Curlin and Invasor, the past two winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), are ranked equally as the best horses to have raced in the United States during 2007, as well as being the global dirt champions, according to the official World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings issued Jan. 15.
Curlin achieved his rating with an impressive 4 1/2-length victory over Hard Spun on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park in November. He previously won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), finished second in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), and third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Invasor’s two-race unbeaten 2007 campaign was curtailed by injury following successes in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) and Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). The international panel of official handicappers, who comprise the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ World Ranking Committee, were unwilling to split the 2006 world champion and his year-younger counterpart.
Speaking at a press conference at the British Horseracing Authority offices in London, England, World Rankings Committee co-chairman Garry O’Gorman stated that Curlin “could have been rated higher than 129, but the U.S. handicappers couldn’t have him higher than Invasor. Invasor was rated 129 in 2006 for winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and he repeated that performance in the Dubai World Cup.”
In explaining the reasoning behind Curlin’s rating, O’Gorman said: “Curlin’s previous best effort going into the Breeders’ Cup was a 127 (in the Belmont Stakes) and, while he was impressive in winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic--a contest that in advance looked like being the race to determine the best horse in America--it turned out that it was in fact never going to be that definitive given (the track surface).
“The surface conditions provided an obvious excuse for certain horses that performed below-par, so whoever ultimately won that race was never going to get as high a figure as their ability might warrant.”
Curlin ended 2007 as the top American 3-year-old, and his rating of 129 is one pound superior to recent generational leaders Smarty Jones, Bernardini, and Barbaro. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt is the highest-rated U.S. 3-year-old since Point Given in 2001, who achieved a mark of 130 in winning that year’s Belmont Stakes.
Curlin and Invasor are rated the equal of Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Authorized, who emerged as the champion of his generation in Europe. Also at 129 is the Coolmore-owned 4-year-old Dylan Thomas, winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I) and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), among other races.
French champion Manduro, trained by Andre Fabre and unbeaten in five starts last year, is officially the global best with a ranking of 131 for a stunning success over Dylan Thomas in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June. Manduro’s rating is the highest since the current global ranking format was adopted in 2004 under the auspices of the IFHA.
Rags to Riches, from the Todd Pletcher barn, earned the accolade of best filly in the world with a rating of 123 for her narrow victory over Curlin in the Belmont Stakes.
Tom Robbins, chairman of the North American Ratings Committee, said: “Rags to Riches has become the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 102 years, and only the third in history, by defeating Curlin. She was equally impressive in winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) before injury curtailed her season. These victories enabled her to be ranked the top filly or mare in the world on any surface.”
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