The results of Saturday's Pennsylvania Derby have further muddied the race for top 3-year-old male this year, with neither the Kentucky Derby or Preakness winner finishing in the top three. In fact, Connect's performance seems to have flattered that of another sophomore colt, Arrogate. Of the top four finishers in the Pennsylvania Derby, three were well-beaten by Arrogate in the Travers: Gun Runner (3rd Travers, 2nd Pennsylvania Derby), Connect (6th Travers, 1st Pennsylvania Derby), and My Man Sam (8th Travers, 4th Pennsylvania Derby).
Ed DeRosa of twinspires.com opines that while Arrogate was impressive in the Travers, he cannot take down the Eclipse Award without winning again.
“Going back to 1971 when the Eclipse Awards took their current form,” DeRosa said, “no horse has earned champion three-year-old male honors without winning a classic race and/or defeating older horses.”
Based on that historical analysis, DeRosa would still vote for Nyquist as 3-year-old champion due to his Florida and Kentucky Derby victories, despite three straight losses. While Exaggerator has notched three Grade 1 races on the year, his apparent reliance on a wet track makes him a difficult choice for many Eclipse Award voters. And while Creator captured the Arkansas Derby and the Belmont, no 3-year-old champion has taken the award with just a Belmont win (the four that won the Belmont went on to defeat older horses).
That being said, Arrogate need not necessarily win the Breeders' Cup Classic, though a win there would undoubtedly net him the Eclipse. History dictates that he could go on to beat older horses in a race like the Clark Handicap and still be the likely 3-year-old champion.
Read more at twinspires.com.
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