By Alicia Hughes/NTRA — Champion Maximum Security asserted his class when he captured the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 22, an effort that has once again moved the son of New Year’s Day to the head of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top Thoroughbred Poll.
In earning his tenth career triumph and fourth top-level victory, Maximum Security secured 16 first-place votes and 343 points to take the lead in the poll for the first time since March 2. The 4-year-old bay colt has won both of his starts since being transferred to the barn of Bob Baffert having previously annexed the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap on July 25 in his first start under the care of the Hall of Fame trainer.
“He was a totally different horse today,” Baffert told the Del Mar publicity team after the Pacific Classic. He (jockey Abel Cedillo) got to know ‘Max’ last time and I’m happy for him. (Maximum Security) just does things effortlessly. He wasn’t even blowing when he came back. I’m just so happy for this horse. It’s not his fault what he went through. Today he showed that he is a great horse.”
With Maximum Security taking over the top spot, fellow multiple Grade 1-winner Vekoma drops one position to No. 2 with 8 first-place votes and 297 points. Tom’s d’Etat (3 first-place votes, 250 points) is now third followed by Grade 1 Whitney Stakes-winner Improbable (232 points) in fourth.
Top sophomore Tiz the Law (11 first-place votes, 228 points) remains in fifth, just ahead of champion distaffer Midnight Bisou in sixth with 204 points. Zulu Alpha (109 points) ranks seventh while the Chad Brown-trained Rushing Fall (102 points) jumps up three spots to eighth on the strength of her triumph in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes on August 23.
Champion Monomoy Girl (1 first-place vote and 96 points) and By My Standards (81 points) round out the top 10.
With the September 5 Kentucky Derby less than two weeks away, Belmont and Travers Stakes hero Tiz the Law remains the leader in the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll with 39 first-place votes and 390 points.
Blue Grass Stakes winner Art Collector remains in second with 320 points followed by Honor A. P. (274 points) and fellow Grade 1 winner Authentic (249).
After being tied for the fifth spot last week, Gamine now owns that position outright with 207 points – one point more than her expected Kentucky Oaks rival Swiss Skydiver (206). Thousand Words (138 points) holds in seventh with King Guillermo (102), Ny Traffic (77) and Travers runner-up Caracaro (60) completing the top 10.
The NTRA Top Thoroughbred polls are the sport’s most comprehensive surveys of experts. Every week eligible journalists and broadcasters cast votes for their top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
All horses that have raced in the U.S., are in training in the U.S., or are known to be pointing to a major event in the U.S. are eligible for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Voting in both the Top Three-Year-Old Poll and the Top Thoroughbred Poll is scheduled to be conducted through the conclusion of the Breeders’ Cup in November.