Despite suffering his first career defeat at the hands of Omaha Beach this past weekend, reigning juvenile male champion Game Winner still retained the No. 1 spot on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll this week.
In his first start since capturing the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November 2, Game Winner fell a nose short of Omaha Beach in the second division of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes held at Oaklawn Park March 16. That loss did little to take the shine off the Bob Baffert trainee as Game Winner still earned 16 first-place votes and 342 points to hold top poll honors.
War of Will, the expected favorite for Saturday's Grade 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, garnered 14 first-place votes and 336 points to hold second place in the poll. Improbable, who was beaten by Long Range Toddy in the first division of the Rebel, sits third with five first-place votes and 277 points followed by Code of Honor (3 first-place votes, 259 points) and the upstart Omaha Beach (253 points). The latter was previously unranked.
Mucho Gusto earned a single first-place vote to contribute to his total of 159 points, putting him in a tie for sixth with Long Range Toddy, whose late kick allowed him to best previously unbeaten Improbable by a neck.
Tacitus, winner of the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, is eighth with 121 points with Bourbon War (75 points), and Haikal (49) rounding out the top 10. The filly Bellafina (18 points) received a single first-place vote.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll can claim a new leader as champion filly Monomoy Girl (11 first-place votes) earned 339 points to take over the top spot from multiple Grade 1 winner City of Light. Champion sprinter Roy H (317 points) also moved up one spot to second place as City of Light, who retired following his victory in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 26, fell to third with 280 points despite garnering 28 first-place votes.
Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational winner Bricks and Mortar (2 first-place votes, 251 points) is fourth with Grade 1 winner McKinzie (1 first-place vote, 187 points) fifth. Midnight Bisou (176 points) joins the top 10 in sixth off the strength of her victory in the Grade 2 Azeri Stakes followed by Seeking the Soul (143) and champion turf female Sistercharlie (121). Marley's Freedom and Accelerate tied for ninth with 72 points apiece.
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 4 after the running of the Breeders' Cup.
The Top 3-Year-Old Poll concludes June 8 after the Belmont Stakes.
The full results for the NTRA Thoroughbred Poll can be found on the NTRA website at:
Full accounting of top 10 votes by voter can be found at:
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