Shifman: Derby weekend results shake up my NTRA Top 10

May 08, 2019 08:50am

The controversial disqualification of the Kentucky Derby winner stole the spotlight this past weekend, but several noteworthy performances on the undercards led to major changes in my ballot for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.

By taking the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1), Bricks and Mortar
extended his win streak to four since he returned in December from his extended layoff. Chad Brown’s top-ranked thoroughbred now has won two Grade 1s and a Grade 2 this year and secured 25 of the 42 No. 1 votes in this week’s poll, up from 13 last week. On Saturday, he was confidently handled by Irad Ortiz Jr. to rally from ninth in the late going.

went into the Alysheba (G2) looking for his first win of the year, and he came through with the fastest performance of the weekend when he earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure. For a while it looked like the Bob Baffert trainee was struggling when he raced along the inside. But once Mike Smith swung him clear to the outside, McKinzie surged to an almost five-length victory. At his best, McKinzie is formidable, and hopefully a rematch between him and Gift Box will come this summer to establish a clear leader in the Older Male Handicap division.

It would have been impossible to predict all that happened in the past week in and around the Kentucky Derby. My former No. 1 overall horse and Derby favorite
Omaha Beach was scratched from the race, and then for the first time ever the first horse across the wire, Maximum Security, was disqualified due to interference.

I had no choice but to move Omaha Beach down on my ballot which allowed 
Country House, placed the winner, and Maximum Security to move into the Top 10 after their performances in America’s most prestigious race.

stretched out to seven furlongs for the first time and delivered a powerful run. In a race that looked like it was loaded with early pace that would challenge the speedy son of Eskendereya, he sat a stalking trip and overwhelmed the field down the stretch, giving Steve Asmussen one of three Grade 1 wins at Churchill Downs on the weekend. For the year, Mitole is 3-for-3, and connections have set the Met Mile (G1) as their next goal.

The ease with which
World of Trouble switches surfaces between dirt and turf is special. This Jason Servis trainee backed up his victory in the Carter Handicap (G1) with a front-running score in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2). The win makes me think grass may be his best surface and they have made the Jaipur on Belmont Stakes weekend his next target.

Bellafina, City of Light and Vasilika dropped out of my Top 10 to make room for the horses on the move up. Here's a look:

 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

 1. Bricks and Mortar

 1. Bricks and Mortar

 2. McKinzie

 2. Gift Box

 3. Gift Box

 3. McKinzie

 4. Midnight Bisou

 4. Country House

 5. Mitole

 5. Maximum Security

 6. World of Trouble

 6. Midnight Bisou

 7. Monomoy Girl

 7. Mitole

 8. Roy H

 8. World of Trouble

 9. Thunder Snow

 9. Coal Front

 10. City of Light

 10. Omaha Beach


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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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