The "Road to the Kentucky Derby" 'prep' season concluded this weekend with the running of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Won by One Liner (69 points) for trainer Todd Pletcher and owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing LLC the undefeatedInto Mischief three-year-old colt snags the tenth spot in week four of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll, which results were released today. The winner earned 10 qualifying points towards a start in the Kentucky Derby and is currently ranked ninth on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. Going forward, the 16 Race Championship series begins this Saturday at the Fair Grounds with the Risen Star (G2) worth 50-20-10-5 to the top 4 finishers.
Outside of the running of the Southwest, there was very little movement in either direction up or down. McCraken (20 first-place votes; 362 points), remains in first place after his win two-weeks ago in G3 Sam F. Davis S. at Tampa Bay Downs. The Ghostzapper colt currently has 20 points and is ranked third in the most recent Kentucky Derby Leaderboard for a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6 for trainer Ian Wilkes and Whitham Thoroughbreds. The Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 11 is under consideration for his next start.
The undefeated and Holy Bull (G2) winner Irish War Cry (8 first-place votes, 317 points) holds the second berth for trainer Graham Motion and is currently ranked 10th on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 10 qualifying points.
Classic Empire (2 first place votes, 228 points), remains in third and ranked number one with 32 points on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.
Rounding out the field is: Mastery (4 first-place votes, 223 points); El Areeb(1 first-place vote, 194 points); Unique Bella (5 first-place votes, 177 points); Gormley (153); Mo Town (105); Practical Joke (83); and One Liner (69).
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 NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for horses four and up welcomes the now four-year-old colt Gun Runner (264) jumping into the top-ten and taking third position. Last seen winning the Clark Handicap (G1) in the fall, November 25, 2016 at Churchill Downs, the multi-graded stakes winner returned to his winning form yesterday easily winning the Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park for Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, Three Chimneys Farm's and Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Eclipse Award Champion Arrogate (40 first-place votes and 400 points) received all first place votes after his spectacular win in the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park on January 28.
Ranked second is 2016 Eclipse Champion Female Songbird (309). 2016 Eclipse Award Turf winner Tepin drops down a notch to fourth (258). Both females are currently in training as they ready for their 2017 debut.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll concludes November 6 after the running of the Breeders' Cup.