08/09/2011 1:25PM

Who makes best case for top 3-year-old heading into Travers?


The Travers at the end of the month will go a long way toward settling what is still a wide-open race for best 3-year-old male of the year. Here's a look at how the race stands after the Triple Crown season, the Haskell, and the Jim Dandy for the top contenders in Mike Watchmaker's latest divisional ratings.

Watch the replays and cast your vote.

The case for ...

Animal Kingdom

2011 Starts Win Place Show Purse
5 2 2 0 $1,904,900

The Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up had the inside track until suffering a season-ending injury.


2011 Starts Win Place Show Purse
4 3 1 0 $721,200

It says a lot about a horse that he's in consideration despite missing all of the Triple Crown races. The late bloomer trainer by Bob Baffert won his first graded stakes in only his fourth career start, the Affirmed Handicap (G3) on June 11 at Hollywood Park. Coil started slowly but rallied to win by 1 1/4 lenghts over Smash and post a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.

A month later in the Swaps Stakes, Coil was caught at the wire by Dreamy Kid and lost by a head. Later in July, at the Haskell Invitational, Coil took down Preakness champ Shackleford in an epic comeback after breaking slowly at the gate. It was Coil's third consecutive race with a 96 Beyer Figure.


2011 Starts Win Place Show Purse
7 2 2 0 $1,666,300

Shackleford led for most of the way in the Kentucky Derby before fading to a fourth-place finish, but he came back with a courageous effort to hold off Animal Kingdom and win the Preakness.

Shackleford again was out front early in the Belmont Stakes but couldn't hold the lead for the entire 1 1/2-mile route in sloppy conditions, ultimately finishing fifth. After more than a month off he came back to place in the Haskell.

Stay Thirsty

2011 Starts Win Place Show Purse
5 2 1 0 $650,000

Mostly known for being the Todd Pletcher 3-year-old not named "Uncle Mo," Stay Thirsty has raced in five graded stakes this year and hit the board in three of them. Here's his victory in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 5 at Aqueduct.

Disappointing showings in the Florida Derby (7th) and Kentucky Derby (12th) preceded a runner-up performance in the Belmont and a victory in last week's Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

Ruler On Ice

2011 Starts Win Place Show Purse
6 2 2 2 $843,200

The Kelly Breen-trained Ruler On Ice has hit the board in consecutive Grade 1 stakes -- a respectable third place in the Haskell and a victory in the Belmont Stakes in the slop.

Who do you think is the top 3-year-old male? Vote now.