The changing landscape in the sophomore ranks continues to be reflected in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll as two newcomers enter the top 10 this week.
Regally-bred Tacitus, the first foal out of champion Close Hatches, lived up to his elite bloodlines when he set a stakes-record while winning the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby this past Saturday. Juddmonte Farms' homebred son of Tapit prevailed in his first start since breaking his maiden last November and enters the 3-Year-Old Poll in the sixth position with 150 points.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Haikal also had a breakout effort this past weekend. Shadwell Stable's homebred son of Daaher put in a determined drive to defeat a field that included Grade 1 winners Mind Control and Knicks Go as well as previously unbeaten Instagrand in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. Haikal earned 88 points from poll voters, good enough to put him eighth after previously being unranked.
“He showed me every indicator that he'll excel the further the distance goes, so that's not anything that I'm concerned about,” said Rajiv Maragh, jockey of Haikal. “I'm actually looking forward to him running those long distances.”
Reigning juvenile male champion Game Winner continues his occupancy of the top spot with 31 first-place votes and 396 points. Multiple graded stakes winner War of Will (7 first-place votes, 362 points) is second with Improbable (5 first-place votes, 315 points) third.
Code of Honor (295 points) sits fourth with Mucho Gusto (228) fifth. Bourbon War (113 points) is one spot below Tacitus in seventh with Country House (60) and Gunmetal Gray (57) ninth and tenth, respectively.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll once again had relatively little movement in its ranks. The retired City of Light, winner of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and this year's $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, still holds the top position with 33 first-place votes and 339 points followed by champions Monomoy Girl (8 first-place votes, 326 points) and Roy H (315 points).
Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational winner Bricks and Mortar (2 first-place votes, 256 points) is fourth with Grade 1 winner McKinzie (198) in fifth. Seeking the Soul (152 points) is sixth followed by champion turf female Sistercharlie (129), Accelerate (111), Battle of Midway (78), and Marley's Freedom (77).
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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