Shifman: Appreciating special seasons for NTRA poll's Top 4

October 08, 2019 09:19am

With the Breeders’ Cup coming in three weeks and with it the end of voting in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, it's a good time to stop and appreciate the spectacular seasons assembled by the first four horses in the current rankings.

Bricks and Mortar, Midnight Bisou, Sistercharlie and Mitole have a combined record 20 wins from 21 starts, including 13 Grade 1 victories with total earnings this year alone of $8,901,250.

Although
Bricks and Mortar [5: 5-0-0, $4,523,650] has only five starts, those races were spaced about every two months in a campaign that began in January in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) and will likely continue through the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The Chad Brown trainee has the Older Turf Male Eclipse Award wrapped up already with his four Grade 1 wins, and a victory in the Mile would likely give Brown his first Horse of the Year.

Midnight Bisou
[7: 7-0-0, $1,815,000] has also been racing since January without a need for time off, winning at five different tracks with three Grade 1 scores. She, too, has her divisional title wrapped up, and there are scenarios that could give her trainer Steve Asmussen yet another Horse of the Year title with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Sistercharlie
[3: 3-0-0, $906,400] did not start her 2019 campaign until July due to several minor setbacks which included, of all things, a spider bite. Another from Brown's barn, she has raced exclusively in Grade 1 company this year. Going back to 2018, she now has won six consecutive Grade 1 races. She's likely clinched the Eclipse Award for Top turf female for the second year in a row as she heads to Santa Anita to defend her Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf victory.

Mitole
[6: 5-0-1, $1,656,200] began his 2019 campaign in March at Oaklawn Park without having ever won a graded stakes race. The Steve Asmussen trainee took care of that in his second start of the year in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) and from there he added three Grade 1 victories while stretching out in distance. His win in the Met Mile (G1) has defined his career, putting him at the top of both the sprint and older male divisions with a likely try at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in his career finale looming.

Also worth a mention this week: Omaha Beach
returned to the races after a nearly six-month absence and won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G1) with a feat of training by Richard Mandella that is hard to comprehend. Without the resume of a sprinter, Mandella chose to bring the son of War Front back to the races against a field that included older horses and Shancelot, the 3-year-old with the gaudy speed figures.

Omaha Beach secured his second Grade 1 win of the year with a determined run up the rail for which there is not enough superlatives. It was great to see the former 3-year-old division leader return to the Top 10 in the consensus poll with a chance to steal an Eclipse Award with a win in the Breeders’ Cup -- either the Sprint, Dirt Mile or Classic.

 

 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

1.   Bricks and Mortar (27)

 1. Bricks and Mortar

 2. Midnight Bisou (12)

 2. Midnight Bisou

 3. Sistercharlie (1)

 3. Mitole

 4. Mitole (1)

 4. Sistercharlie

 5. McKinzie

 5. Code of Honor

 6. Code of Honor

 6. Vino Rosso

 7. Imperial Hint

 7. Catalina Cruiser

 8. Catalina Cruiser

 8. Imperial Hint

 9. Vino Rosso

 9. McKinzie

 10. Omaha Beach

 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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