Coming off his third Grade 1 win of the year in Saturday's Pacific Classic at Del Mar, the nation's top older horse, Accelerate, knocked Triple Crown hero Justify out of the lead spot in this week's NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. The 12 1/2-length Pacific Classic tour de force by Accelerate set off increased speculation that there could still be a path to Horse of the Year for someone other than Justify, who two months ago was thought to be a cinch for the gold Eclipse Award after becoming the 13th Thoroughbred – and only the second in 40 years – to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
Trained by John Sadler and ridden by Joel Rosario for owner Hronis Racing, the Kentucky-bred Accelerate garnered 337 points in Week 30 of the Poll, including six first-place votes. Justify remains the clear leader in first-place votes with 31 but has been left off several ballots entirely since retiring, amassing 319 total points.
The New York-bred Whitney winner Diversify ranked third with 269 points, including one first-place vote.
Unique Bella was another to lose support due to retirement, falling from fifth to seventh with 96 points after the announcement that she would not race again due to a minor ankle injury.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll is the sport's most comprehensive survey 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, which continues until November 5, after the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The full results for the NTRA Thoroughbred Poll can be found on the NTRA website at: https://www.ntra.com/ntra-top-thoroughbred-poll-august-20-2018.
Full accounting of top 10 votes by voter: https://www.ntra.com/wp-content/uploads/Polls-week30-by_voter-2018.pdf.
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