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CLASSIC EMPIRE SITTING CHILLY IN FIRST PLACE, NTRA TOP 3-YEAR-OLD POLL;
ARROGATE REMAINS IN FIRST, NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL
(Receives all 38 first-place votes)
Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Monday, May 1, 2017) – With five days left for the Run for the Roses, the twenty contenders expected to break from the gate have all completed their assignments and are sitting chilly as the 143rd “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will soon go down in the history books. As we wait and see who will be wearing the roses, week 14 of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll, shows slight changes in the rankings which results were released today.
John and Debby Oxley’s reigning two-year-old champion Classic Empire (16 first-place votes, 327 points) remains in first after winning the Arkansas Derby (GI) at Oaklawn Park. The Pioneerof the Nile colt trained by Mark Casse is ranked second with 132 qualifying points on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard for a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Always Dreaming (8 first-place votes; 286 points) breathing down the neck of Classic Empire remains in second with a small margin separating the two-topped NTRA ranked sophomores. The G1 Florida Derby winner is currently ranked seventh on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 100 qualifying points for trainer Todd Pletcher and owners Brooklyn Boyz Stable, MeB Racing Stable, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, St. Elias Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds and Siena Farm.
Irish War Cry (6 first-place votes, 280 points) keeps the third slot. The G2 Wood Memorial Curlin colt is owned and breed by Isabelle de Tomaso and trained by Graham Motion. The sophomore is ranked fifth with 110 qualifying Derby points.
Ranked fourth is Ian Wilkes trainee McCraken (4 first-place votes, 201 points) on the top-ten after finishing third in the G2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Owned by Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC the Ghostzapper colt is currently ranked sixteenth with 40 qualifying points on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.
In fifth is Peacock Racing Stable is Gunnevera (2 first-place vote, 195 points). Trained by Antonio Sanos, the Dialed In colt is ranked eighth with 84 qualifying points on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.
Dropping down from fourth to sixth and not receiving any first-place votes this week is the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) winner, Girvin (168). The Brad Grady, Joe Sharp trainee is ranked number one on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 150 points.
Gormley (146) Grade I Santa Anita Derby remains in seventh on the NTRA top-ten. Ridden by newly elected Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza, trained by John Shirreffs and owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, the Malibu Moon colt is ranked third with a total of 125 Derby qualifying points.
Rounding out the field is: Mastery (1 first-place vote; 73 points); Unique Bella (72); and Practical Joke (70).
The NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll is the sport’s most comprehensive survey of experts ranking the generation of Thoroughbreds that includes all Triple Crown contenders. 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. The Top 3-Year-Old Poll concludes June 12 after the Belmont Stakes.
The top ranked older horses remain as status quo on this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for horses four and up with a very slight change – flip-flop in the fifth and sixth hole.
The number one ranked horse, Group 1 $10 million Dubai World Cup winner and Eclipse Award champion Arrogate (38 first place votes; 380 points) with earnings of $17,084,600 is to take some time and freshen up as he prepares for his next engagement, the G1 $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on August 19 at Del Mar Race Course according to his trainer Bob Baffert and owner Juddmonte Farm.
Standing in second in the top-ten is the second place finisher from the Dubai World Cup, Gun Runner (318) for trainer Steve Asmussen and Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm.
Grade I Santa Anita Handicapped winner Shaman Ghost (276) remains in third for trainer Jimmy Jerkens and Stronach Stables.
2016 Eclipse Champion Female Songbird (216) remains in fourth for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer followed by the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap winner Stellar Wind (142) who moves into fifth berth for owners Hronis Racing LLC and trainer John Sadler. The now 5-year-old Curlin mare, voted champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, improved her career record to eight wins from 14 starts.
Neolithic (133) slides into sixth followed by Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner, New York bred, Mind Your Biscuits (135) in seventh for the 32-year-old trainer Chad Summers.
Rounding out the last three places on the top-ten are: Vale Dori (82); Dickinson (45); and Lady Eli (39).
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll concludes November 6 after the running of the Breeders’ Cup.
About the NTRA
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA, Based in Lexington, Ky., owns and manages the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance; NTRA.com; the NTRA Top Thoroughbred and NTRA Top 3-Year-Old weekly media polls; the Eclipse Awards; the National Handicapping Championship; NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).