Posted Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Maximum Security's loss leaves Matt Shifman's NTRA Top 10 without a 3-year-old.
Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Is it Bricks and Mortar or Mitole in the early Horse of the Year lead?
Posted Friday, June 07, 2019

On Saturday, DerbyWars.com is offering a $2,000 Belmont Survivor Contest consisting of Races 4-11 -- all Grade 1s on the Belmont Stakes card that ends with the final leg of the Triple Crown.

A spot in this contest costs only $5.75, and every player has the option to purchase up to 12 entries.

As a veteran of DerbyWars' survivor tournaments, I categorize four ways whens selecting my contest horses. Remember, they key is selecting a contender to finish in the Top 3 to keep your entry alive.

The Favorite to Survive:
 The horse that will be selected by the most players.

Alternate:
 A horse that has a good chance to survive but won’t be the top choice. This is the kind you want to use if you think the favorite is vulnerable and could miss the board.

Single:
 A horse that is very likely to survive and allows you to keep all your entries alive.

Spread:
 Try two or three horses across multiple entries in a wide-open race.

Given that, here's how I'm looking to play Saturday's sequence.

Race 4 (Just a Game)

Favorite to Survive:
Rushing Fall
Alternate: Get Stormy

Race 5 (Ogden Phipps)

Favorite to Survive:
Midnight Bisou
Alternate: Come Dancing

Race 6 (Jaipur)

Single:
World of Trouble

Race 7 (Acorn)

Spread:
Guarana, Ce Ce, Cookie Dough

Race 8 (Woody Stephens)

Favorite to Survive:
Mind Control
Alternate: Nitrous

Race 9 (Met Mile)

Favorite to Survive:
McKinzie
Alternate: Firenze Fire

Race 10 (Manhattan)

Single:
Bricks and Mortar

Race 11 (Belmont Stakes)

Favorite to Survive:
Tacitus
Alternate: War of Will

Posted Tuesday, June 04, 2019
A strong renewal of the Met Mile's sure to impact the Top Thoroughbred Poll.
Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Matt Shifman discusses the Gold Cup 1-2 of Vino Rosso and Gift Box.
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Catholic Boy's comeback win has him on the move in top Thoroughbred rankings.
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Despite a Derby DQ, the colt leads 3-year-olds on Matt Shifman's NTRA ballot.
Posted Monday, May 13, 2019
Here's how to include the non-Derby runners in your Preakness wagers.
Posted Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Derby weekend results led to a shakeup in Matt Shifman's NTRA rankings.
Posted Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of the year is in before the most prestigious race of the year, the Kentucky Derby. The likely Derby favorite Omaha Beach remained in the top spot on my ballot in anticipation of the Run for the Roses.

When it comes time to submit my next Top 10 list on Sunday evening, the big question will be: Does the Derby winner deserve the No. 1 spot regardless of who wins the race? That probably depends on what happens in the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Bricks and Mortar
, who is the current consensus leader and second on my list, will make the Turf Classic his second start since winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) back in January. A second Grade 1 victory of the year would likely keep him in the top spot on most ballots. In this week’s poll, he received 13 of the 40 first-place votes but was only 8 total points ahead of Big 'Cap (G1) winner Gift Box.

However, if Omaha Beach prevails in the Derby, it would also give him his second Grade 1. At that point does a victory in The Kentucky Derby trump all others? Would more voters join me in identifying the Richard Mandella trainee as the top thoroughbred in the nation?

Also in action this weekend 
from my Top 10 are Bellafina (No. 7), who is the morning line favorite in the Kentucky Oaks; Alysheba favorite McKinzie (No. 8); and Tacitus (No. 9) in the Kentucky Derby.

No doubt with so many big races to be run at Churchill this weekend that there be will changes the next Top 10 and lots more to discuss than just the No. 1 spot.

 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

 1. Bricks and Mortar

 1. Omaha Beach

 2. Gift Box

 2. Bricks and Mortar

 3. Midnight Bisou

 3. City of Light

 4. Monomoy Girl

 4. Midnight Bisou

 5. McKinzie

 5. Gift Box

 6. Roy H

 6. Coal Front

 7. City of Light

 7. Bellafina

 8. Thunder Snow

 8. McKinzie

 9. World of Trouble

 9. Tacitus

 10. X Y Jet

 10. Vasilika

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Meet Matt Shifman



Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. 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.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.



You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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