Shifman: McKinzie jumps up in poll after signature Whitney win

August 06, 2019 08:52am
Shifman: McKinzie jumps up in poll after signature Whitney win

With his victory in the $1 million Whitney at Saratoga, McKinzie got his breakthrough Grade 1 victory in the Older Male division.

Call it what you want.

Trainer Bob Baffert called it, “Sexy”.

I’ll call it the signature win of his 12-race career.

No doubt, it is his most important victory after falling short in other big-name Grade 1s like the Mile Met, the Big ‘Cap, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

His three prior Grade 1 wins came in age-restricted stakes as a 2 and 3-year-old.

With the victory he jumped up to the second spot in the consensus Top 10 in this week’s
NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll and received 13 of the 44 number one votes.

"I've always thought he's the best horse in the country,” Baffert proclaimed. “That's why I was little frustrated with the Met Mile. I think he's getting better and better and as long as he's getting better that's the main thing.

I'm glad that he got the right trip and Mike (Smith, jockey) said he's got him figured out now. He rode him with a lot of confidence. He can be on or off the lead. When they came to him, I got a little bit nervous. I started thinking maybe he doesn't want to go that far, but he's always shown us in his works that he's got more gears.”

Baffert isn’t sure where McKinzie will run next, but he’ll need another race between now and the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2.

"I don't know where we'll go from here,” Baffert pondered. “I'd like to run him one more time before the Breeders' Cup Classic.

"Originally, my plan was to run him in the Met Mile and keep him in California. I said I need to get a sexy win in him and the Whitney - it doesn't get sexier than that."

My Top 10 ballot is very similar to the consensus list in the top half, but in the 6-10 spots I voted for the best 3-year-olds in Maximum Security and Mr. Money and with horses like Concrete Rose and Guarana dominating amongst the 3-year-old fillies, I could no longer find any room for sprinters on the ballot.

This weekend, two Chad Brown runners from the top five will likely be odds-on favorites when Bricks and Mortar and Sistercharlie head to Arlington Park to race in the
Million and the Beverly D. respectively.


 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

1.   Bricks and Mortar (25)

 1. Bricks and Mortar

 2. McKinzie (16)

 2. Midnight Bisou

 3. Midnight Bisou (3)

 3. McKinzie

 4. Mitole

 4. Mitole

 5. Sistercharlie

 5. Sistercharlie

 6. World of Trouble

 6. Maximum Security

 7. Imperial Hint

 7. Mr. Money

 8. Maximum Security

 8. Catalina Cruiser

 9. Seeking the Soul

 9. Concrete Rose

 10. Elate

 10. Guarana


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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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