Each week the NTRA conducts two “Top Thoroughbred Polls”. One poll
is exclusively for three year-olds and the other poll is open to all divisions.
The voters are given no specific guidelines to aid in the voting process. Thus, we all have created our own
criteria for the polls. For
instance, I decided not to vote for any horse that had not yet run, so Acclamation has not appeared in my top
tens and I waited to include To Honor And Serve until he won the Westchester on April 28th.
Alternation rallied to defeat a
very strong field in the Pimlico Special for his fourth win in as many starts
and his first victory in 2012 away from Oaklawn Park. I'll Have Another powered past Bodemeister to win the Preakness and give him a chance at becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner.
The subjectivity of the voting process led to some debate about the poll
results for May 21st. I’ll Have Another was the unanimous number one selection in the three
year-old poll, but in the poll for all divisions he was ranked in second behind
Alternation. Even though I’ll Have Another received 24 first place votes, Alternation
8, Wise Dan 8, To Honor and Serve 3, Awesome Maria 1, Shackleford 1, and Game
On Dude 1; Alternation got the top spot because he accumulated 358 points to
I’ll Have Another’s 331 points.
I asked six turf writers to comment about this week’s poll results
and the reasoning that they used as they decided for whom to cast their
"Right now I believe I'll Have Another is
the top 3-year-old in the nation but I don't believe he's the best horse in the
country. Currently, he is competing in restricted races - races limited to just
3-year-olds. If he were to face older horses, he'd be getting weight from them.
He could turn out to be the best horse in the nation but right now, at this
moment, I believe he's not."
Bossert, New York
“Until 3yo's face elders and prove
themselves superior, top handicap horse(s) get a slight nod to
my way of thinking. Is I'll Have Another better than Wise Dan right
now? It's close and by Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup
or Goodwood he and/or Bodemeister may be, but for now I'll side
with the elder. Looking at the Preakness v. PIM Special, it's pretty clear
the top pair from Saturday would have bested everyone that ran
Friday. It's just great to have what feels like an actual glut of
rock solid horses in most every division this year.”
Byk, host of At the Races on
Sirius satellite radio
“I view the overall poll as a measure of who I think is the best
horse in training. Since I'll Have Another has yet to face elders I didn't want
to rank him among Wise Dan or Successful Dan, but he's clearly the best three
--Ed DeRosa, Director of Marketing for
Brisnet.com, blogging for TwinSpires.com
“I’ll Have Another seemed like an obvious choice to
me. He's just won two of the three or four most important races in the country
and is one win away from immortality. There are plenty of good horses out
there, but considering his accomplishments, which also include the Santa Anita
Derby, this seemed like a no-brainer. He has won three grade I’s this year,
while the horse in first place has won none. Go figure.”
Finley, co-host of Down
the Stretch on Sirius satellite radio, columnist for espn.com
“Four consecutive graded stakes wins
(three grade I’s) at four different distances at three different racetracks.
I’ll Have Another won two classics. Racing's star attraction. It was a
no-brainer for me.”
Haskin, senior editor, The Blood Horse (via Twitter)
"I've voted I'll Have Another #1 overall
since the Derby, and after the Preakness, how could you not? He's undefeated
this year in four graded stakes, including the two most important races run in
America so far. If the year ended today, I consider him an easy choice as Horse
of the Year, and if he wins the Belmont, you can pencil him in as the 2012
Horse of the Year."
--Brian Zipse, Managing Editor, HorseRacingNation.com
There is no doubt that
there are more top quality horses racing in 2012 then we have seen in many many
years. Which horse is the best? Let the debate continue!