We're now a little more than five weeks into the Breeders' Cup season and the divisions are beginning to take shape. The continuing story thus far is how the male division seemingly gets more ordinary every day while the female division continues to get more exciting. Unless this Big Brown-Curlin thing actually happens, there is no doubt the Ladies Classic will be much more interesting come late October. I forget, what day is the Ladies Classic being run? Never mind.
Anyway, with about two more months of Breeders' Challenge events left to go, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at a few of the divisions. Let's do our best to rank the top 3 American-based horses in each one. Here goes:
1. Curlin - You still have to give him the edge even though we have no idea if Jess Jackson will send him to Santa Anita.
2. Big Brown - Looking forward to seeing the spot they pick for him. Something tells me it will be the Pennsylvania Derby.
3. Commentator - He ran the year's top Beyer (119) so you have to respect him. Looks like he'll go to the Mass Cap next month and point towards the Classic. But can he get 1 1/4 miles?
Don't forget about: Henrythenavigator - He's won four consecutive group I races and some say he is the best horse in the world. Aidan O'Brian says he will point towards this race, which should spice things up.
1. Ginger Punch - She's the champ. Until someone proves otherwise, I'm ranking her above Zenyatta.
2 . Zenyatta - Undefeated and getting better. Has a huge advantage because of the synthetics.
3. Music Note - Looking forward to this weekend's Alabama. She might be the best of them all.
Don't forget about: Hystericalady. She lost by a nose in the '07 Distaff and is even better this year.
Tough for me to leave out Proud Spell and Little Belle, but what can you do?
1. Red Rocks - Won the best U.S. turf race this year.
2. Gio Ponti - Hasn't faced grade I company yet, but a star in the making.
3. Einstein - Had a poor start in the Million, but the loss was more than just that.
Don't forget about: Any European. The Americans will have their hands full against all of them. All three that took money in Arlington Million might be back for BC.
Filly & Mare Turf
1. Mauralakana - Gotta love her. She just knows how to get it done.
2. Forever Together - Diana was no fluke.
3. Black Mamba - Not BC nominated, but owners will probably fork over the cash.
Don't forget about: J'ray: She narrowly lost to Mauralakana twice.
1. Benny the Bull: All he does is win. The way he powers down the stretch is breathtaking.
2. J Be K - Has never lost at less than a mile.
3. Street Boss - That's five in a row for the synthetic specialist.
Don't forget about: Kodiak Kowboy: Highly-touted as a 2-year-old, he might be coming into his own.
1. Kip Deville: Pure miler is lightly-raced this year, but will be primed and ready for Santa Anita.
2. Daytona -Tired in American Handicap. A mile might be his best distance.
3. Monzante - Just beginning to hit his best stride.
Don't forget about: Red Giant: Very impressive off a 10-month layoff. Not sure what his best distance is, but Pletcher will figure it out.
More division rankings to come later...