sit third. Like Mucho Gusto and Midnight Bisou, Maximum Security is also slated to make his next start in the Saudi Cup.
Grade 1 winner McKinzie, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 2, ranks fourth with 1 first-place vote and 156 points. Zulu Alpha, winner of the Pegasus World Cup Turf, is fifth with 89 points followed by champion Covfefe (75 points), Code of Honor (57) and Grade 1 winner Firenze Fire (45).
Graded stakes winners Silver Dust and Warrior’s Charge each have 40 points to round out the top ten.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred polls are the sport’s most comprehensive surveys of experts. 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. All horses that have raced in the U.S., are in training in the U.S., or are known to be pointing to a major event in the U.S. are eligible for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll concludes November 9 after the running of the Breeders’ Cup.
With the Road to the Kentucky Derby starting to heat up, the flashy Tiz the Law stands as the one his classmates are chasing. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law sits atop the first edition of the NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll with 17 first-place votes and 252 points following his season-opening triumph in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes on February 1.
Tiz the Law captured the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes last October and suffered his lone blemish in four career starts when he finished third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on November 30.
Unbeaten Thousand Words, winner of the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes in his sophomore debut, earned 4 first-place votes and 199 points to rank second with stablemate Nadal (2 first-place votes, 141 points) in third.
Baffert trainees occupy three of the top four positions on the NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll with Grade 3 Sham Stakes winner Authentic (1 first-place vote, 128 points) sitting fourth. Dennis’ Moment, who went off as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is fifth with 1 first-place vote and 125 points followed by Risen Star Stakes winner Mr. Monomoy (112 points).
Sole Volante, winner of the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes, is seventh with 103 points followed by Independence Hall (70 points), Maxfield (2 first-place votes, 66 points) and Silver Prospector (1 first-place vote, 59 points).
The Top 3-Year-Old Poll concludes June 8 after the Belmont Stakes.
NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL
- Mucho Gusto
- Midnight Bisou
- Maximum Security
- Zulu Alpha
- Code of Honor
- Firenze Fire
- Silver Dust
- Warrior’s Charge
NTRA TOP THREE-YEAR-OLD POLL
- Tiz the Law
- Thousand Words
- Dennis’ Moment
- Mr. Monomoy
- Sole Volante
- Independence Hall
- Silver Prospector
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