Horse Network’s Top 12 Racehorses in North America
1. California Chrome
5 yo horse by Lucky Pulpit, Love the Chase (Not for Love)
Owner/trainer/jockey: California Chrome, LLC / Art Sherman / Victor Espinoza
Big fella is now 5 for 5 in 2016 and looks like a lock for his second Horse of the Year crown. After a rocky, injury-plagued 2015, Chrome hasn’t missed a step this year and is clearly a different animal. Credit to his team for keeping him happy and healthy. They have indeed created a monster whose focus has now caught up to his talent. The fairytale continues…
Next up: Awesome Again Stakes, 10/1 @ Santa Anita
5 yo mare by Bernstein, Life Happened (Stravinsky)
Robert Masterson / Mark Casse / Julien Leparoux
Simply put, this mile monster is in the midst of one of the greatest runs in modern memory. She’s repelled some of the best in the world during her current 8-race win streak, and made it look easy. Males fear her, females want to be her. She’s quite simply “The Queen”.
Next up: First Lady 10/8 or Spinister 10/9 @ Keeneland
6 yo horse by Dansili, Dance Routine (Sadler’s Wells)
Juddmonte Farm / Chad Brown / Javier Castellano
Quite frankly, this Euro-import has no equal here in the States going long on the grass. In the hands of the country’s top stable/jockey combo, it’s difficult to imagine he’ll be set up for anything but continued dominance. As he showed in last week’s Sword Dancer, he can push the button anytime he needs to.
Next up: Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, 10/1 @ Belmont
3 yo filly by Medaglia D’Oro, Ivanavinalot (West Acre)
Foxhill Farms / Jerry Hollendorfer / Mike Smith
The sheer fact this unbeatable filly is not the clear #1 horse in training is quite a testament to the current state of thoroughbred racing here in North America. Because she is truly something special. Not only has this filly won all 11 of her career starts, she’s never been threatened. Fact is, there isn’t a 3-year-old filly of her class on the planet. She’s not just the sport’s top filly for her age, she’s the best 3-year-old, period, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Ruffian and Rachel.
Next up: Breeders’ Cup Distaff (11/4 @ Santa Anita)
4 yo colt by Tapit, Fast Cookie (Deputy Minister)
Godolphin / Kiaran McLaughlin / Joel Rosario
The well-bred grey came back to earth a bit in the Woodward, but his prior dominance speak for itself. His next start will most certainly come in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, but whether it’s in the Dirt Mile or Classic remains to be seen.
Next up: Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile 11/4 or Breeders’ Cup Classic 11/5 @ Santa Anita
3 yo colt by Unbridled’s Song, Bubbler (Elusive Quality)
Juddmonte Farms / Bob Baffert / Mike Smith or Rafael Bejarano
His otherworldly effort in the Travers will be talked about forever, but one can’t help but wonder if the lightly raced colt is indeed a bonafide freak of nature. Baffert plans to train this youngster up to the Classic, which is shaping up to be…well, a classic. He has the ability, no question, but does he have the fortitude to rumble with the heavyweights?
Next Up: Breeders’ Cup Classic, 11/5 @ Santa Anita
6 yo mare by Henny Hughes, Leslie’s Lady (Tricky Creek)
Spendthrift Farm / Richard Mandella / Gary Stevens
Yeah, she’s on a relative “skid”, but it’s hard to knock this champion mare for the runner-up effort to California Chrome in the Pacific Classic. She might not be quite what she was at 5, but she’s still capable of putting up a big figure. Mandella hinted he may opt for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff instead of the main event.
Next up: Zenyatta Stakes, 10/1 @ Santa Anita
8. A.P. Indian
6 yo gelding by Indian Charlie, Ender’s Sister (A.P. Indy)
Green Lantern Stables / Arnaud Delacour / Joe Bravo
What a story this little gelding has become. While his potential has always been there, racing luck was no where to be found. Repeated setbacks threatened to derail his career before ever taking off, until finally it all came together this Spring. All he’s done since is reel off 5 wins in a row, including last weekend’s Grade I Forego Stakes, in which he set a new track record for 7 furlongs. At Saratoga. That’s special.
Next up: Vosburgh Stakes, 10/1 @ Belmont
9. Lady Eli
4 yo filly by Divine Park, Sacre Coeur (Saint Ballado)
Sheep Pond Partners / Chad Brown / Irad Ortiz
Sure, this miracle filly came up a bit short in her much anticipated comeback last week, but we know what she’s capable of. Her trainer seems to think she’ll be right back to where she was before her near fatal bout with laminitis, which is at the top of her division. Good enough for us.
Next up: Flower Bowl Invitational, 10/8 @ Belmont
4 yo filly by Bernardini, Promenade Girl (Carson City)
Stonestreet Stables / Kiaran McLaughlin / Javier Castellano
This stretch running sensation picked up her second straight Grade I over a quality field last time out in the Personal Ensign, proving she’s more than a one-turn specialist. She’s developed quite a nose for the line this year and you get the feeling she has another gear in there.
Next up: Breeders’ Cup Distaff, 11/4 @ Santa Anita
4yo colt by Big Brown, Our Josephina (Tale of the Cat)
Kaleem Shah / Bob Baffert / Rafael Bejarano
Give this imposing chestnut credit—his four career losses have come at the hooves of just two horses: American Pharoah (twice) and California Chrome (twice). No shame in being a notch below those two titans. After repeated setbacks early in his career, he’s finally strung together some consistent training. It will be interesting to see if Baffert keeps this 17+hh behemoth on track for Classic, or if he dials him down a couple panels. Why test Chrome (and workmate Arrogate) again, when the dirt mile is there for the taking?
Next up: Awesome Again Stakes, 10/1 @ Santa Anita
12. Catch A Glimpse
3 yo filly by City Zip, Halo River (Irish River)
Gary Barber / Mark Casse / Florent Geroux
This filly gets a little lost in the shadow of stablemate Tepin, but the defending Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf champ has 5 graded stakes wins from 6 starts in 2016.
Next up: First Lady, 10/8 @ Keeneland
*The world’s fastest horse, Runhappy, is set to make his season debut in the (GIII) Ack Ack at Churchill Downs on Oct. 1. Look for his return to this list when he finally hits the starting gate.
Also-ran: Melatonin, Lord Nelson, American Freedom, Nyquist, Gun Runner, Stellar Wind