Updated on 12/15/2014 9:50AM

Watchmaker Watch: Weekly divisional ratings


Updated: December 15, 2014. 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 – Main Sequence,
by Aldebaran
Turfer is also most accomplished older male
2 – Palace Malice,
by Curlin
He's coming back next year; that's good news
3 – Wise Dan,
by Wiseman’s Ferry
Also a turfer, also comparatively accomplished
4 – Lea,
by First Samurai
May have done big things if he stayed healthy

5- Goldencents,
by Into Mischief
8- Itsmyluckyday,
by Lawyer Ron
6- Zivo,
by True Direction
9- Game On Dude,
by Awesome Again
7- Moreno,
by Ghostzapper
10- Will Take Charge,
by Unbridled’s Song

Older Females

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1 – Close Hatches,
by First Defence
Retains this ranking on her body of work
2 – Beholder,
by Henny Hughes
Two-time champ will race again in 2015
3 – Princess of Sylmar,
by Majestic Warrior
Timely retirement; was absolutely top class
4 – Don't Tell Sophia,
by Congaree
Had strong campaign despite Falls City loss

5- Midnight Lucky,
by Midnight Lute
8- Belle Gallantey,
by After Market
6- Iotapa,
by Afleet Alex
9- Let Faith Arise,
by Kafwain
7- Antipathy,
by A.P. Indy
10- Broken Sword,
by Broken Vow

3-Year-Old Males

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1 – California Chrome,
by Lucky Pulpit
Loved how he tried something new, and won
2 – Bayern,
by Offlee Wild
Classic controversy overshadows his abilities
3 – Shared Belief,
by Candy Ride
The most talented; Classic debacle cost him
4 – Tonalist,
by Tapit
Too far back in Classic; not a good fit for SA

5- Toast of New York,
by Thewayyouare
8- Tapiture,
by Tapit
6- Wicked Strong,
by Hard Spun
9- Danza,
by Street Boss
7- V. E. Day,
by English Channel
10- Hoppertunity,
by Any Given Saturday

3-Year-Old Females

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1 – Untapable,
by Tapit
Dominant barely describes her status here
2 – Stopchargingmaria,
by Tale of the Cat
Pace compromised, distant 2nd in Beldame
3 – Sweet Reason,
by Street Sense
She's much better than she showed at SA
4 – Artemis Agrotera,
by Roman Ruler
Also better than she showed in F-M Sprint

5- Euro Charline,
by Myboycharlie
8- Taris,
by Flatter
6- Stonetastic,
by Mizzen Mast
9- Ria Antonia,
by Rockport Harbor
7- My Miss Sophia,
by Unbridled’s Song
10- Unbridled Forever,
by Unbridled’s Song

2-Year-Old males

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1 – American Pharoah,
by Pioneerof the Nile
Highly flattered by Juvenile result; still best
2 – Texas Red,
by Afleet Alex
Got a good setup, and crushed in the Juvenile
3 – Blofeld,
by Quality Road
Ky. Jockey Club result helped boost his stock
4 – Carpe Diem,
by Giant's Causeway
No match at SA, but he'll improve with time

5- Dortmund,
by Big Brown
8- Imperia,
by Medaglia d'Oro
6- Daredevil,
by More Than Ready
9- Frosted,
by Tapit
7- El Kabeir,
by Scat Daddy
10- Leave the Light On,
by Horse Greeley

2 Year-Old Females

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1 – Take Charge Brandi,
by Giant's Causeway
Put a bow on her title with her Starlet victory
2 – Lady Eli,
by Divine Park
Turf specialist is likely the most talented here
3 – Sunset Glow,
by Exchange Rate
Being second best to Lady Eli is no disgrace
4 – Peace and War,
by War Front
Alcibiades win flattered by Top Decile in BC

5- Top Decile,
by Congrats
8- By The Moon,
by Indian Charlie
6- Condo Commando,
by Tiz Wonderful
9- Angela Renee,
by Bernardini
7- West Coast Belle,
by Tapit

10- No Fault of Mine,
by Blame

Turf Males

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1 – Main Sequence,
by Aldebaran
BC Turf was his 4th Grade 1; the boss here
2 – Wise Dan,
by Wiseman’s Ferry
Missed the BC, but won three Grade 1 races
3 – Karakontie,
by Bernstein
Showed his best French form, took the Mile
4 – Flintshire,
by Dansili
Was a terrific, close second in the BC Turf

5- Anodin,
by Anabaa
8- Hardest Core,
by Hard Spun
6- Trade Storm,
by Trade Fair
9- Tom's Tribute,
by Lion Heart
7- Imagining,
by Giant's Causeway
10- Obviously,
by Choisir

Turf Females

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1 – Dayatthespa,
by City Zip
Won the big one; finished with 2 Gr. 1 scores
2 – Stephanie's Kitten,
by Kitten's Joy
Could have been on top with one less second
3 – Euro Charline,
by Myboycharlie
Her Beverly D. form went on to hold up well
4 – Just The Judge,
by Lawman
All three of her N. American starts were good

5- Riposte,
by Dansili
8- Abaco,
by Giant's Causeway
6- Coffee Clique,
by Medaglia d’Oro
9- Emollient,
by Empire Maker
7- Somali Lemonade,
by Lemon Drop Kid
10- La Tia,
by City Place


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1 – Palace,
by City Zip
Outrun in BC, but did win two Grade 1 sprints
2 – Work All Week,
by City Zip
BC Sprint was his first Gr. 1; huge title threat
3 – Goldencents,
by Into Mischief
Dirt Mile winner also had sharp sprint form
4 – Secret Circle,
by Eddington
Couldn't beat the track bias in the Cigar Mile

5- Private Zone,
by Macho Uno
8- Judy the Beauty,
by Ghostzapper
6- Rich Tapestry,
by Holy Roman Emperor
9- Big Macher,
by Beau Genius
7- Bobby's Kitten,
by Kitten's Joy
10- Wild Dude,
by Wildcat Heir


Bob 2 days ago
Chrome won HOY. Is it 4 grade 1's including Derby. Case closed. Bayern was hit or badly miss all year. Turf racing a whole other category
WarChant 9 days ago
unless the plan is to campaign karakonie and flintshire in north america year round as opposed to shipping here once, they do not belong in the rankings
john g 9 days ago
comments turned off for the eclipse awards article ? California Chrome should be in the no-brainer category in winning 3 year old champion and Horse of the year award. Chrome's wins by far overshadow any other 3 yr. olds wins by far. And, if it had been anywhere but santa anita Bayern would have been DQ in the classic. The one you have to feel for is Shared Belief. Maybe we'll see a " fair run" rematch next year, well, that's if its ran somewhere beside santa anita.
Chad mc rory 14 days ago
Despite illness and injury, Wise Dan is still our reigning HoY and Turf Champ. No knock on Main Sequence here but he has not beaten the Champ yet...
Tom Hickey 9 days ago
Wise Dan is a miler. Even if he was younger, he'd never hook up with Main Sequence who runs longer distances, if I recall.
Chad mc rory 9 days ago
The challenger comes to the Champ. That's always been the way it's done.
Michael Amoruso 2 days ago
Main Sequence won the important turf races this year at the important distances. This one should be no contest.
Neil Garvin 15 days ago
Mr. Watchmaker, can you please make an announcement regarding the Racing Post Ratings and why they are not being published in the DRF? If you cannot get those ratings then bring back the Timeform Ratings. DRF announced with much fanfare, and the ad is still on your site, that the Racing Post Ratings would be published in the DRF. Where are they?
derby1592 15 days ago
Hi Mike, I always like reading through your ranking but this week I have to ask you why no love for Private Zone? You have Palace on top in the sprint division. Private Zone dusted him in the Vosburgh this year and again in the BC sprint. Private Zone also has 2 G1 wins this year and a solid third in the BC sprint. I don’t see how you could possibly place Palace above Private Zone. You have Secret Circle above Private Zone. Private Zone just dusted Secret Circle in the Cigar and Secret Circle has not won a single race this year! I don’t know how you could possibly place him above Private Zone. You have Goldencents above Private Zone. Private Zone dusted him last winter in the Cigar Mile when they went head to head. This year Goldencents he has a G1 win at a mile and a G2 win at 7f. Private Zone has 2 G1 wins. Again, I think you have to give the edge to Private Zone but this one is closer than the other 2. Finally, you have Work All Week above Private Zone. He has the strongest case since he actually beat Private Zone in the BC Sprint but that was his only G1 win in his entire career. He won a lot of races this year but against inferior competition. I can see possibly putting him ahead of Private Zone based on his BC win but I (and I am admittedly biased) would still give the edge to Private Zone. It is always fun to have these sorts of debates. Thanks for always putting it out there for discussion. Cheers Chris
Ted Bezel 16 days ago
Mr. Watchmaker, please watch the juvenile fillies race one more time. PUCA was much the best, needs to be in top 10
Ann Maree 16 days ago
Mike, ready for you to give us your take on the Eclipse standings!
Arch Stanton 16 days ago
I am really tired of the "facing older horses" line. The older horse division was pathetic from May on..... The best dirt horses were all 3yo. Bayern has 2 G1 wins, no different than MMM, or Fort Larned, in their BCC victory years; each won WITHOUT controversy. I will listen to Main Sequence or CC for HOY, but not Bayern, who has only 2 G1 wins, including one at the "suped up for Baffert" speedway in Monmouth. Also getting BEAT by 20+ lengths at the Travers still sticks in my mind, no "top" 3yo this year has been embarrassed by that much of a margin. (I know, I know, "speed dual", but u can make excuses for CC in Belmont, and of course for Shared Belief in Classic. It's simple, a prestigious honor as HOY needs to go to the horse with the most prestigious "pelts" on the wall.
Frank Reach 17 days ago
California Chrome looked amazing in his Hol Derby win. Fun to watch. And I'd like to note that I'm a big fan of CC. I truly bet him in the Ky Derby. However, is there anyone that doesn't think Bayern or Shared Belief wouldn't of won that easy Hol Derby race in the same fashion, not having to face each other? California Chrome will win the 3 year old eclipse. He did win the big one in May. And clearly he is the fan favorite. But, here's the truth...he's not faster than Bayern. CC had a better trip in the Classic than Bayern, who did interfere at the start which gave CC a perfect trip, and the Bayern himself had contact at the start as well....and CC still couldn't catch him. Speed bias you say? Funny how watching Texas Red and other's that came from off the pace such as Untapable.....no one says speed bias. Santa Anita plays as it plays and CC still couldn't catch Bayern. In fact at Parx it was a joke.....but, yes, CC needed the race. Oh, that's Bayern beating him twice in a row. So, we all know Bayern is fast....what about closers? Does anyone really believe Shared Belief can't run with or catch CC? So, bottom line...CC should win 3 year old Championship. Even though he is NOT the best 3 year old. However, he should NOT be HOY. He clearly doesn't deserve it. Another question....do you really think he is better than Main Sequence on the turf? Ha....of course not. CC only beat 3 year olds the other day. Main Sequence would beat him on the turf. Main Sequence will most likely win HOY. I will admit my vote is for Untapable. I won't go into why, only because I'm sure she won't get the votes. But, I can tell you this...she won her BC race against older mares. And let's face it....CC has never won a race with older horses in it. Oh yeah......that's right ....the only time he faced older....he ran 3rd to two other 3 year olds that are BOTH better than him.
Tom Hickey 16 days ago
Actually, you don't know how they would perform. Look at Ferdinand - out of Nijinsky - should have loved turf. He got a 4th and 5th in two tries until they gave up on it. Goldencents tried it and didn't take to it so they pulled the Shadwell and went Sprint instead. Better chance that Shared Belief would have taken to it than Bayern as he is good on synthetics. There's a reason most time the trainer don't try their horse on a different surface. It's risky. As for the trip in the BCC, Bayern gave himself a dream trip at the start. There's a big difference between being the horse creating the contact and the one being hit. He took out everyone inside that mattered and gave himself the shorted way aound without pressure. He does deserve full marks for carrying his speed but it's tainted, simple as that. I think it's a toss up myself and both are equally deserving, all depends on your perspective. CC gets credit for the tougher campaign with the TC grind and 4 G1's including dirt and now turf. He had one bad race in the PA Derby and was 2 lengths from winning the TC and the BCC. Bayern flew all over the country and had a fantastic last 6 months winning the Haskell, PA Derby and the BCC. He had 3 horrible races in the Derby Trial (Embellishing Bob?), Preakness and Travers, plus the controversial incident in the BCC. Whether main Sequence is a better turf horse than CC is irrelevant. He will win the award for Turf Horse of the Year. HOY, I don't think so. Take your pick.
Chad mc rory 14 days ago
"Look at Ferdinand - out of Nijinsky"... Now that I would have to see.
Jackson Jackson 16 days ago
Measured in feet per second Bayern wasn't faster . He was SLOWER . On grass Main Sequence would need to get about 7 lengths faster than he has ever ran in his life to beat Chrome at 10 furlongs . That's just the way it is . Main Sequence is slug slow and would have no chance at less than 12 furlongs .
Frank Reach 16 days ago
Jackson I will respond with the respect you deserve.....as both of us do love horse racing and well, let's admit it.....that puts us above average. Anyway, my point is Bayern is faster than Chrome. He is. I wasn't acting like CC couldn't beat him....or whether or not he was even better. I was just stating the fact that Bayern is faster. Maybe I should use the word quicker. Point is...he is. And CC lost to him twice...the last getting a dream trip. Now for Main Sequence, we have to agree to disagree...although thankfully we all do that...which makes for pari-mutuel wagering to work. Yes, Main Sequence is better longer....as CC would be better shorter...but, CC wouldn't of been able to win the BC Turf and Main Sequence did. Simple as that. CC does deserve 3 year old award, but not HOY.
Joel Firsching 16 days ago
Main sequence is actually bred to be a sprinter. Aldebaran started his career in Europe running 7f and mile distances. Then frankel got him and won grade 1 races on the dirt at 7f and 8f. Main sequences dam sire was a 5f sprinter in Europe. Can you imagine him winning the met mile next year ? This kind of breeding and wins grade 1s at 12 furlongs. Nobody mentions this about him. Amazing
Eric Rickard 15 days ago
First off. how does five wide all around the track in a mile and a 1/4 race constitute a dream trip? Bayern is a good horse, but every time he is pressured he has folded. I don't know why, but it is true. Second, do you honestly feel that Chrome was fit and ready for the Penn Derby and Classic off a 3 1/2 month break for a "grabbed quarter'' or what ever was ailing him? I think Shared belief is awesome; buy being a champ should require a better campaign. When he runs he is brilliant but he doesn't run that often which makes me wonder if he is fragile. Just stating my thoughts and wishing no ill will on anyone.
Ann 14 days ago
Bayern when he can get an easy first quarter and half, as he did in the PA Derby and the BC Classic, can keep going; if not, it's all she wrote at the quarter pole. I do NOT know why other jocks let him get it away with it without at least stalking him more closely, but I have serious doubts that modern jocks have the 'clock in their heads' that the greats of the past had.
Chad mc rory 14 days ago
Speculate if you want to Frank. I know what I saw.