He can beat two Triple Crown race winners and the Haskell
winner in one race. He can beat the horse that went on to win
the Wood Memorial. He can beat the winner of the Dwyer Stakes. Stay Thirsty is
not the Rodney Dangerfield of the Pletcher barn, he is the Rodney Dangerfield
Here is a horse that has beaten the Kentucky Derby winner,
Preakness winner, and Belmont winner in one season and gets no respect.
Instead, two of the very horses he beat are being considered the top of his
division, while he is not. Animal Kingdom has one grade one win and a grade
three. That gives him a total of two graded stakes. Stay Thirsty has a grade
one, a grade two, and a grade three to his credit. This gives him three graded
stakes to his credit. Edge, Stay Thirsty. Both have finished ahead of the other
and both have a grade one win at a track that is prestigious. Tie. Overall Stay
Thirsty gets the edge because of the number of graded stakes wins.
Shackleford and Stay Thirsty have faced off four times, in
the Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby, Belmont, and Travers. Shackleford finished
ahead of Stay Thirsty in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby, but later down
the road Stay Thirsty edged Shackleford in the Belmont and Travers. Head to head
match ups ends in a tie. Now we go to performances in graded stakes. Both won
or placed in five graded stakes, so again, a tie. The final tie breaker goes to
number of wins in graded stakes. Shackleford has one, the Preakness. Stay
Thirsty has three, the Gotham, Jim Dandy, and Travers Stakes. Edge goes to Stay
Amazing that Stay Thirsty has the best merits of any Classic
winning three year old, but merits no respect from the racing public. Steven
Crist wrote that the award of Three Year Old Male was between Caleb’s Posse
and Animal Kingdom, when Animal Kingdom has the least credentials of the three
Caleb’s Posse, who Crist mentioned, is a two time grade one
winner and has won or place in six graded stakes races this year, as opposed to
Stay Thirsty’s one grade one and five graded stakes placings. The two never met
head to head, so one would believe it would be Caleb’s Posse who gets the edge.
He has the edge over Stay Thirsty in graded stakes wins, graded stakes
placings, and grade one wins, but there is one problem. Racing has a stigma.
Caleb’s Posse has never won a graded stakes beyond a mile, and that may cost
him the championship.
Is it right that there is that stigma? No it’s not, but
unless racing changes drastically, it will always be there. So, with these
facts in mind, why did Crist name Animal Kingdom over Stay Thirsty, when the
latter has the best credentials? Is it that he only was able to dominate in New
York? If so, I must ask, did any other horse dominated in the division the way
that Thirsty did? Did they dominate in another state or in multiple states? The
answer is no. No other horse could dominate in just one state or multiple,
giving Thirsty the edge, despite dominating in just one state.
So, with those final thoughts, I’ll conclude by saying Crist is dead wrong. The award is not between Animal Kingdom and Caleb’s
Posse. If Caleb’s Posse does not win the award then it should go to Stay
Thirsty. He raced and dominated the tracks than more than any other classic
runner. He has been in the shadow all year long. It’s time to let him out and
give him the respect he deserves.