The slew of top performances on the blockbuster August 24 card at Saratoga Race Course produced some shifts among the top 10 in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll with the most notable change being the addition of Grade 1 Travers Stakes winner Code of Honor.
Owned and bred by William S. Farish and trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Code of Honor added another layer of intrigue to the parity-laden sophomore male division when he scored a three-length win in the 150th edition of the Travers Stakes. That triumph gave the chestnut son of Noble Mission (GB) his first career Grade 1 victory and earned him 80 points among poll voters, good enough to land in the tenth position this week.
Code of Honor now has three graded wins this year having previously captured the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. The runner-up via disqualification in the Kentucky Derby, Code of Honor joins multiple Grade 1-winner Maximum Security as the only 3-year-olds in the Top Thoroughbred Poll with the latter just one point ahead (81 points) in ninth.
“We have won three graded stakes now this year. His race record, when you look at it, (is) pretty darned good,” McGaughey said of Code of Honor after his Travers success. “And I would have to think…he's going to be one of them they're going to be talking about.”
Multiple Grade 1-winner Bricks and Mortar remains the runaway poll leader with 37 first-place votes and 431 points, but top distaffer Midnight Bisou snagged 5 first-place votes and 360 points to take over the No. 2 position from McKinzie (2 first-place votes, 336 points), who drops one spot. Midnight Bisou was part of one of the most thrilling races of 2019 when she caught rival Elate at the wire to capture the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes on the Travers undercard and remain unbeaten in six starts this year.
Before Midnight Bisou threw it down in the Personal Ensign, her stablemate Mitole delivered his own impressive outing in taking Saturday's Grade 1 Forgeo Stakes – his third top-level victory of the season. That effort earned Mitole 298 points, moving him up to fourth overall in the poll. Reigning champion turf female Sistercharlie (IRE), third in last week's poll, dipped to fifth with 277 points while World of Trouble (141 points) holds in the sixth position.
The end result didn't go her way in the Personal Ensign but Elate's brave effort actually moved the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro up two spots to seventh with 98 points. Imperial Hint (87 points) is eighth with Maximum Security and Code of Honor rounding out the order.
The Top Thoroughbred Poll wraps up November 4 after the running of the Breeders' Cup.
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.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.