I wasn't saying I expect Songbird to regress or Connect to become a superstar, just that it's theoretically possible. I do think Songbird will have to seriously step up her game to continue to be as dominant as she has but there's no reason to think she won't. And I agree that Rachel ran some good ones at 4 but certainly none of her races were on the exceptional level we saw from half of her 3yo starts and her killer instinct wasn't there.
We won't know what Unique Bella is capable of until she is pushed, and if Hollendorfer campaigns her the way he did Songbird last year that probably won't happen until the BC Distaff (and maybe not even then, depending how good she is). But I've followed racing long enough that I feel I can trust my perception of how a horse at this stage in their career passes "the eye test." She seems to be entirely push button, and is ending her races drawing away without apparent effort (contrast with last spring's Songbird who won impressively and was also under wraps but was slowing down and coming back to the field at the end of her races). In my experience that responsiveness/versatility is what allows a horse to handle increases in class and distance and maintain their brilliance while others start looking more ordinary (reminds me of what we saw from Rachel or Bernardini, for example).
But four starts is only the beginning, and we have a long way to go.
Oh yes, that's their prerogative. But another reason I feel weird about including them is that horses, even champions, improve or regress from year to year and we really don't know what level a lot of them will come back at after a long layoff. Songbird could go the way of Silverbulletday and Rachel, while Connect could come back running like Ghostzapper.
If I voted in this poll (which I don't) I would only include horses who had already raced this year (e.g., we know Songbird, Tepin, et al are great but they aren't great this year until they run this year).
2. Gun Runner
3. Shaman Ghost
6. Unique Bella
7. Irish War Cry
8. Midnight Storm
9. Sharp Azteca
Dang, I actually got this one, too! But no chance of beating Chris, that's for sure.
Nice race I guess, but what are they doing breeding a mare like this to the likes of High Cotton?
Abdullah is Saudi royalty, the money is not the object. He is a horseman and a fan of the game, they routinely run their colts to age 6 even in Europe. If they brought Frankel, who was worth much more than Arrogate, back at 4 I don't see why you think they wouldn't do the same here.
American Girl was hung out to dry on both turns in her last two - if her new trainer gives her a new rider she should win her next impressively.
Accelerate has beaten Arrogate before...unlikely to happen again. But he should get second.
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