It can be argued that after nearly six months of racing and three Triple Crown races, we still have not determined who the best 3-year-old is. This is debatable not only because we had different winners all in three classics, but because some of the top 3-year-olds, like Quality Road, were sidelined by injury.
Here is the latest NTRA 3-year-old poll based on voting by several Thoroughbred media representatives. See what you think:
1. Rachel Alexandra (18) F 5 5-0-0 189 1
2. Mine That Bird (1) G 5 1-2-1 171 2
3. Summer Bird C 5 2-0-1 140 -
4. Musket Man C 6 3-0-3 124 3
5. Dunkirk C 5 2-2-0 90 -
6. Quality Road C 3 2-1-0 89 4
7. Pioneerof the Nile C 4 3-0-0 63 5
8. I Want Revenge C 3 2-0-1 61 6
9. Charitable Man C 3 1-0-0 34 8
10. Papa Clem C 5 1-2-0 31 7
Others: Munnings 17; Friesan Fire 6; Chocolate Candy 5; Capt. Candyman Can 4; Flying Private 4; Giant Oak 3; Justwhistledixie 3; The Pamplemousse 3; Mythical Power 2; Stardom Bound 2; Big Drama 1; Kelly Leak 1; General Quarters 1; Mr. Fantasy 1.
In my poll, I want to see not who you think is the top 3-year-old right now, but who will be the best by the end of the year.
If the Eclipse Award voting were done today, I would have to believe that Rachel Alexandra would win. Her stunning victory in the Oaks coupled with her win over Mine That Bird in the Preakness gives her the edge. We still don't know what the plan is for Rachel in the second half of the season, but if she were to fare well in the Mother Goose and at Saratoga, she would be set up very well for champion honors.
Word is that Summer Bird is headed to the Haskell to take on Musket Man on his home track. That should be fun. It will be interesting to see the path taken by Mine That Bird when he returns and also where and how Quality Road returns from his quarter crack issues.
Charitable Man should also be a force in the second half of the season, especially at a more ideal distance. And Munnings certainly showed he is a talented horse whose best days appear ahead of him.
When all is said and done, I think Rachel will remain the top 3-year-old, but I look for Charitable Man and Quality Road to win a couple of major stakes in the second half and perhaps set up a very intriguing Breeders' Cup. I think both of them are future stars.