Wise Dan won his second straight Breeders' Cup Mile to end the year (Photos courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
Fifteen U.S.-based horses placed among the top 50 in the newest edition of the Longines International Federation of Horseracing Authorities World Thoroughbred Rankings with reigning U.S. Horse of the Year Wise Dan earning a spot in the top five for the second straight year.
Wise Dan checked in fifth in 2012 after his Horse of the Year campaign and moved up to third internationally following a season that culminated with a repeat win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Wise Dan was given a rating of 129, the same as in 2012. In his 13 races over the last two seasons, Wise Dan has amassed 11 wins and two seconds for owner-breeder Mort Fink and trainer Charlie LoPresti. The 6-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding confirmed his status internationally in the IFHA rankings with only Australian superstar sprinter Black Caviar and Treve, a 3-year-old filly who won the French Oaks and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, ahead of him. Both Black Caviar and Treve were rated at 130. (See the table at the bottom for a complete explanation of the IFHA rankings.)
Rounding out the top five in what most likely will also serve as the year-end 2013 rankings with most of the key races completed are Group 1 winners Novellist at 128 and Toronado at 126.
Three U.S. horses tied for sixth with a 125 rating: Animal Kingdom, winner of the 2013 Dubai World Cup; Game On Dude, who swept the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic Stakes; and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. Animal Kingdom officially raced for Australian connections in Dubai, but was based throughout his career and early this season in the U.S. with trainer Graham Motion.
Theoretically, Game On Dude could improve his ranking should he turn in a dazzling effort in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap on Friday at Churchill Downs.
GAME ON DUDE WINNING THE 2013 PACIFIC CLASSIC
Also among the top U.S.-based horses are multiple Grade 1 winner Point of Entry (tied for 23rd with 123 rating) and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Ron the Greek (one of eight tied at 29 with a rating of 122).
Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Beholder was the top-ranked female from the U.S. with a 121 rating that placed her sixth overall among female horses internationally behind the aforementioned Black Caviar and Treve as well as Moonlight Cloud (123), The Fugue (123) and Atlantic Jewel (122).
Rounding out the U.S. contingent represented in the rankings are Kentucky Derby winner Orb, 2012 champion older female Royal Delta, Haskell Invitational Stakes winner Verrazano and Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up Za Approval who were among 15 horses tied with a 120 rating that ranked 44th overall.
The LONGINES World's Best Racehorse Rankings is horseracing's equivalent to World Rankings by other major sporting organizations such as ATP Tennis Rankings, World Golf Rankings, FIFA World Rankings for soccer and IRB Rugby World Rankings. The LONGINES Rankings are based on the ratings earned by horses running worldwide from North and South America, Europe, Middle East, South Africa, Asia through to Australia and New Zealand. The ratings are compiled under the auspices of The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) by racing officials & handicappers representing the five continents who compile the ranking order by agreeing on the rating for each horse. The ratings are based on the performance of horses in elite races held during the designated period, which takes in account the quality of opposition and achievements of each horse. Throughout the year the Longines Rankings are published at regular intervals and the consolidated annual rankings are released in January. The annual rankings denote the champions in the various distance categories for example sprint or mile, surface either turf or dirt/artificial and also the fillies & mares category.