01/17/2006 12:00AM

Hurricane Run seen as best in '05


In the year of Katrina, Hurricane Run has been rated as the best horse in the world on the 2005 World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, while Ghostzapper took honors for the second consecutive year as the world's highest-rated older horse. George Washington was named juvenile champion in a category restricted to horses trained in Europe.

The impressive winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Irish Derby during his 3-year-old season last year, Hurricane Run was pegged at 130 by a world rankings committee that included handicappers from Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, the United States, Canada, and Japan. That gave Hurricane Run, a Montjeu colt, a two-pound edge over Ghostzapper as the highest rated horse in the world and a five-pound edge over both Epsom Derby winner Motivator and French Derby winner Shamardal for the world 3-year-old title.

Hurricane Run's 130 was also two pounds higher than the 3-year-old mark earned by the 2004 3-year-old champ, Smarty Jones. Owned by Michael Tabor, Hurricane Run remains in training this year with Andre Fabre.

Ghostzapper landed his second older horse title by dint of his only run of the year, a scintillating 6 1/4-length victory in the Metropolitan Handicap on May 30. Retired shortly thereafter, Ghostzapper, a Bobby Frankel-trained son of Awesome Again, is also the highest-rated horse in the world on dirt for the second successive year, as well as the world's highest rated miler. In 2004 he had been rated at 130, a figure that had made him the highest-rated Thoroughbred in the world.

Afleet Alex, who won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, lays claim to the highest rated 3-year-old on dirt at 124, a mark he shares with the Japanese Triple Crown champ Deep Impact. Divine Proportions, winner of both the French 1000 Guineas and the French Oaks, is the highest rated filly or mare at 122, one pound ahead of Irish Oaks and Prix Vermeille winner Shawanda and two pounds in front of the Japanese Oaks and American Oaks winner Cesario, whose 120 makes her the highest-rated 3-year-old filly to have run in America in 2005. Gorella's close third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile earned her the highest rating of any 3-year-old filly trained in America at 116. Sweet Catomine, at 115, was the top American 3-year-old filly on dirt by virtue of her three-length score in the Santa Anita Oaks.

Lost in the Fog and Silver Train, co-rated at 119, are the leading 3-year-old sprinters in the world, as well as the best sprinters on dirt of any age. Hong Kong's turf speedster Silent Witness is the overall top-rated sprinter at 123.

Ghostzapper's margin of victory in the older horse category was two pounds, over both the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes winner Azamour, and the Arc runner-up Westerner, whose victory in the Ascot Gold Cup rates him the world's co-leading stayer with the Japanese St. Leger winner Deep Impact at 118.

The Breeders' Cup Classic winner Saint Liam and the Breeders' Cup Turf winner Shirocco share fourth place on the older-horse list at 125, while Leroidesanimaux is the highest-rated turf horse trained in America at 124.

Older fillies and mares fared poorly in the world rankings. Alexander Goldrun, Pride, and Soviet Song share top billing in that division at 119, while the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Intercontinental and the Breeders' Cup Distaff champ Pleasant Home come in a pound behind them at 118.

The 2-year-old division, restricted to horses trained in Europe because of a lack of comparative international form lines, was led by George Washington. An Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Danehill, George Washington earned a rating of 124 for his eight-length rout of the Phoenix Stakes on Aug. 7, which he followed with a second Group 1 tally in the National Stakes. The undefeated Sir Percy took second place at 121 with his Dewhurst Stakes victory over the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Horatio Nelson, who shares third place with the Middle Park Stakes winner Amadeus Wolf. The O'Brien-trained Rumplestiltskin was named European juvenile filly champ at 116 for her victories in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Prix Marcel Boussac.