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Mar 16, 2012

Game On Dude and Union Rags lead NTRA Polls


New York, NY (Sports Network) - Game On Dude and Union Rags sit atop their respective polls in the latest voting from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). The polls reflect performances through Sunday, March 11.

Four-year-old Game On Dude is first in the NTRA Thoroughbred National Poll with 11 first-place votes and 322 points. Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude won his 2012 debut in the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita Park and is expected to start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.

Sitting in second is Mucho Macho Man who won Saturday's Gulfstream Park Handicap. The four-year-old received nine top votes and 305 points to climb from fifth.

"He's so professional," said trainer Kathy Ritvo about Mucho Macho Man. "He's definitely maturing."

Defending Horse of the Year Havre de Grace is third with 14 top votes and 292 points. Owned by Fox Hill Farm, the five-year-old mare will start for the first time this year on Saturday in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes.

Animal Kingdom is fourth in the voting, which took place before the announcement Monday of the colt being lame. He received four first-place votes and 183 points. The four-year-old will miss the Dubai World Cup due to the injury.

The fifth-place horse is Ron the Greek with one top vote and 148 points. Trained by Bill Mott, the five-year-old captured the San Anita Handicap on March 3.

Completing the top 10 are Donn Handicap winner Hymn Book (1, 138), four-year- old filly Royal Delta (117), Awesome Feather (1, 104), Acclamation (1, 98) and three-year-old Union Rags (93).

Union Rags picked up 35 first-place votes and 403 points to move up from second in the Three-Year-Old Poll. The colt will start next in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 31.

Creative Cause, winner of Saturday's San Felipe Stakes, gains two rungs to second with four top votes and 336 points. Trained by Mike Harrington, the three-year-old will start in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

"The only thing I hope is he doesn't peak in the Santa Anita Derby instead of the Kentucky Derby (on May 5)," Harrington noted. "That's my job to kind of keep that from happening."

Champion colt Hansen received three first-place votes and 315 to advance from sixth to third. The colt won the Gotham Stakes this month at Aqueduct and will start next at the track in the Wood Memorial on April 7.

Entering the poll in fourth is Risen Star Stakes winner El Padrino. The chestnut colt has 255 points.

Alpha, undefeated this year, fell two spots to fifth with 199 points and is followed by San Felipe runner-up Bodemeister (125), I'll Have Another (121), Gemologist (91), Mark Valeski (63) and Fed Biz (57).

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