Bob Baffert runners dominate NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls

Bob Baffert runners dominate NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls
Photo: Benoit Photo

With three weeks until the 2020 Preakness date of Oct. 3 and just under two months until the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has the No. 1 horse in both of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

Maximum Security leads the Top Thoroughbred Poll after 27 out of the 37 media members put him in the first position on their ballots. In the Top Three-Year-Old Poll, Authentic received 23 of the 37 votes to earn the No. 1 spot among the sophomores.

That pair of top-ranked runners was joined in the top 10 lists by three others from the Baffert barn. Improbable showed up in the No. 5 position behind Maximum Security. Thousand Words was ranked at No. 6 and the filly Gamine was No. 8, following their stablemate Authentic.

Having a trainer with two horses ranked on top of both of these polls is unusual, but not for Baffert. During Justify's campaign for the Triple Crown in 2018 he was the top 3-year-old in the June 4 poll, while West Coast was the No. 1 older Thoroughbred.

The Baffert barn, which clearly has had its ups and downs in 2020, is looking strong heading toward the Preakness and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Those two races will play a significant part in the determination of year-end poll rankings.

Authentic and Thousand Words will give Baffert the opportunity to win his eighth Preakness, which would make him the winningest trainer in the history of that race. Baffert is tied with R. Wyndham Walden, who won his seven during the late 1800s.

Authentic gave Baffert his sixth Kentucky Derby victory, which put him in a tie with the legendary Ben Jones for the most wins in the Run for the Roses. Baffert knows how to prepare for the Preakness whether it is with the usual two weeks after the Derby or this year’s month between races.

“He came out very well, very well,” Baffert said of Authentic. “He’s ready to go. We would have been ready to go in two weeks.”

After getting scratched in the paddock before the Derby, Thousand Words will head to Baltimore with a longer-than-expected layoff. A win in the Preakness also would give Baffert his 17th Triple Crown victory.

“Thousand Words, he’s fine,” Baffert said. “When he went up he sort of lost his footing and was on his side. He was OK and was checked out. He’s doing well.”

Maximum Security and Improbable give Baffert the opportunity to win his fourth Breeders’ Cup Classic. His three wins came when he won the race in consecutive years, beginning in 2014 with Bayern, followed by American Pharoah and Arrogate.

The reigning 3-Year-Old Champion Maximum Security is unbeaten this year, with victories in the Saudi Cup, the San Diego Handicap (G2) and the Pacific Classic (G1). Improbable heads to the Classic in the best form of his career, with a pair of Grade 1 wins in the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Whitney.


 Consensus Top 10

 Matt Shifman's Top 10

 1. Maximum Security (27)

 1. Maximum Security

 2. Vekoma (7)

 2. Authentic

 3. Tom’s d’Etat (3)

 3. Tiz the Law

 4. Monomoy Girl

 4. Improbable

 5. Improbable

 5. Monomoy Girl

 6. By My Standards

 6. Vekoma

 7. Midnight Bisou

 7. By My Standards

 8. Tiz the Law

 8. Tom’s d’Etat

 9. Authentic

 9. Midnight Bisou

 10. Rushing Fall

 10. Rushing Fall


Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently is a Senior Writer. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing

Matt has been a co-host of the popular weekly video show HorseCenter for many years.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Matt is also a partner in the New York Hot List handicapping service @NYHotList where he handicaps the races on the NYRA circuit everyday. The Hot List picks are available at several ADW sites around the country.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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