HRI's Triple Crown Power Rankings

The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings is a consensus opinion of HorseRaceInsider's editorial staff compiled and written by executive editor John Pricci. It is an amalgam of achievement and opinion relative to the merits of the 2013 Triple Crown. The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings will be adjusted each week following significant prep race developments.

HRI Triple Crown Power 10, Week 16: Counting the Days

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 25, 2010--As everyone knows, the recent news regarding the upcoming Belmont Stakes did not improve with the defections of New Madrid then, more notably, Dublin.

And that brings the total number of horses competing in, i.e. completing this year’s Triple Crown series of races to zero.

However, Spangled Star will run, elevating the number of probable Belmont starters to 10.

Spangled Who?


And so this is the week for marking time, catch a couple of Nick Zito-trained Belmont Stakes gallopers/workers over at the Oklahoma training track, and consider the future of the series, which will appear here, in two parts, Thursday and Friday.

The Belmont will be a good betting race, which serves as a euphemism for Test of the Champion Lite. But a star can always emerge, and for that we are hopeful.

There are some nice colts in this group and perhaps one or more will elevate their game and eventually challenge Lookin At Lucky, Super Saver, et al, for the divisional championship later this season. Or not.

The reality of the 2010 Belmont Stakes is that four of the 10 are eligible for secondary allowances, two for preliminary allowances, and another for non-winners of 2 lifetime.

None of those, however, are trained by Zito, who will saddle two of the most accomplished horses; Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box, and Fly Down, impressive Dwyer winner over the track.

Zito is efforting to win his third Belmont in the last seven years, hoping to add one of his uncoupled pair to the roster of recent Belmont winners that includes Birdstone and Da Tara.

Each won in years when Smarty Jones and Big Brown, respectively, were bidding to become history’s 12th Triple Crown champion. There will be a lot more pressure on Zito to win the classic this time around which, most would agree. is a good problem to have.

With no racetrack activity among the major players last week, there’s been no change in HRI’s Triple Crown Power 10, Week 16 edition:

1. Lookin At Lucky: Bob Baffert and Martin Garcia are just loving life right now and thinking about another million-dollar pot of gold at the Jersey Shore, August 1. The 2009 juvenile champion tops the Haskell Invitational list.

2. Super Saver: Todd Pletcher said this week he’s definitely considering the Haskell for the Derby winner’s next start. If the opportunity presents itself, I’d be disinclined to play poker with this man.

3. Ice Box: For all willing to give Nick Zito credit for supporting the Belmont Stakes, which is worthy notion to be applauded, he is starting one horse that will be making his debut in this series and another who skipped the Preakness to point for the Belmont.

4. Sidney's Candy: As stated last week, we hope he benefits from his R & R, returns in the Swaps Stakes, or some other suitable event, with the “Midsummer Derby” as a major summer goal. Given his vaunted speed, he could show up at Monmouth, too.

5. Paddy O’Prado: Taking this dance off as his fresher stablemate will represent the barn in the series’ third leg. If ever a horse had Travers written all over him, it would be this guy. It wasn’t the 10 furlongs that defeated him in Kentucky.

6. Noble’s Promise: In his case, however, it is classic distances that will challenge him, and that’s too bad. But there are plenty of big races at 9 furlongs out there that will better suit him, including the Haskell.

7. Jackson Bend: Tough, tougher, toughest; we just love this little guy to death. Recycling him after a strenuous winter and spring campaign is the right thing to do. The problem for Zito might be getting this colt to enjoy a vacation.

8. Dublin: And, so, no Belmont, and that’s too bad because the horse deserves the chance. He hasn’t been the luckiest three-year-old in America, either, and providing all is good with him, he could have a very good summer and fall. He likes Saratoga.

9. Make Music For Me: Even if the Belmont mile workout would have been 1:41 instead of 1:43, we love the old school nature of a stamina drill over the track. The surface takes some getting used to, but recall that Summer Bird kept improving as he gained experience on Big Sandy last year.

10. First Dude: He’s such a speedy wiseguy horse for the upcoming Belmont that he could wind up a serious underlay. This is one good lookin’ dude, too. Check out again how he gained the lead going into the lower turn at Pimlico while appearing to be simply galloping along.

Written by John Pricci - Comments (0)


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