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“We’re Number 1. We’re Number 1…”

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.
 
10) Executiveprivilege – 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. 

 

What the Nation is saying about “We’re Number 1. We’re Number 1…” ...

Mucho Macho Man has NEVER won a grade one race.
Mucho Macho Man has NEVER won a grade one race.
I agree with Brian; I'm surprised MMM didn't make your list. However, I do like how far up you have Groupie Doll.
Great minds think alike? Although ... I'm a little surprised to see no Mucho Macho Man on your list.

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 Meet Matt Shifman 
 
 

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

 

Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

 

The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

   

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