Shifman: Bricks and Mortar had his chance at NTRA's No. 1 spot

Shifman: Bricks and Mortar had his chance at NTRA's No. 1 spot
Photo: Hodges Photography

With another victory expected by Bricks and Mortar in the Muniz Memorial (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course this past weekend, I was prepared to move him to No. 1 on my NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll ballot.

The Chad Brown-trained runner shipped to New Orleans to take on fellow graded stakes winners Synchrony, Inspector Lynley and Divisidero in his first start since winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

But the race turned into a fierce head-to-head battle with the 62-1 shot Markitoff. A victory by Bricks and Mortar showed plenty of courage, but the place horse had not won a race in more than a year, even though he had been competitive in graded stakes company this year for Mike Maker.

Bricks and Mortar did beat all of the aforementioned top turf horses, though the narrow margin of victory forced me to reconsider this week’s lead horse.

Bricks and Mortar did earn a 102 Beyer Speed Figure which is the second highest of his career and the victory gave him his second graded stakes victory of 2019.

Still, I just couldn’t help but think back to how impressive City of Light was in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). Thus, I left him in the No. 1 position and will await another horse to come along with two graded stakes victories this season and wow me.

Bricks and Mortar did move up one spot and pushed Battle of Midway down to third on my Top 10.

The fact that five horses received at least one first-place vote from the panel of 43 voters this week is an indication of how wide open the Horse of the Year race is at this point.

Unpredictability continued on the Kentucky Derby trail when the favorites War of Will and Mucho Gusto both lost. War of Will sustained an injury when his back legs went out from under him a few steps out of the gate in the Louisiana Derby (G2). Mucho Gusto was beaten when the pace and the distance were too much for the Bob Baffert trainee in the Sunland Derby (G3).

Along with the upsets of Game Winner and Improbable last week, it made for a tough decision as to which 3-year-old on the Derby trail belonged in my Top 10. This week Omaha Beach, who beat Game Winner, got the nod.

 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

 1. Monomoy Girl

 1. City of Light

 2. Roy H

 2. Bricks and Mortar

 3. Bricks and Mortar

 3. Battle of Midway

 4. City of Light

 4. Roy H

 5. McKinzie

 5. McKinzie

 6. Midnight Bisou

 6. Midnight Bisou

 7. Seeking the Soul

 7. Monomoy Girl

 8. Sistercharlie

 8. Zulu Alpha

 9. Accelerate

 9. Omaha Beach

 10. Marley’s Freedom

 10. Vino Rosso

Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently is a Senior Writer. 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

Matt has been a co-host of the popular weekly video show HorseCenter for many years.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Matt is also a partner in the New York Hot List handicapping service @NYHotList where he handicaps the races on the NYRA circuit everyday. The Hot List picks are available at several ADW sites around the country.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

Top Stories

When I grew up watching horse racing, seeing the b...
By capturing the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstre...
Five horses were added to the Kentucky Derby 2023...
In his second graded-stakes assignment, trainer Bo...
Sunday's work tab for Kentucky Derby prospects inc...