There were few changes on this week’s HRN Division Rankings, with an exception the turf males after Hi Happy won his second graded stakes. Now in the care of trainer Todd Pletcher, the South American Group 1 winner became an American Grade 1 winner last weekend in Belmont Park’s Man o’ War Stakes.
to the connections of Good Magic and their sporting gesture to run the horse
back in the 2018 Preakness Stakes. We need more decisions like this. Just because your horse
lost the Kentucky Derby to a seemingly tough winner doesn’t mean you can’t
come back in two weeks and turn the tables. Many have proven that in the past.
Magic has every right to improve, especially if he catches a dry track. He
has a much better chance than most think this weekend. Do not count out some of
the others in the supporting cast, either. If the two–week turnaround, and five races in
roughly 12 weeks catch up to Justify, he could be off the board. Remember
last year: Always Dreaming was bet down to even money and thought of as a
cinch. In 2013 Orb was an even stronger favorite and was up the track.
Given that, here is an updated look at HRN’s Division Rankings:
Older Dirt Males
1. West Coast – Winless on the year, but I
still feel he is the best up to nine furlongs in this division right now. Bob Baffert says he’s stabled at Churchill Downs and “just walking” for now.
2. City of Light – Not thought of as only
a sprinter anymore. This guy is the real deal now with three straight graded
stakes wins, and the Met Mile appears to be next.
3. Accelerate – Ran a game race in
the Oaklawn Handicap, but City of Light proved to be too much. It was 10
lengths back to the third-place finisher.
4. Backyard Heaven – In
his first stakes start, he passed the test with flying colors defeating Good
Samaritan in Churchill Downs’ Alysheba.
5. Good Samaritan – No
real excuse when beaten by more than five lengths by Backyard Heaven.
5: Sharp Azteca, Collected, Pavel, Mubtaahij, Army Mule.
Older Dirt Females
1. Abel Tasman – The Eclipse Award-winner will get another shot given she jumped straight back to the Grade 1
level off a layoff.
2. Unique Bella – Still searching
for her first win outside of her home base of California and her first Grade 1
win around two turns. Her next race will likely be the Grade 1 Beholder Mile June 2 against
Paradise Woods, Selcourt, and Fault.
3. Salty – Finally was able to defeat her rival, Abel Tasman. Back to
two turns, she was very impressive in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes on Derby weekend.
4. Fault – The former turf star has found a new home on the dirt, with the
Adooration her second straight graded stakes win since moving to the main track.
The Beholder Mile is next up for this rising star.
5. Paradise Woods – Should be more
effective around two turns and go next in the stacked Beholder Mile.
5: Elate, Unbridled Mo, Vale Dori, Martini Glass, Lockdown.
1. Justify – Was much the best in the Kentucky
Derby, a truly remarkable achievement considering the circumstances.
Will be tough to beat in the Preakness, especially if the track is off, but there’s no guarantee in this spot given the lack of foundation.
2. Good Magic – Bravo to his
connections for entering this son of Curlin in the Preakness. Will try to
emulate his sire in the Preakness by avenging his Kentucky Derby defeat to
Justify. Will be very tough to beat on Saturday. Don’t be surprised to see him
in the winners circle.
3. Audible – The big three here
have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. This guy came with his run
after being shuffled back to 12th early on in theDerby. He’s a major player in what appears
to be deep division right now. Could go next in the Belmont.
4. Bolt d’Oro – Tried his best to
stay with Justify. But, whether it was the track condition, the distance, the
competition, or a combination of all of them, it was too much. The
connections have made the curious choice to take him to the Met Mile for his
next start. He will be a longshot against a stacked older male field
5. Magnum Moon – Never had a chance in the
Derby as he was banged around and jostled early, middle, and late. The track
condition did not help, either. A return to dry conditions will serve him well
in his next start.
Next 5: Vino Rosso, McKinzie, Hofburg, My
Boy Jack, Analyze It.
1. Monomoy Girl – Showed the heart
of a champion in turning away rival Wonder Gadot in the stretch of the Kentucky
Oaks. The Grade 1 Acorn on Belmont Stakes day will be next.
2. Midnight Bisou – Came with her
run in the stretch as the Oaks favorite but it was not enough, as she had to settle for
third, beaten little more than four lengths.
3. Caledonia Road – Impressive
in her seasonal debut at Belmont with an easy win outside of stakes company. She will meet Monomoy Girl
in the Acorn.
4. Wonder Gadot – The added distance is
just what this filly needed as she gave Monomoy Girl all she could handle in
the Oaks. Would like to see her finish off her races with a win instead of
settling for second.
5. Dream Tree – This unbeaten filly topped Midnight Bisou twice last year and was primed for a
rematch this year before she went to the sidelines.
Eskimo Kisses, Mia Mischief, My Miss Lilly, Blamed, Moonshine Memories.
1. World Approval – The Grade 1
Kilroe Mile marked his first loss since June of last year, but he has earned
his place here and will maintain his hold for at least another race. Should return Preakness weekend.
2. Heart to Heart – Two straight Grade 1
wins, the latest in dominant fashion the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland, has this
guy in the best form of his career and a real threat to World Approval’s hold
as the top-ranked horse on the grass.
3. Beach Patrol – Ran well in his
seasonal debut beaten less than a length at a distance that may not be his
best. Look for him to appear next on Belmont day in the Grade 1 Manhattan.
4. Hi Happy – The former star from
Argentina has finally acclimated to U.S. racing having won his first Grade 1
event in this country this past weekend. With two graded stakes wins in a row,
he is building confidence, and will be tough horse to beat moving forward.
5. Yoshida – The talent has always been there for
this Japanese-bred, and the win over Beach Patrol may be the start of something
new. A trip to Royal Ascot is next.
Next 5: Oscar
Performance, Synchrony, Bigger Picture, Itsinthepost, Analyze It.
1. Sistercharlie – Was a major player
overseas last year placing in a Group 1 and then shipping here to just miss in
last June’s Belmont Oaks. In her first start since that effort, she delivered a
facile victory in Keeneland’s Jenny Wiley.
2. Fourstar Crook – Validated her last win
with a nice runner-up effort to the top one here. Is the real deal, and will
tough to beat moving forward.
3. Off Limits – Ran better in her
second start this year but had to settle for the show spot in the Grade 1 Jenny
Wiley with no real excuse.
4. Hawksmoor – Beaten a nose in her 2018
debut at Laurel Park, that race should have her ready for bigger goals ahead.
5. Rushing Fall – Suffered her first
loss, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort as she battled with Daddy is a Legend
for much of the Grade 3 Edgewood, put that one away in the stretch, only to have Toinette
sweep on by at the wire to win by a neck.
5: Dona Bruja, Cambodia, Grand Jete, War Flag, Holy Helena.
1. Roy H – Had every chance in the
stretch to pass X Y Jet but just could not muster enough late punch in the
Dubai Golden Shaheen. The 2017 Eclipse Award winner is not taken down from this
spot because of one loss. He has earned his place here for at least another race.
2. X Y Jet – Ran a superb race in
Dubai after being headed for the lead at the outset. He looked home free with
200 yards to go but was again nailed on the wire in Dubai, much like he was two
3. Mind Your Biscuits – Pulled
off a remarkable win against the track bias in defeating a superstar field that
included our Top 2. As honest as they come, another quality win like Dubai
could move him up even higher. He will also point to the Met Mile for his next
4. City of Light – Still
one of the top sprinters in the country, but now this guy has bigger goals to
look forward to.
5. Army Mule – Impressed in the Grade 1
Carter, and could be a future star, but news this week that he’s sidelined means this position is only temporary.
5: Limousine Liberal, Imperial Hint, Whitmore, American Anthem, Coal Front.
1. Selcourt – The clear leader of the
female sprinter division has her sights set on bigger goals now, the Grade 1
Beholder Mile against stars Unique Bella, Fault, and Paradise Woods.
2. American Gal – Was very
impressive in the Humana Distaff defeating an outstanding field rather easily.
The top two here have widened the gap from the others.
3. Finley’sluckycharm – The
Humana Distaff marked her first loss at Churchill down after six straight wins
4. Skye Diamonds – Didn’t run well
at all in the Humana Distaff but also may not have cared for the track
condition. She’s still among the best in this division.
5. Ami’s Mesa – The Breeders’ Cup Filly
& Mare Sprint runner-up had a tough 2018 debut in the Madison and was only
beaten a little over a length. Has every right to improve next out.
Next 5: Ivy
Bell, Lewis Bay, Miss Sunset, Curlins Approval, Princess Karen.