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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Who is the best three-year-old this year?

Kentucky Derby Starting Gate 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
There will be no Triple Crown winner in 2013. Okay, that’s done and out of the way. Let’s move on. With one surprising Preakness, the three-year-old division went from a monarchy to a sea of uncertainty. The unceremonious dumping of the Kentucky Derby winner off his perch in Baltimore begs the question … who is the best three-year-old in the land?

Orb is still the leader of the division. He arrived to Louisville as a lukewarm Derby favorite and his impressive win launched a groundswell of Triple Crown mania. It was too much too fast, and the horse could not live up to the extreme expectations in the Preakness. He may have been knocked down to reality, but still, considering his wins in Florida, there would be no doubt who the champion would be if the season ended today. But of course, 2013 does not end now, and either a loss in the Belmont Stakes, or a strong win by another if Orb’s connections decide to skip the race, and Orb is right back to being just one of the boys.

Speaking of one of the boys, Oxbow comes out to play without fail. An impressive winner of the LeComte Stakes early in the year, the son of Awesome Again fell victim to a series of poor posts and tricky trips in his next bunch of races. He finally got a dream trip, thanks to the wily old veteran, Gary Stevens, and led them all on a merry chase to win the Preakness. Clearly sans the race record of which dreams are made, what Oxbow lacks in glamour, he makes up for as a hard knocking, honest son-of-a-gun. A Belmont win is far from out of the question.

There’s just something about Revolutionary. I’m not really sure what that is, but the way he won the Withers, and then a tough Louisiana Derby, in such different ways, has won my fandom. His Derby was solid, but not great, and now he will enter the Belmont as one of the favorites. A victory there over the top two, and the colt from the wonderful female family moves into the number one spot.

And what about Mylute? He ran arguably the best combined races in the Derby and the Preakness, but a 5th and a 3rd will not win him any championships. Itsmyluckyday regained some lost luster with a fine performance at Pimlico, but he remains 0-for-3 in races with the top two. Normandy Invasion is full of promise, but as a non-winner of one other than a maiden race, he remains fool's gold until he wins the Travers. Oh wouldn’t Chad Brown love that.

Then there’s Verrazano. The unbeaten to the forgotten quicker than Larry Collmus could finish saying Orrrrrrrrrb, he may be able to regain his impressive ways back against shorter fields and at shorter distances. Has Golden Soul moved to the upper echelon of this crop, or did things fall just the right way at Churchill Downs? Overanalyze runs big every other race, so he should be due in the Belmont. Freedom Child is an up and comer who looked great in the Peter Pan. Maybe he is more than just a slop freak. 

Or maybe this year, the fillies are just better than the colts. Dreaming of Julia and Beholder look like pure class, and please do not call my personal favorite, Princess of Sylmar, a one-hit wonder. Perhaps we will see a filly in the winner’s circle in some big races later this year, or maybe it will begin as soon as Unlimited Budget in the Belmont Stakes. I certainly would not throw her out if her connections decide to run her.

Who is the best three-year-old this year? If you know, you are smarter than me. The only thing I do know is that I plan on enjoying the ride to find out. 


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Older Comments about Who is the best three-year-old this year?...

Dipak- So if Orb wins the Belmont has he still blown his chance at best 3yr old?. He has 2 GR1 wins. The rest don't.
Orb.....if he can deliver next race.
Orb had a chance to be best 3 years old in 2013, but he spoiled that chance loosing the Preakness, he won the derby because of sloppy track as he likes that way, but it was so amazed to see how he floped the good going track in pimilco on Preakness day, in otherwords horse winning in sloopy track does'nt necessarily means will win on the good truck, most of the horse winning in sloopy track have failed to win next race in the dry track. except Secretariat?
the legned was called The Ghost http://horseracinghalloffame.com/2003/11/01/the-ghost/
I'm not sure there is a best 3 year old. It looks like a mixed bag of goodies to me. Best horse running is Wise Dan, I hope he enters the BC and leaves the 3 year olds in his dust.
^They're. GOtta love uto correct. ANyway as a basic example I heard some one state that last years crop was better than this years because they had a champion sprinter (trinniberg). The funny thing is, is that t this point last year we didn't know he was going to be the 'champion' sprinter, he was just another horse.
I think it is still way to early to tell. I love the fact that every one points to this crop and says their a bunch of slugs, and then turn right around and compare them to some other years crop as proof- when fact remains that we know the out come of all the 'best' foals from the previous years. At this point in any other year NOBODY knew who would be the best by the end of the year. There are still so many races , and so much left to prove.
Freedom Child, Palace Malice
Oxbow is the best!
Orb is the best three year old, unfortunely these races are about the Trainers,. Lukas had three horses in the Preakness and controlled the Preakness. The number 7 horse came out of the gate and went straight for Orb on the rail..Now the Belmont will have Lukas and Pletcher with eleven horses in theBelmont,I love horse racing , but it has become outa hand.
I think there are a bunch of junk horses that will not run 1 1/4let alone 1 1/2. Oxbow is legit, Mylute and Orb.
They used to race on the ice in Quebec and I think they do in Sweden.
Hear the Ghost. He'll show it when he returns to racing.
yes special racing plates....they race in Switzerland nowadays on ice
I believe they wear some type of ice picks in their shoes for traction.
do they wear special shoes for traction on the ice?
I have never heard of standardbred ice racing, either. Must be wild to watch!
Interesting, tv. I hadn't heard of Standardbred ice racing. http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/news/7-16-12/youngsters-history-lesson-gagetown-ice-racing.html Hear The Ghost was named for his sire, Ghostzapper, and dam, Rehear.
The Ghost was a standardbred who was ICE RACING champion of Canada in his day
Good thought, amdaman.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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