Back to the Top
A historic disqualification may have denied Maximum Security his place in history as an American Classic winner, but the impression the colt left in the 145th edition of the Kentucky Derby has allowed him to hold bragging rights as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll concludes for 2019.
With poll newcomer Sir Winston pulling off the mild upset in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, voters cycled back to the horse who hit the wire in front on the first Saturday in May. Though he was disqualified after crossing the wire first in the Kentucky Derby due to interference and didn’t compete in the final two legs of the Triple Crown, Jason Servis-trainee Maximum Security earned 24 first-place votes and a total of 425 points to hold the lead position in this year’s final edition of the Top 3-Year-Old Poll.
For the third time in the last four seasons, it will be up to the results of the second half of the year to settle championship honors as three different horses captured each leg of the Triple Crown. The Bill Mott-trained Country House was elevated to first in the Kentucky Derby but didn’t contest the final two legs due to illness. Sir Winston’s popular stablemate War of Will – the only horse this year to run in all three Triple Crown races – landed an emotional victory in the Preakness Stakes for trainer Mark Casse but faded to ninth in the Belmont Stakes.
“I think probably everybody will go back to Maximum Security, won’t they,” Casse said after the Belmont Stakes when asked to assess the current 3-year-old hierarchy. “That would be my guess. But….it’s kind of a mess right now as far as that goes.”
Despite his off-the-board effort in the Belmont Stakes, War of Will still holds high regard amongst voters, earning eight first-place votes and 347 points to sit second behind Maximum Security in the Top 3-Year-Old Poll. Tacitus, runner-up in the Belmont Stakes in his first outing since being elevated to third in the Kentucky Derby, also received eight first-place votes and is third overall with 342 points.
Grade 1 winner Omaha Beach, unraced since having to scratch out of the Kentucky Derby due to a throat ailment, is fourth with six first-place votes and 312 points. Sir Winston (279 points) enters the ranks for the first time in fifth with Country House (262) now sixth.
Code of Honor is seventh with 169 points, and reigning juvenile male champion Game Winner (121 points) sits eighth. The Chad Brown-trained Guarana, who captured the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes in just her second career start, earned 82 points to join the poll in the ninth spot while Owendale (37 points) rounds out the top 10.
Omaha Beach Back to Work
Omaha Beach, the former Kentucky Derby favorite who missed the race to undergo throat surgery, shipped Monday back to trainer Richard Mandella’s base at Santa Anita Park. Mandella said Tuesday the 3-year-old son of War Front — a winner of three straight races, including the Arkansas Derby (G1) — will continue riding under tack until scoped again “in the next few days.”
“The throat is much better, but not perfect yet,” Mandella told horseracingnation.com. “When it’s perfect, we’ll begin to go to the racetrack.”
Upon receiving Omaha Beach’s diagnosis of an entrapped epiglottis the Wednesday of Derby week, Mandella surmised races such as the July 20 Haskell and Aug. 24 Travers Stakes may fit into the calendar. But Omaha Beach took a bit longer than expected to heal, and he continues to do so.
There are no race or workout plans on the calendar in the meantime.
“We don’t want to get him breathing hard and irritate the throat any further,” Mandella said.
Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm campaigns Omaha Beach, who hasn’t finished out of the money in seven career starts. He began to truly shine once on the dirt, narrowly losing a one-mile maiden special weight race on Jan. 4 before reeling off three straight victories.