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Jun 21, 2013

Triple Crown race winners lead the way in final poll


New York, NY (Sports Network) - Oxbow, Orb and Palace Malice, the three winners of this year's Triple Crown races, finished 1,2,3 in the final NTRA poll for 3-year-olds.

All three colts competed in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, won by Palace Malice, and swept the first three positions in the 1 1/2-mile "Test of the Champion."

Oxbow, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, finished second to Palace Malice in the race but first in the final voting. The Preakness Stakes champ closed with 32 first-place votes and 456 points.

"Everyone was tickled with his performance," said Leigh Bentley, assistant to Lukas. "He ran super and seemed to come back great. Everyone was quite pleased."

Kentucky Derby winner Orb, trained by Shug McGaughey, was third on Saturday which caused him to drop in the poll from first to second. The colt lost 24 first-place votes from last week to 12 with 439 points.

"Palace Malice was (a surprise) but he shouldn't have been because I know how high Todd (trainer Todd Pletcher) is on him," McGaughey said. "I know he'd been working really well. And Niall Brennan, who sold him, said that Todd was really high on him."

The 3 1/4-length Belmont Stakes victory shot Palace Malice back into the top-10. Owned by Dogwood Stable, the colt received two top votes and 373 points.

"I think (Palace Malice) did more to leave the division wide open," Pletcher said. "Everyone kind of goes into the rest of the summer and the fall of the year with similar resumes. I don't think there's a clear-cut leader. Largely it will depend on what happens in the fall of the year. It will be interesting to see how they stack up when that happens."

Holding in fourth is Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday with the remaining first-place vote and 252 points.

Completing the top-10 are Mylute (168), Revolutionary (167), Normandy Invasion (165), Verrazano (119), Princess of Sylmar (101) and Beholder (54).

Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan continues to lead the way in the NTRA National Poll. The lone significant change in the top-10 was Oxbow replacing Orb among the leaders.

Wise Dan, trained by Charles Lopresti, picked up 35 first-place votes and 455 points.

Game On Dude, headed next for the Hollywood Gold Cup, is second with eight top votes and 405 points. Last week he trailed Wise Dan by 45 points with three fewer first-place votes.

Point of Entry won Saturday's Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park and moved ahead of Animal Kingdom in the rankings. Trained by Shug McGaughey, Point of Entry garnered two first-place votes and 353 points. Unfortunately, the 5- year-old suffered an injury and will be away from the races.

"Best-case scenario, maybe we can get a race into him in September," McGaughey said. "Best-case scenario, maybe the Breeders' Cup is not out of the question. The intention all along was to retire him at the end of the year."

Animal Kingdom is fourth with three top votes and 338 points. Next week the 5-year-old will make his final career start at England's Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes.

Rounding out the top-10 are Royal Delta (169), Sahara Sky (143), Graydar (136), Take Charge Indy (84), Oxbow (59) and Suggestive Boy (59).

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