Everybody loves a good top-10 list, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association has released theirs for the upcoming Kentucky Derby in the form of the NTRA 3 Year Old Rankings. To nobody’s surprise, current favorite Justify is the leader with 21 first place votes. Following him in second is Magnum Mooon and then the five other horses who have received single-digit odds.
The NTRA 3 Year Old rankings are based on performance through competition, and races of higher magnitude (i.e. Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, etc.) have a more significant impact on how horses are regarded. Justify’s win in the 2018 Santa Anita Derby is his only stakes race victory, but it’s more than enough to register him at the top of the standings.
Surprisingly, Magnum Moon’s win in the 2018 Arkansas Derby was enough to push him to the top. He also shockingly received two first place votes. That may have been a “what have you done for me lately” reaction by the pollsters.
Audible, Good Magic, Bolt d’Oro and Mendelssohn round out the top-six in what’s helping shape a highly competitive top-end for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Good Magic was recently registered at around 9/1 to win in the derby futures wager as one of the outside favorites. The odds then skyrocketed to the 20/1 range with seventh favorite Noble Indy and Vino Rosso. That’s the gap that longshots are trying to fill but it’s tough. The top six are really strong comparatively.
The fact that Mendelssohn is ranked sixth is a big deal only because it offers a glimpse in to how tight the competition actually is. The fact that Mendelssohn has only competed on American soil once, while winning the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, might have hurt his standing in the NTRA 3 Year Old rankings but outstanding performances by Audible, Magnum Moon and Good Magic in recent derby prep races has also been an impactful factor.
Bolt d’Oro, who has struggled since being tabbed as the extremely early favorite to win the Kentucky Derby back in the Fall of 2017. He may have suspiciously won the 2018 San Felipe, but fell to Justify in the 2018 Santa Anita Derby in a race that wasn’t even remotely close.
These rankings should help inform your decision. Spots two through six are up for debate in terms of the order, but Justify is still the clear cut favorite heading towards Churchill Downs.
NTRA 3 Year Old Rankings
- Magnum Moon
- Good Magic
- Bolt d’Oro
- Vino Rosso
- Noble Indy
- My Boy Jack
Outside of the NTRA 3 Year Old rankings are the traditional polls which rank all horses. West Coast is the top horse after a pair of second place finishes in the two richest races of the year. He is followed by Oaklawn Park Handicap winner City of Light, Mind Your Biscuits, Accelerate and Unique Bella. It’s still too early to really determine who the “best” racehorse in the United States is at the moment, but the 2018 Kentucky Derby and subsequent Triple Crown will help sort things out.