NTRA Poll for September 17: A Review

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2012

NTRA Poll for September 17: A Review

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    As racing moves into the fall season, the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll has a few significant changes since the last time we reviewed it.

    While some of the horses are the same, a couple of new names have made their way onto the chart, booting others. With less than two months until the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in California, this poll gives fans an inside look at whom the media believes the top horses are at this time.

    It’s no surprise that those on this poll are also the horses that are getting the most attention in the months leading up to America’s biggest weekend of racing.

No. 10: Acclamation

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    Since August 14, the last time Bleacher Report looked at the poll, Acclamation has dropped from the No. 6 spot to the No. 10 spot.

    This is no surprise as the horse has only run twice in 2012. However, they were both Grade One victories. His last start was planned to be the G1 Pacific Classic in August, but a small injury forced him to miss the race.

No. 9: Dullahan

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    With Acclamation out of the Pacific Classic, Dullahan rolled to victory ahead of Game On Dude. The three-year-old colt’s victory was his second Grade One win of the year and came after two off-the-board finishes.

    The win was his first against elders and his third in his career. The Even the Score colt’s three career victories have all come in Grade One races.

No. 8: Questing

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    Questing (GB) has made her way to this list after back-to-back victories in Grade One races.

    Surprisingly, she won her first Grade One after a three-and-three-quarter length win in an Allowance race. Before that win, the filly had put in a string of small disappointments in Allowance company this year.

    She is the only female on the list this week.

No. 7: To Honor and Serve

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    To Honor And Serve is yet another new horse to this list. Like the rest of his career, he has had a very up-and-down year.

    He started 2012 with a win in the G3 Westchester Stakes, before finishing third and fourth respectively in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap and Suburban Handicap. He beat top older horse Mucho Macho Man by a neck in the G1 Woodward Stakes to move up into serious talks for his division.

No. 6: I’ll Have Another

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    Even after retirement, I’ll Have Another is still sitting strong in the poll. Even more surprising, is the fact that he has moved up two spots into the No. 6 spot since I last reviewed the poll.

    I’ll Have Another won two legs of the Triple Crown (among other races) before a tendon injury forced his retirement. He is the only retired horse on the list.

No. 5: Fort Larned

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    Fort Larned is another “oldie” on the list.

    He is riding the wave of two Graded Stakes wins this summer (and four wins overall on the year) and has moved up to No. 5. Outside of the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap and a Handicap at Tampa Bay in February, Fort Larned has hit the board five times in his seven starts this year.

    He is also currently ranked in the 16th spot by Earnings on Equibase with $798,455 won this year.

No. 4: Mucho Macho Man

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    Mucho Macho Man is coming off a second place finish behind To Honor And Serve in the September 1 G1 Woodward Stakes.

    The four-year-old son of Macho Uno is one of the top older horses in the nation and has hit the board in all five of his races this year, with three of those being wins. Mucho Macho Man’s $812,767 in earnings ranks him 15th on the Earnings list and he received two first place votes this week on the poll.

No. 3: Ron the Greek

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    Ron The Greek continues to keep Bill Mott prominent on the list with the third position.

    Ron the Greek’s last start was a second in the G1 Whitney Invitational Handicap behind Fort Larned. So far this year, the five-year-old horse hasn’t finished worse than second, with three places and two wins to his name for $1,022,932 in earnings.

No. 2: Game on Dude

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    Game On Dude has lost his No. 1 position since the last time we reviewed the poll, falling to the second spot by 50 points.

    Game On Dude was last seen finishing second to Dullahan in the G1 Pacific Classic for only his second loss of the year in five starts and first North American loss. His next start looks to be the Awesome Again Stakes with a new jockey.

    However, his ultimate goal looks to be the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race he finished second in last year.

No. 1: Wise Dan

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    Wise Dan has overtaken the No. 1 spot after winning the G1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes on September 16.

    The five-year-old gelding has impressed all year as he has wins on all three major North American surfaces in the last 10 months (with a win in the G1 Clark Handicap last November).

    He has shown a major climb in the poll over the last month and a half, going from 10th to third in one week when we reviewed it last month before moving up to No. 1 this month.

    Wise Dan has won three of his four starts this year, finishing second in the other, for $1,092,037. He is possible for multiple Breeders’ Cup races.