Moon Ballad, American Horses Top First Ranking of Classic Contenders

Moon Ballad, American Horses Top First Ranking of Classic Contenders
Photo: Trevor Jones
Moon Ballad, winning the Dubai World Cup, tops rankings for Breeders' Cup Classic.
Edited from NTRA, Breeders' Cup reports
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Ltd. on Monday released the first set of 2003 World Thoroughbred Rankings for six of the eight racing divisions that comprise the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Initial rankings, from race results through June 20, reflect the Distaff, Filly & Mare Turf, NetJets Mile, John Deere Turf, Sprint and the Classic – Powered by Dodge divisions. The Bessemer Trust Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies divisional rankings will commence in late summer.

An international panel of racing officials will produce weekly rankings for the world's top 10 Thoroughbred runners in each division through October 7. Rankings are determined by analysis of the horses' performances in select graded and group stakes races from around the world and are used to help determine starting positions in the Breeders' Cup. Only horses that have made at least one start this year will be considered for rankings.

Moon Ballad, winner of the Dubai World Cup, leads the division for the Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge (gr. I). Owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 4-year-old Moon Ballad has been assigned a top rating of 125. Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker and Oaklawn Handicap winner Medaglia d'Oro follow, each receiving a 123 rating. Mineshaft, winner of the Pimlico Special, Ten Most Wanted, second in the Belmont Stakes, and Congaree, winner of the San Antonio Stakes, are bracketed at 121. Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Peace Rules is slotted in eighth place, followed by a ninth-place tie between last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi and 2003 Donn Handicap winner Harlan's Holiday.

Reigning Horse of the Year Azeri leads the Distaff Division at 123. The 5-year-old mare, owned by Allen E. Paulson Living Trust and trained by Laura de Seroux, won last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff and is unbeaten in three starts this year. Azeri is followed by three fillies rated at 117: 4-year-old Take Charge Lady, runner up to Azeri in Oaklawn's Apple Blossom Handicap, and three-year-olds Bird Town, winner of the Kentucky Oaks, and Elloluv, who won the Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

The versatile 5-year-old Congaree, owned by Stonerside Stable and trained by Bob Baffert, shares the Sprint Division leadership with the four-year-old Australian speedster Choisir, who stunned Royal Ascot with victories in both the King's Stand Stakes and the group I Golden Jubilee, just four days apart. Both Congaree and Choisir are rated at 121.

Other winners from the Royal Ascot meet dominate the top spots in the turf divisions: Nayef, winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes last Wednesday, and Dubai Sheema Classic winner Sulamani, lead the John Deere Turf Division; Dubai Destination, who captured the Queen Anne Stakes last Tuesday at Royal Ascot, heads the NetJets Mile Division. Defending NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile champion Domedriver is rated fifth in this division along with English Two Thousand Guineas winner Refuse to Bend. Russian Rhythm, winner of the One Thousand Guineas and of last Friday's Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, tops the Filly & Mare Turf ranks.

The World Thoroughbred Rankings racing panel includes Frank Gabriel, executive vice president of racing and racing secretary for Arlington Park; Nigel Gray, senior handicapper for The Jockey Club (England); Mike Lakow, racing secretary for the New York Racing Association; Garry O'Gorman, senior handicapper for the Irish Turf Club; Tom Robbins, director of racing for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Gerald Sauque, senior handicapper for France Galop.

This year's Breeders' Cup will be held during the Oak Tree Meeting at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on October 25.

WORLD THOROUGHBRED RANKINGS - June 23, 2003

Rank--Name of Horse/Country Based/Trainer/Rank

CLASSIC DIVISION, Powered by Dodge
1--Moon Ballad--GB--Saeed bin Suroor--125
2--Empire Maker--USA--Robert Frankel--123
2T--Funny Cide--USA--Barclay Tagg--123
2T--Medaglia d'Oro--USA--Robert Frankel--123
5--Mineshaft--USA--Neil J. Howard--121
5T--Ten Most Wanted--USA--Wallace Dollase--121
5T--Congaree--USA--Bob Baffert--121
8--Peace Rules--USA--Robert Frankel--120
9--Volponi--USA--Philip G. Johnson--117
9T--Harlan's Holiday--USA--Todd A. Pletcher--117

JOHN DEERE TURF DIVISION
1--Nayef -- GB--Marcus Tregoning--125
1T -- Sulamani -- GB--Saeed bin Suroor--125
3 -- Dalakhani--FR--Alain Royer Dupre--123
4--Kris Kin -- GB--Sir Michael Stoute--122
4T--Ange Gabriel -- FR--Eric Libaud--122
6--Storming Home -- USA--Neil D. Drysdale--121
6T--Rakti -- GB--Michael Andrew Jarvis--121
8 -- Alamshar -- IRE--John M. Oxx--120
8T--The Great Gatsby -- IRE--Aidan P. O'Brien--120
8T--Black Sam Bellamy -- IRE--Aidan P. O'Brien--120

DISTAFF DIVISION
1--Azeri -- USA--Laura De Seroux--123
2--Bird Town -- USA--Nicholas P. Zito--117
2T--Elloluv -- USA--Craig Dollase--117
2T--Take Charge Lady -- USA--Kenneth G. McPeek--117
5--Lady Tak -- USA--Steven M. Asmussen--115
5T--Got Koko -- USA--Bruce Headley--115
5T--Wild Spirit -- USA-Robert Frankel--115
8--Summer Colony -- USA--Mark A. Hennig--114
9--You -- USA--Robert Frankel--113
9T--Smok'n Frolic -- USA--Todd A. Pletcher--113

NET JETS MILE DIVISION
1--Dubai Destination -- GB--Saeed bin Suroor--125
2--Zafeen -- GB--Mick Channon--124
3 -- Kalaman -- GB--Sir Michael Stoute--122
4--Indian Haven -- GB--Paul D'Arcy--121
5--Domedriver--FR--Pascal Bary--119
5T--Refuse to Bend -- IRE--Dermot K. Weld--119
7--Redattore -- USA--Richard E. Mandella--118
8 -- Tillerman -- GB--Amanda Perrett--117
9--Special Ring -- USA--Julio C. Canani--116
10--Senor Swinger -- USA--Bob Baffert--115

SPRINT DIVISION
1--Congaree -- USA--Bob Baffert--121
1T -- Choisir -- AUS--Paul Perry--121
3 -- Airwave -- GB--Henry Candy--118
4--Aldebaran -- USA--Robert Frankel--117
5 -- Avanzado -- USA--Doug O'Neill--115
6--Posse -- USA--Steven M. Asmussen--114
7--Midas Eyes -- USA--Robert Frankel--113
7T--Kona Gold -- USA--Bruce Headley--113
9--My Cousin Matt -- USA--Scott A. Lake--112
9T--Carson Hollow -- USA--Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.--112
9--Shake You Down--USA Scott A. Lake--112

FILLY AND MARE TURF DIVISION
1--Russian Rhythm -- GB--Sir Michael Stoute--120
2--Tates Creek -- USA--Robert Frankel--119
3--Ipi Tombe -- USA--Elliott Walden--118
3T--Aquarelliste--FR--Elie Lellouche--118
5--Dublino -- USA--Laura De Seroux--117
5T--Six Perfections--FR--Pascal Bary--117
5T--Yesterday -- IRE--Aidan P. O'Brien--117
5T--Soviet Song -- GB--James Fanshawe--117
9--Nebraska Tornado--FR--Andre Fabre--116
9T--Islington -- GB--Sir Michael Stoute--116
9T--Bright Sky--FR--Elie Lellouche116

*(T) next to a ranking indicates a tie.

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