How many important college
basketball games have you watched that have ended with fans chanting, “We're number 1
?” Those fans are usually cheering about their
team’s ascension to the top of their poll.
Thoroughbred racing just
completed the 2012 Breeders’ Cup and it is time for me to cast my vote for the
final NTRA Top 10 Poll
. There were
great performances that secured spots on the poll and there were also
disappointing efforts that left some horses out.
1) Wise Dan
– He capped a fantastic year with yet another powerful
closing move and defeated a field full that included the top European runners. The win in
the Mile was Wise Dan’s third grade one in a row and his fifth graded stakes
victory in six tries. Horse of the Year honors does not usually go to a turf
miler, but Wise Dan should receive that Eclipse award.
2) Fort Larned
– He secured his number two spot with a great victory
in racing’s most important stake, the Classic. Fort Larned defeated a strong
field, which included fan favorite and recent NTRA number 2, Game on Dude.
3) Royal Delta
– Royal Delta won the Ladies Classic for the second
consecutive year and in doing so defeated what many considered to be the best
field in this year’s Breeders’ Cup. There will be some who will consider her
for Horse of the Year.
4) Groupie Doll
– No horse has dominated their division like Groupie
Doll. She ended the year with five consecutive graded stakes wins as she made
it clear that she is the best sprinter in North America. I’d love to see a
Groupie Doll versus Black Caviar match-up.
5) Little Mike
– Just when you have discounted Little Mike’s status
among the thoroughbred leaders he comes back with another big victory. First
the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May, and then the Arlington Million and
now the big one, the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
6) Shanghai Bobby
– He totally dominated the two year-old ranks with
one gutsy performance after another and there was none more so than in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Santa
Anita track announcer Trevor Denman proclaimed Bobby as “exhausted” at the top
of the stretch, yet he fought back to win his third graded race.
7) I'll Have Another
– The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner sat
atop my poll for many weeks, but it was time to move the likely three year-old
champion down the list.
8) Point of Entry
– A troubled trip left him in second place in the
Breeders’ Cup Turf and that ended a three race grade one winning streak.
9) My Miss Aurelia
– Her undefeated record ended in the Ladies Classic
when she finished a determined second to the older Royal Delta. I am looking
forward to match-ups between those two in 2013.
– She impressed me with her second place finish
in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies after I had dismissed her chances in that
race. With her five wins in her prior five races, there should be an
interesting debate about the Ecilpse award between her and Beholder.