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Top of the World

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 11/24/2010 2:03:12 PM

According to Merrian-Webster, harbinger can mean one that presages or foreshadows what is to come but in the equine world Harbinger means the top ranked runner in the World Thoroughbred Rankings.

Harbinger is the one on top of the Empire State Building in these rankings at 135.

One thing to realize about these figures is that they represent the performance of one particular stellar race and is not like the Eclipse Awards in that those honors are about a body of work throughout the year.

When looking at these figures, try to project what they mean to the circuit where you bet the most. In California, a lot of horses ship in from Australia and those that are ranked have to be recognized.

Same goes for the Euros and sometimes even the runners that have raced in the Orient.

The top banana deserves the prestige He is unbeaten this year and destroyed the field in the King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winning by 11 lengths.

Kind of surprisingly, the Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Blame was put in the second slot at 129. Not to take anything away from Blame, but for all the negative talk about how Zenyatta was beating up on soft foes on synthetic surfaces, she gave Blame everything he could handle and had a much tougher trip.

Queen Z herself was in the 13 spot on this list with a ranking of 125 tying her with Goldikova, So You Think and Twice Over.

If you are handicapping a race and see the name Paco Boy in the company line take note. That runner gave Goldikova, who became the first runner to win three Breeders’ Cup races, all she could handle this year and has quality written all over him.

Three runners were tabbed at 128 and they are Makfi, Qualty Road and Workforce, the latter for his performance winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe over two others that are on this list Sarafina and the Japan star Nakayama Festa.

Festa was a pound below the aforementioned trio while Sarafina just made the list at 121 off her Arc finish.

World-class trainer Andre Fabre has a pair of horses mentioned. Byword and Lope de Vega are both rated at 124.

Byword earned his props by running second in Goldikova’s Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan while Vega was honored because of his clever score at Chantilly in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club.

Two American runners that could be looked at as overrated both were given 123. Lookin at Lucky basically beat up sophomores all year while Fly Down got his acknowledgement because of his third in the BC Classic, but somebody had to be third.

John Gosden has been known to ship to California for the big events over the years and he is familiar with the makings of the West Coast.

If the bettors in Cali see either of his charges, Debussy or Arctic Cosmos in a company line, they have to respect the class.

Debussy shipped to Chicago this year to take the Arlington Million while Arctic Cosmos was game in victory in the Group 1 Ladbrokes St. Leger and has plenty of room to improve next year.

Remember, just like how the Beyer figures should be evaluated, these rankings are not meant to be the cure all and end story but more of a gauge as to the quality these runners represent.

Kind of like in life, there can be good things to learn about guilt from association.

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