Updated on 01/26/2015 10:24AM

Watchmaker Watch: Weekly divisional ratings


Updated: January 26, 2015. Weekly Thoroughbred racing divisional ratings by Mike Watchmaker, national handicapper for Daily Racing Form. Horses must have at least one start in North America.

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Older Males

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1 – Shared Belief,
by Candy Ride
Believe he's the most talented horse in the U.S.
2 – California Chrome,
by Lucky Pulpit
The Horse of the Year should have a huge 2015
3 – Bayern,
by Offlee Wild
His schedule is uncertain due to quarter crack
4 – Lea,
by First Samurai
A very exciting performer when he is healthy

5- Main Sequence,
by Aldebaran
8- Tonalist,
by Tapit
6- Palace Malice,
by Curlin
9- Wicked Strong,
by Hard Spun
7- Wise Dan,
by Wiseman's Ferry
10- Hoppertunity,
by Any Given Saturdayl

Older Females

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1 – Untapable,
by Tapit
Champ dominated at 3; should keep on rolling
2 – Beholder,
by Henny Hughes
Two-time champ will be on a mission this year
3 – Don't Tell Sophia,
by Congaree
Tough, consistent, and has never been better
4 – Stopchargingmaria,
by Tale of the Cat
Did have a very accomplished 3yo campaign

5- Iotapa,
by Afleet Alex
8- Sweet Reason,
by Street Sense
6- Dayatthespa,
by City Zip
9- Tiz Midnight,
by Midnight Lute
7- Judy the Beauty,
by Ghostzapper
10- Artemis Agrotera,
by Roman Ruler

3-Year-Old Males

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1 – American Pharoah,
by Pioneerof the Nile
Champ is the top gun here when he's right
2 – Texas Red,
by Afleet Alex
Romped in the BC, but 'Pharoah' wasn't there
3 – Blofeld,
by Quality Ride
Perfect form; has beaten successful horses
4 – Carpe Diem,
by Giant's Causeway
Already good, but will improve with distance

5- Dortmund,
by Big Brown
8- Upstart (new),
by Flatter
6- Calculator,
by In Summation
9- El Kabier (7),
by Scat Daddy
7- Daredevil (9),
by More Than Ready
10- Imperia (8),
by Medaglia d'Oro

3-Year-Old Females

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1 – Take Charge Brandi,
by Giant's Causeway
If divisional champ has an edge on these, it's tiny
2 – Lady Eli,
by Divine Park
Still think this turfer is the most talented here
3 – Peace and War,
by War Front
Barn has huge plans for this Alcibiades winner
4 – Top Decile,
by Congrats
Her 3yo debut was too poor to be believed

5- West Coast Belle,
by Tapit
8- Condo Commando,
by Tiz Wonderful
6- No Fault of Mine,
by Blame
9- Sunset Glow,
by Exchange Rate
7- I'm a Chatterbox,
by Munnings
10- Birdatthewire (new),
by Summer Bird

Turf Males

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1 – Main Sequence,
by Aldebaran
Deserving champ has yet to lose in the U.S.
2 – Wise Dan,
by Wiseman’s Ferry
Rooting for past champ to come back strong
3 – California Chrome,
by Lucky Pulpit
Turf now an option; how much will he use it?
4 – Twilight Eclipse,
by Purim
Steady, and always close to the division's best

5- Imagining,
by Giant's Causeway
8- Obviously,
by Choisir
6- Hardest Core,
by Hard Spun
9- Finnegans Wake,
by Powerscourt
7- Kaigun,
by Northern Afleet
10- Tourist,
by Tiznow

Turf Females

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1 – Dayatthespa,
by City Zip
Divisional champ remains in training
2 – Stephanie's Kitten,
by Kitten's Joy
Didn't sell in Nov.; might also race in 2015
3 – Euro Charline,
by Myboycharlie
Hope is this world traveler will return to U.S.
4 – Crown Queen,
by Smart Strike
Perfect at 3; her best races are in front of her

5- Ball Dancing,
by Exchange Rate
8- Minorette,
by Smart Strike
6- Filimbi,
by Mizzen Mast
9- Emollient,
by Empire Maker
7- La Tia,
by City Place
10- Parranda,
by English Channel


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1 – Palace,
by City Zip
Won two Gr. 1s last year; division is open
2 – Work All Week,
by City Zip
Reigning champ is 10 for 10 on dirt tracks
3 – Private Zone,
by Macho Uno
Solid even if his Cigar Mile was bias-aided
4 – Secret Circle,
by Eddington
Can be a major player when he's on his game

5- Judy the Beauty,
by Ghostzapper
8- Dads Caps,
by Discreet Cat
6- Big Macher,
by Beau Genius
9- Bobby's Kitten,
by Kitten's Joy
7- Bourbon Courage,
by Lion Heart
10- The Big Beast,
by Yes It's True


Victoria Keith 8 hours ago
You should rename these groupings, as they're certainly not "divisional" groupings. A division runs over similar conditions -- long on dirt, for example. In the "older female" supposed "division" you have females going long on dirt, long on turf, and short on dirt. That's three different divisions, all under the same heading.
Honnimae 10 hours ago
work all week is Trash
john g 13 hours ago
This year we have a pretty decent bunch of older horses returning to race again and face each other. I believe its overall the best group of older horses in awhile, I'm not saying any single one as the best horse ever, just as a group, they are pretty solid. Its going to be fun to watch them race each other. I would love to see 4 or 5 of Watchmakers top ten square off !
Mark Kennedy 6 days ago
really you have CC as the third best turf horse in the US because he beat a weak field First time MIKE im scratching my head with your thought process
Carolyn Wyatt 7 days ago
Upstart will start his road to Ky Derby 1/24 at Holy Bull. He will grind Frosted, Bluegrass Singer, Keen Ice and others in 5 length victory.
Frank Reach 8 days ago
Mike, I appreciate you doing these weekly ratings. I do enjoy reading them. I know folks, including myself, get critical at times on your rankings, but I assure you it's all good. Thanks for putting up with all of us with our comments. Luckily we all differ in opinions, which makes pari-mutuel wagering work. I wish you well.
Duncan 12 days ago
Bayern has faced California Chrome three times and beaten him twice. Including on the square in BC Classic. Please explain these rankings?
TRacingLifeMore 15 days ago
Lumping 3 year old dirt and turf horses into the same category continues to be a bizarre practice. Take Charge Brandi and Lady Eli will likely never face each other. No use comparing them.
Honnimae 14 days ago
Agree Eli is way more talented
Victoria Keith 8 hours ago
Absolutely! I don't know why folks of the stature of Watchmaker and others don't fix this problem of combining turf horses into the dirt divisions. A horse should actually RUN under the conditions of a division to be included in that division. Separating them by age isn't a division at all, just one of several criteria of a division.
jim lefferts 18 days ago
Placing California Chrome ahead of Twighlight Eclipse and Imaging in the turf male category is nonsensical. Chrome has never even beaten an older horse let alone on turf. His lone turf win was against perhaps the weakest Grade 1 field in racing history. The hype on this overrated horse just keeps on going.
jim lefferts 18 days ago
Amend comment: Chrome has never won a race against older horses.
Philip C 18 days ago
I agree with you Jim!! He didn't beat the best turf 3 year-old horses like Mr Speaker and Adelaide. He doesn't deserve to be ranked on the best Turf Males.
john g 15 days ago
I agree as far as the Turf races, but lets give credit where its due on the dirt, as CC did win this little race called the Ky Derby, among others. In the turf division I agree, but CC should win HOY and 3 yr. old honors, hands down, no other horse comes close.
Lawrence MacSelwiney 20 days ago
Such a great time for racing with all the 3 year old important races looming. I just hope The Gomper meets up with Dortmund, Acceptance, Firing Line, and Texas Red. The Gomper may turn out to be the best California has.