Shifman: Maximum Security among Top 10 in Derby aftermath

May 15, 2019 09:48am

If you had any question about the Kentucky Derby's importance or presence of minds in Americans, you only needed to do as I did over the last week: walk around in a Horse Racing Nation jacket, only to receive comments and questions from strangers about the race. It seemed everyone was interested, even those without a monetary interest.

And then maybe, just maybe, the controversy of the disqualification began to die down a bit...but only until Kentucky stewards decided to reignite the flames when they handed down a
15-day suspension to Maximum Security jockey Luis Saez. This time, the heat seems to be coming from anger and not debate, as most racing fans seem to be in agreement that Saez in no way deserved that kind of punishment.

I bring this up because as I sat down to send in my
NTRA Top Thoroughbred ballot for this week, I rearranged my 3-year-olds in the Top 10 to place Maximum Security ahead of the others. He was going to finish first in the Kentucky Derby, and he looks best suited to go on to big things the rest of the year. Country House is sick, out of the Preakness Stakes and now also the Belmont Stakes.

There were no significant races among the older horses this past week and
Bricks and Mortar sits on top of both my list and the consensus Top 10. Still, I must scratch my head when I see first-place votes for Monomoy Girl, who still has not resumed training; for Thunder Snow, who has not run in North America this season; and for City of Light, whose one victory was strong but doesn't carry the same weight as some developing racing resumes.

It is also worth noting the performances from last Saturday by Firenze Fire and Homerique at Belmont Park.
Firenze Fire won the Runhappy Stakes impressively on the same afternoon the French import Homerique stamped herself as yet another Chad Brown turf filly with a big future when she closed rapidly to win the Beaugay (G3).

While fields are coming up large, the Preakness weekend cards do not seem to be a place where the Top 10 horses are going to square off. But the Belmont Stakes festival set for next month will feature some major showdowns. In particular, the
Metropolitan Handicap (G1) is setting up to be a great race featuring McKinzie, Mitole and Coal Front along with new addition Firenze Fire.

 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

 1. Bricks and Mortar (29)

 1. Bricks and Mortar

 2. McKinzie (5)

 2. Gift Box

 3. Gift Box (3)

 3. McKinzie

 4. Midnight Bisou

 4. Maximum Security

 5. Mitole

 5. Midnight Bisou

 6. World of Trouble

 6. Mitole

 7. Monomoy Girl (3)

 7. Country House

 8. Roy H

 8. World of Trouble

 9. Thunder Snow (1)

 9. Coal Front

 10. City of Light (1)

 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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