Thursday, September 13, 2007

Top 10 Turf Males

Point systems are not an all encompassing way to rank horses, sometimes its fun to rank them based on your own opinion of their accomplishments, talents and the prognosis of their future accomplishments. I do believe the TCR gets the ranking right in the end most of the time but it only assesses after the fact, it makes no predictions.

The Turf division seems pretty open right now. Here is how the TCR point system ranks them and below is my opinion of how things are at the moment in this tight group.

TCR Top 10 Turf Males
1. After Market - 204.50
2. Jambalaya - 191.70
3. Sky Conqueror - 140.00
4. English Channel - 139.40
5. Doctor Dino - 120.00
6. On The Acorn - 113.70
7. The Tin Man - 109.60
8. Kip Deville - 98.76
9. Red Giant - 96.18
10. Remarkable News - 90.20

1. Sky Conqueror 5-2-1-1
Upset in his last race and won't be in the BC but he is the best turf horse out there in terms of all around ability. I wish his connections would give him a more buccaneering campaign. He's ventured south of the border only twice and never in any race past 9f. Races like the Arlington Million, Sword Dancer or Man O'War were surely in his scope. Instead they preferred the Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine likely followed by the Sky Classic then Canadian International. Although I think he's the best his campaign makes it unlikely that he'll be able to achieve the top TCR rating or retain my respect.

2. Jambalaya 6-3-0-3
Aside from Sky Conqueror no one seems to be able to beat him, especially in route races away from Woodbine. It's an interesting quirk with this Woodbine based horse that he seems to do his worst running at Woodbine itself. He is 5-4-0-1 away from Woodbine with his only loss coming in an 8.5f race. This horse has a specific forte, going long and tracking a slow pace. If he gets those two things he's very tough to beat and he may well be North America's best hope of staving off the Europeans in the Breeders Cup.

3. After Market 7-4-0-0
One of the most brilliant Turf horses you'll ever see. Many Turf stars seem to be more relentless than brilliant but this guys got the package. The thing he doesn't have though is the ability to overcome adversity. He needs firm Turf and you can't always guarantee that in the East. To me he is kind of like Beat Hollow, a very good horse but one that was not built to win at the BC. He won't win the Mile and he doesn't stay 12f he is a 9-10f horse. I thought his win in the Del Mar Handicap was more a worrying sign than anything.

4. The Tin Man 3-1-2-0
One of the true class benchmarks, I still think he is capable of beating everyone including some nice Europeans on the right day. I'd love to see him in the BC Turf and get loose on the lead. People forget that he was twice 4th in the BC Turf in very tough fields and that his best career BSF came at 12f. Being ranked 4th is perhaps a little high based on just 3 starts this year but I truly think he'll win a big race before the year is out.

5. English Channel 5-2-2-0
A good horse but will never really be better than he is. He'll win some G-1's but he's not a champion. Much is being made of the fact that the BC Turf is at Monmouth and he's 2 for 2 over the course, don't fall into that trap he's no more likely to win the race this year than he was last year. The distance finds him out when facing top class competition.

6. Better Talk Now 3-1-0-1
Lovable but essentially English Channel's equal in terms of talent. He does a bit better at 12f but he's an unlikely champ as well. I fully expect him to be competitive in every start he makes. Motion is a master at keeping his older horses going at a high level and he's also a master at getting them to run big on the right day.

7. Crossing The Line 3-3-0-0
Has a lot of untapped talent but I suspect we won't really see it this year. He is unlikely to be in the BC Mile despite having the distinction of being the best North American candidate for the race. Crossing The Line is a 5yo miler from New Zealand who is still learning the game. He's only had 6 career starts and only horse one has has beaten him. Although his winning margins have not been huge no horse in North America has really stretched him. Unfortunately because of eligibility he will likely run in the Oak Tree Mile then the Citation. That won't leave him with any chance of being champion.

8. Remarkable News 4-3-0-0
A very good horse who is likely most effective at 9f. That means he'll probably never be given the credit he's due by voters and because of his selective schedule he is unlikely to be the top ranked horse on points either. You have to take on G-1 company nearly all year to be successful in the Turf Division. The Woodbine Mile this weekend will be his first try at the top level this year. If he wins the Woodbine Mile he'll be a very dangerous horse in the BC Mile but I suspect his class makes him good at a mile while his true calling is 9f races.

9. Sunriver 6-2-1-1
Good quality speed horse who is still relatively inexperienced on the grass. I could see him improving further. He is unlikely to win a BC race and is almost a clear bet against for this year's BC but he is already nearly at the level of English Channel after only 4 career Turf starts. If his connections give him time he could easily become a class benchmark for the division for years to come. He is maybe more likely for the Canadian International.

10. Red Giant 7-4-2-0
Looks like best equipped 3yo to handle the step up to routing with the big boys although likely not this year. He may be in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic but with English Channel around Pletcher may decide to by pass it and just keep him under the radar. If he does show up on BC Preview day at Belmont watch out. I think we'll see him take some big steps forward towards the end of this year and into next year. The flop of Shamdinan does nothing to diminish his stature in my mind. I thought Shamdinan was due for a regression. He may be another horse that Pletcher sends to Canada.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great posts on BC Future Look, Tips For Enjoying the Trail,and
Top 10 Turf Males.

It appears that the Arlington Million may become a Key race with the win by Dr. Dino. As mentioned here, Jambalaya might end up being state sides' best hope.

I could be my imagination, but it seems that there is better, reliable and understandable information about the Euro horses especially in the DRF. It gives the handicapper more confidence.

I think it would be a great idea for Baffert to run Midnight Lute in the BC Sprint. I don't know what his intentions are and/or if he would have to supplement or something. Perhaps ML is a 'win and your in' horse.

Thanks, chicago gerry