Aside from the fact that CC is facing open competition and not F3YOs, his races have been far more competitive. Until she at least beats older mares (or CC throws in a clunker) I think she should be ranked lower.
It's still $250k more then the other two, plus the PA Derby still does not have G1 status. The Travers is safe for the moment. The prestige of the other two may be increasing, but that is a good thing, and they do not (at least at this point) infringe on the prestige of the Travers any more than the Preakness or Belmont infringe on the prestige of the Derby. On the other hand, the Whitney has plenty to worry about. Aside from the fact that you've got the Woodward at the end of the meet, you've also got direct West Coast competition now that Del Mar is going back to dirt, not to mention the Stephen Foster, the SA Gold Cup and the JCGC all on different tracks which may suit different horses better. And what if success at the BC convinces Keeneland to jump into the million dollar race competition?
He didn't run poorly at Belmont. He was just tired and hurt. He got over the surface just fine. Having said that, if I were calling the shots I'd aim for the Whitney for his first appearance after the DWC. He's good enough to win the lesser G1s on dirt, especially the short ones like the Whitney. I don't see him as competitive against the turf distance runners who would compete in the Arlington Million. He'd do well against a Wise Dan-less turf mile field, but there's more money in the 9-10f dirt races.
That plus Lea's record outside of Gulfstream make me favor Hopportunity in this one. Lea's only win on the dirt at Churchill was an AOC on a sealed track moved from the turf in a 4 horse field (which tells you that the other three were likely MTO entries, which gives you an idea on how their connections felt about their chances against good competition). A sealed track is closer to Lea's liking, so if by chance that happens I would reconsider Lea. But if we see the usual track bias I love Hopp in this one. Commissioner is very good, you definately want him in your exotics, but time and again has failed to pull it out at the wire against top competition.
I'd want to see who that person is and what his or her prior voting record is like, but it's possible that this person does not believe in voting for horses that have run only in restricted races. I generally go with that way of thinking myself, but having a Triple Crown winner is a special circumstance.
Actually it is very unusual for a 3YO to top the list before the 2nd week of November. But then again this isn't your usual 3YO colt.
Yes I agree, it happened again this year. That's recent history though, juvenile success did give you an indication in the pre-BC days, especially when you look at Triple Crown winners. And AP did have juvenile success, he was the (much deserved) Eclipse winner after all. Allowing him his rest I think improved his chances versus the other recent juvenile standouts.
Suppose you switched the paths American Pharoah and Dortmund took. Not necessarily which March and April races they ran, but the Dec-Feb races before that, with AP having worked more and Dortmund having worked less. I'm not saying I think Dortmund would have won the Triple Crown, but I think he would have had a much better chance of winning one of the three. It was obvious after the Preakness that he was one tired colt. I would not be surprised if he does not return to his previous form, we've all seen that happen.
They would likely break attendance records, so prepare for a crowd.
The way I read that was if he won G1 races *like* the Haskell, Travers and BCC, not necessarily those races exclusively. That said, it makes me wonder if that might sway them to the JCGC or Awesome Again rather than the PA Derby if the contract incentives outweigh the purse + appearance fee differences.
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