Shifman: Maximum Security has room to grow in NTRA Top 10

September 17, 2019 10:30am
Shifman: Maximum Security has room to grow in NTRA Top 10
Photo: Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO

The Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby takes the main stage on Saturday as two of the three top 3-year-olds in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll will go to the starting gate at Parx Racing.

Currently, Maximum Security is ranked No. 12 by votes, while Mr. Money sits in the 23rd spot. Those two will clash as the No. 8-ranked Code of Honor prepares to take on older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) on September 28.

The 3-year-olds have held a prominent position in my ballot throughout the year, which is probably more of the exception than the rule when compared to the consensus results. Currently, I have ranked Maximum Security, Code of Honor and Mr. Money as my No. 8, 9 and 10 horses.

Last week in this space
, I expressed my bewilderment about the omission of Maximum Security from the consensus Top 10. A victory by the Jason Servis runner in the Pennsylvania Derby would mark his third Grade 1 win of the season, and you can't completely discount him crossing the wire first in the Kentucky Derby, either.

If Maximum Security delivers as the favorite at Parx Racing, I would be compelled to vote him above Code of Honor, likely in the range of No. 5 on my Top Thoroughbred Poll ballot.

Mr. Money
comes into Saturday's race sporting four Grade 3 victories in a row and a chance to win over a lot more voters if he can pass this class test. The Goldencents colt took all four of those races impressively with clear-cut margins of victory and a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in the Indiana Derby. Speed figures at that level have been rare in the 3-year-old division this year. The Bret Calhoun trainee obviously already has my respect.

The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll began back on January 28 and concludes after the Breeders' Cup. Given we're well past the midpoint, I thought it would be worth looking back at how other horses have progressed, regardless of age. Here's how the current first five ranked when the poll debuted:

Bricks and Mortar
(No. 1) was in the second position off a win in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and took over the top spot on April 9. He remains unbeaten this year.

Midnight Bisou
(No. 2), who is currently riding a six-race win streak in 2019, cracked the rankings on March 19 after her victory in the Azeri (G2) at Oaklawn Park.

(No. 3) showed up in the poll in early February with a second-place finish in the San Pasqual (G2) to his credit. He had back class, however, as a two-time Grade 1 winner at age 3.

(No. 4) cracked the Top 10 for the first time on May 6 at fifth after stepping up to win the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) on Kentucky Derby day.

(No. 5) has been ranked since February 12 based on her 2018 Top Turf Female Eclipse Award. The Chad Brown star debuted later than anticipated but backed up the voters’ confidence with two Grade 1 scores to get going in the summer.


 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

1.   Bricks and Mortar (29)

 1. Bricks and Mortar

 2. Midnight Bisou (4)

 2. Midnight Bisou

 3. McKinzie (4)

 3. Mitole

 4. Mitole

 4. Sistercharlie

 5. Sistercharlie

 5. McKinzie

 6. Catalina Cruiser

 6. Catalina Cruiser

 7. World of Trouble

 7. Preservationist

 8. Code of Honor

 8. Maximum Security

 9. Elate

 9. Code of Honor

 10. Imperial Hint

 10. Mr. Money 


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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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