After officially retiring from racing last Wednesday, undefeated Triple Crown hero Justify maintained a strong hold on the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll as its clear leader in Week 27, although a handful of voters have begun to look elsewhere when filling the first spot. Justify received 35 of 41 possible first-place votes and 367 points overall, well clear of Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup winner Accelerate, who garnered two first-place votes and 315 points.
Four others received a first-place vote: Unique Bella, winner of Sunday’s Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar (G1); Mind Your Biscuits, the crack sprinter aiming to stretch out in Saturday’s Whitney (G1) at Saratoga; West Coast, runner up in the world’s two richest dirt races; and Good Magic, who surged to seventh in the poll following a dominant win in Sunday’s $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational.
Superfilly Monomoy Girl landed in third on the poll and is the only one of the top seven not to receive a first-place vote.
Good Magic, last year’s Eclipse Award-winning Champion Two-Year-Old Male, moved up from 15th one week ago and is one of three sophomores in the top 10, along with Justify and Monomoy Girl.
Of the six voters who did not put Justify on top of their list, four of them chose to leave the Triple Crown winner out of their top 10 entirely, presumably choosing to restrict their rankings to active racehorses. Broadcaster Anthony Stabile stuck with Mind Your Biscuits, while freelance writer Liz O’Connell moved Good Magic to the head of the class.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred polls are the sport’s most comprehensive surveys of experts. Every week eligible journalists and broadcasters cast votes for their top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. All horses that have raced in the U.S., are in training in the U.S., or are known to be pointing to a major event in the U.S. are eligible for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, which continues until November 5, after the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The full results for both weekly NTRA Thoroughbred polls can be found on the NTRA website at: http://ntra.kinsta.cloud/ntra-top-thoroughbred-poll-july-30-2018.
Full accounting of top 10 votes by voter: http://ntra.kinsta.cloud/wp-content/uploads/Polls-week27-by_voter-2018.pdf.