Nyquist Still Leads Three-Year-Old Male Division Even After Arrogate's Scintillating Travers Victory
Arrogate was 11-to-1 when winning the Travers Stakes on Saturday, August 27, at Saratoga Race Course, and would probably be even money if they ran the same race again tomorrow. You know it’s a good race when fans ask “How good is [winner of the race]” versus “How good was that race?” or worse just straight up, “That wasn’t a very good race.”
Nyquist, by virtue of his Florida and Kentucky Derby wins, is still the leader of the three-year-old male division. Yes, Exaggerator has one more Grade 1 win, but all three came on off tracks, and his defeats as the favorite in his last two starts on a fast track—both unplaced finishes—make a hard case for him being best of this group.
And “best of this group” is part of the rub because Arrogate is likely the most talented based on what we saw in the Travers Stakes, but a Kentucky Derby win trumps a Travers win and Nyquist has the second Grade 1 in his back pocket as well.
Normally I’d say Arrogate would need a Breeders’ Cup Classic win to arrogate the Eclipse Award from the Kentucky Derby winner, but his Travers was so good against good horses that I’d settle for any Grade 1 win against older (assuming Nyquist doesn’t do the same). He could face Nyquist in the Pennsylvania Derby, but that’s “only” a Grade 2, and any head to head result there may not carry as much weight depending on what happened next because Nyquist would still have the 2-1 Grade 1 edge with one of his two being in the most prestigious race of the division.
One thing is for sure, the top 6 in my NTRA poll—California Chrome, Tepin, Frosted, Flintshire, Arrogate, and Songbird—are as good a sextet as I can remember this late in the year, and it looks like three of the top five could face each other in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. (Teresa Genaro photo, NYRA video)