07/07/2012 2:06PM

Second Half Starts With 3 Grade 1's

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The second half of the 2012 calendar is backloaded with 75 of the year's 112 U.S. Grade 1 races, starting with today's United Nations at Monmouth, Princess Rooney at Calder and the Hollywood Gold Cup. Some would argue that the Suburban at Belmont should be a G1 and I would not argue with them, especially given that the Suburban field of 7 includes three G1 winners (Hymn Book, Stay Thirsty, To Honor and Serve), same as the Hollywood Gold Cup (Game on Dude, Love Theway Youare, Richard's Kid.) Maybe next year, when they get around to restoring the Hopeful to a G1.

Below is the Grade 1 scoreboard for the year to date. I'll Have Another (remember him?) is the only three-time G1 winner so far, with his consecutive victories in the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies and the Preakness. The only other dual G1 winners are Groupie Doll (Madison, Humana Distaff) and Ron the Greek (Santa Anita Handicap, Stephen Foster), with the other 30 races going to 30 different runners.

There's a three-way tie among leading G1 trainers. Bob Baffert, Doug O'Neill and Dale Romans have four victories apiece. Three of O'Neill's four were with I'll Have Another and he also won the Kilroe Mile with Willyconker. Baffert and Romans's quartets have both come with four different horses: Baffert with Eden's Moon (Las Virgenes), Plum Pretty (Apple Blossom), Bodemeister (Arkansas Derby) and Contested (Acorn), and Romans with Dullahan (Blue Grass), Little Mike (Woodford Reserve Turf Classic), Shackleford (Met Mile) and Tapitsfly (Just a Game).