Updated on 10/07/2015 10:42AM

Watchmaker Watch: Weekly divisional ratings


Updated: October 5, 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 Dirt Males

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1 – Honor Code,
by A.P. Indy
Shockingly flat in Kelso after two major wins
2 – Liam's Map,
by Unbridled's Song
Easy Woodward trip; still a freak right now
3 – Shared Belief,
by Candy Ride
Hoping for a big comeback from him next year
4 – Tonalist (5),
by Tapit
It's great to be a Belmont horse for the course

5- California Chrome (4),
by Lucky Pulpit
8- Noble Bird,
by Birdstone
6- Constitution,
by Tapit
9- Catch a Flight,
by Giant's Causeway
7- Lea,
by First Samurai
10- Smooth Roller,
by Hard Spun

Older Dirt Females

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1 – Beholder,
by Henny Hughes
Absolutely belongs against males in Classic
2 – Wedding Toast,
by Street Sense
Romped in Beldame in return; can improve
3 – Sheer Drama,
by Burning Roma
Like the top two, she's on Gr. 1 win streak
4 – Got Lucky (new),
by A.P. Indy
Spinster winner is in raging form right now

5- Untapable,
by Tapit
8- Molly Morgan (7),
by Ghostzapper
6- Stopchargingmaria (4),
by Tale of the Cat
9- Warren's Veneda (8),
by Affirmative
7- Frivolous (6),
by Empire Maker
10- Yahilwa (9),
by Medaglia d'Oro

3-Year-Old Males             

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1 – American Pharoah,
by Pioneerof the Nile
Almost all of the greats lost some big races
2 – Keen Ice,
by Curlin
The only one to have beaten Pharoah this year
3 – Frosted,
by Tapit
He'll win plenty of races away from Pharoah
4 – Dortmund,
by Big Brown
Has been unlucky from the Preakness on

5- Texas Red,
by Afleet Alex
8- Upstart,
by Flatter
6- Firing Line,
by Line of David
9- Carpe Diem,
by Giant's Causeway
7- Materiality,
by Afleet Alex
10- Speightster,
by Speightstown

3-Year-Old Females

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1 – I'm a Chatterbox,
by Munnings
Got her Gr. 1 win; has the best overall record
2 – Lady Eli,
by Divine Park
Still think she's the most talented, however
3 – Curalina,
by Curlin
Soundly beaten second vs. elders in Beldame
4 – Lovely Maria,
by Majesticperfection
Seems far removed from her Ky. Oaks form

5- Cavorting,
by Bernardini
8- Sentiero Italia,
by Medaglia d'Oro
6- Embellish the Lace,
by Super Saver
9- Include Betty,
by Include
7- Stellar Wind,
by Curlin
10- Spanish Queen,
by Tribal Rule

2-Year-Old males

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1 – Nyquist,
by Uncle Mo
Not inspired by his desperate FrontRunner win
2 – Brody's Cause (new),
by Giant's Causeway
Breeders' Futurity winner will only get better
3 – Greenpointcrusader (new),
by Bernardini
The same goes for the Champagne winner
4 – Exaggerator,
by Curlin
Game, but second best in Breeders's Futurity

5- Ralis (2),
by Square Eddie
8- Swipe (6),
by Birdstone
6- Saratoga Mischief (5),
by Into Mischief
9- Cocked and Loaded (8),
by Colonel John
7- Mrazek (3),
by Square Eddie
10- Mohaymen (9),
by Tapit

2 Year-Old Females

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1 – Songbird,
by Medaglia d'Oro
Chandelier winner has not been tested yet
2 – Rachel's Valentina,
by Bernardini
Totally professional in her Spinaway score
3 – Tap to It,
by Tapit
Game second in Spinaway; tough customer
4 – Pretty N Cool,
by Scat Daddy
No match for the top one in Dmr Debutante

5- Off the Tracks,
by Curlin
8- Gomo (new),
by Uncle Mo
6- Lucky Folie,
by Distorted Humor
9- La Appassionata (7),
by Bernardini
7- Nickname (new),
by Scat Daddy
10- Land Over Sea,
by Bellamy Road

Turf Males

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1 – Flintshire,
by Dansili
Followed big Saratoga win 2nd in the Arc
2 – Big Blue Kitten,
by Kitten's Joy
Fired again winning Joe Hirsch, but was lucky
3 – The Pizza Man,
by English Channel
Near Shadwell miss validates his Million win
4 – Main Sequence,
by Aldebaran
Tendon injury unfortunately forced retirement

5- Ironicus,
by Distorted Humor
8- Twilight Eclipse (7),
by Purim
6- Grand Arch (new),
by Arch
9- Tourist,
by Tiznow
7- Highland Reel (6),
by Galileo
10- Slumber (8),
by Cacique

Turf Females

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1 – Hard Not to Like,
by Hard Spun
Flopped in Rodeo Drive; still has 2 Gr. 1 wins
2 – Tepin,
by Bernstein
No photo finish in the First Lady; she galloped
3 – Dacita,
by Scat Daddy
Impressed winning Ballston Spa in U.S. debut
4 – Secret Gesture,
by Galileo
Best in Beverly D. despite the disqualification

5- Stephanie's Kitten (6),
by Kitten's Joy
8- Filimbi,
by Mizzen Mast
6- Kitten's Queen (5),
by Kitten's Joy
9- Photo Call (new),
by Galileo
7- Ball Dancing,
by Exchange Rate
10- Watsdachances (9),
by Diamond Green


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1 – Private Zone,
by Macho Uno
Earned this spot, but had easy trip in Forego
2 – Runhappy,
by Super Saver
Sensational yet again winning the Phoenix
3 – Rock Fall,
by Speightstown
Was hard-pressed to prevail in Vosburgh
4 – Wild Dude (8),
by Wildcat Heir
Won two Grade 1s in his last three outings

5- The Big Beast (4),
by Yes It's True
8- Secret Circle (6),
by Eddington
6- Masochistic (5),
by Sought After
9- Work All Week (7),
by City Zip
7- Appealing Tale (9),
by Tale of the Cat
10- Big Macher,
by Beau Genius


Jack Armstead 13 hours ago
Tepin is a beast vs. other females. She should be on top. If she ran that well on soft turf at Keeneland (from the #11 hole), I will bet her back at any distance 1 1/8 and under on any turf surface. I don't know if she'll run 1 1/4 miles, but she deserves a shot. I made more money on this horse than any other this year as a Single in Multi-race wagers.
saratogajunkie 2 days ago
Tepin's race was one of the most impressive I've seen this year, Tonalist looked much the best and Run Happy proved he's a freak...have to wonder if these didn't peak a race to soon.
Frank Reach 2 days ago
Excellent point. It's always interesting once entries are made where the speed and post positions are as well. No matter what, it really will be awesome seeing all these great horses come together. #BCrules
Demetrios 2 days ago
BC sprint analysis Run happy- fastest horse with best stamina, loves sloppy track Rock fall- has good speed to be close to pace and is an amazing closer off the pace! Salutos amigos - stays mid packed and closes well. He almost beat rockfall, loves sloppy track, and can be 2nd Kobe's back- amazing closer who can get 3rd or 4th Wild dude- too slow Work all week- decent horse who can get 2nd or 3rd. Decent on sloppy track
Demetrios 2 days ago
Run happy is faster than private zone! Run happy has better stamina than private zone! Rock fall, run happy / rockfall fall, run happy, private zone, salutos amigos/ rock fall, run happy, salutos amigos, private zone, Kobe's back and work all week is my trifecta bet so far
Frank Reach 3 days ago
Always enjoy reading your weekly ratings. In my opinion Tepin showed she's the best female turf horse in the country and she'll be tough as nails in the BC mare turf race. I prefer Runhappy over Private Zone for the sprint, but, hard to fault having Private Zone on top of the rating....however, that BC sprint race is going to fun to watch. Admittedly I was a huge Super Saver fan, so I'm rooting for Runhappy in that race. I think if they run Beholder against the boys in the Classic, that'd be a mistake....as she would be a cinch in the BC mare race.....and not only are the older horses from the East good, but, so is American Pharoah, Keen Ice and Frosted. If I were them, I'd just go against the girls. Frosted is peaking at the right time. If he can get a patient ride in the Classic like he got in the Penn Derby.....instead of being sent and sacrificed going after AP early in the Travers....which was a horrible ride by the way........Frosted will be a great bet in the Classic in my opinion, as we all know AP will be over bet by the public and with the older monster horses in there, Frosted might be a juicy double digit price. No matter what, I'm looking forward to a great BC. It will be fun having it at Keeneland this year. Should be a beautiful two days. Good luck all.
Demetrios 2 days ago
Good to hear from you frank! I agree that tepin is a top turf horse in her division! The chad brown horse decepta is the best in the world because she holds records that yet to be broken 1 1/4 @ 1:56 and 1 1/16 @ 1:38 is AMAZING Anyway here are my picks for breeders cup: Turf sprint: ageless Filly and mare sprint : cavorting Sprint- rock fall, run happy, private zone, salutos amigos boxed Classic - American pharoah, tonalist, beholder, Liam's map, smooth roller Turf mile : grand arch, tepin, mondialiste Turf mile and a half : big blue kitten, the pizza man, Flintshire, red rifle Juvenile: Brody's cause, exaggerator Dirt mile: appealing tale, wicked strong
saratogajunkie 2 days ago
Like almost all your picks...Flintshire toyed with most of these in SAR and may be a single for me..Tepin may be as well.
Demetrios 2 days ago
Yea. Flintshire has a high vo2 max but low lactate threshold which explains why his late is a little flat. The most likely winner will be big blue kitten and the pizza man. You must have liked big blue kitten track record at Belmont going a mile and a half? My picks are tentative right now and as we get closer, my picks may slightly change.
Frank Reach 2 days ago
Love your enthusiasm! It's always good to see your opinion on the races. Obviously, as we get closer I'll lock in my selections as well. BEFORE post time of day 1 on BC, we all should post our pick in each race and see how we do. It's all fun. You too Saratogajunkie........always good to see your posts on here as well. I agree Flintshire toyed with them at Saratoga. I'll wait and see what other Euros show up to make that final opinion as well , but no question he is a monster.
Demetrios 2 days ago
Yea tommy not my real name but Demetrios is ; ) Did u like big blue kittens track record at Belmont going a mile and a half? I thought it was amazing! But I will use big blue kitten, the pizza man and Flintshire on top of my exotics regardless if golden horn runs or not.
saratogajunkie 21 hours ago
Never thought Pizza was THIS good of a horse...his last two have proven me wrong, only question now is possibly the soft going what moves him up? I still think he's biting off more than he can chew but no doubt deserves to go and has proven he can run on the track at KEE or was it the soft turf...hmmm
Demetrios 11 hours ago
The pizza an changed his running tactics. Last year he went to the lead to set pace and then towards the end, he was short and wound up 2nd or 3rd. This year he is employing a closing style. As we age our vo2 max and max heart rate decreases but not our lactate threshold. What this means: younger horses are supposed to go to the lead to use their high vo2 max if they have any chance of winning. Older horses need to be trained to " close like a bullet" and use their high lactate threshold. That's why older horses like wise dan, the pizza man, big blue kitten, Stephanie's kitten were able to win grade 1 races even though they are old. By the way if it rains and it's a yielding or soft track, the pizza man and big blue kitten will beat Flintshire or golden horn. Look at arlington million, they ran faster fractions and times through a yielding thunder storm than what Flintshire or golden horn do on a fast track!
Larry Kaufman 4 days ago
the kelso was a prep nothing more then a paid workout
joseantoniocc 4 days ago
About Greenpointcrusader, i pointed out, 26 days ago, that he made an interesting performance... Enough to keep our ayes on him... He paid off this Saturday with a better race... I really like this colt... Exaggerator made everything to lose the Breeder´s Futurity... I do believe he might get the Breeders Cup... Honor Code was not the same, probably because of the track conditions... He looked uncomfortable, but in the final furlong he finished with a decent action... I still believe Honor Code is the best horse in America, his performance in the Met Mile is so far the most spectacular in 2015.
saratogajunkie 2 days ago
Yes you did, put him on my watch list cause of your comment..nicely done
Gary Smith 4 days ago
Ralis a 2year old Include colt should be Included in this list.he,s Undefeated 4 for 4 ,won 3 Stakes at Woodbine Including the GR 3 Grey Stakes at a mile and 16th and heading to the Breeders Cup.
Gary Smith 4 days ago
make that Riker above 2 year old Include colt 4 for 4,3 stakes one Grade 3 earnings $209,049
Richard Cadena 4 days ago
The East Coast-based older horses at the longer classic distances seem to be playing musical chairs. Honor Code beats Tonalist; Effinex beats Tonalist, who turns the tables on Effinex. Honor Code beats Liam's Map, in life and death finish at 1 1//8. Honor Code loses to the West Coast-based good miler Appealing Tale at the mile distance. Honor Code may be a more natural long distance sprinter; at 6 1/2 and 7 furlongs he is 2 for 2. At the mile and longer distances he is: 4 wins 4 loses, losing to horses like Protonico. Losing to Protonico and now Appealing Tale calls into question the strength and ranking of the older division horses. He didn't race as much due to injury but Shared Belief most likely beat better quality route horses this year, including California Chrome. Maybe they will run Honor Code in the mile.
joseantoniocc 10 days ago
About the 2yo division. I am pretty sure the best of this crop has not shown up yet.
jim 11 days ago
Mike, I know she was mostly beating up on CA turfers in the Rodeo Drive, but I still believe Photo Call has the makings of a really good horse. Jim
Marcus Semona 29 days ago
Top 3 2 y/o colts in the country traibrf by O'Neill and owned by Reddam
tommy 18 days ago
Right now the top 2 year old in the world is hiding in someone's barn and running a mile on grass @ 1:34 in someone's farm!!