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Knicks Go and Beren both posted recent victories to remain atop the latest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll. As was the case in July, Beren leads the poll of region-bred three-year-olds, while Knicks Go leads among older horses.

Knicks Go won the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga August 7 to cement his lead among older horses, and he garnered every voter’s top selection. Beren, who had run poorly in the nine-furlong Curlin Stakes July 30, dropped back to sprinting and won the Parx Summer Sprint easily August 24.

The two lists, one for three-year-olds and one for older horses, also saw three newcomers crack the top five.

The newcomer on the older horse list was Caravel, who checked in in fourth. The four-year-old Mizzen Mast filly won the Grade 3 Caress Stakes at Saratoga July 24 before running third in the Grade 1 Highlander at Canada’s Woodbine Race Course.

Caravel was bred in Pennsylvania by Elizabeth Merryman, who also owned and trained her through her win in the Goldwood Stakes June 25, before selling a controlling interest to Bobby Flay. Caravel was transferred to trainer Graham Motion’s care prior to the Highlander.

Two runners joined the list of three-year-olds. Leader of the Band is second — and very nearly was voted first — in the latest poll, while Exculpatory is fourth.

Leader of the Band rocketed up the list after winning the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks July 31 for her first stakes win. The Bandbox filly, a Pennsylvania-bred, is a homebred for SMD Ltd. and is trained by John Servis. She’s never been worse than third in eight career starts and has two wins and nearly $270,000 in earnings this year.

Exculpatory, who did not debut until March of this year, continued his impressive campaign with a sizzling win in the Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes on the Charles Town Classic undercard August 27. He has won four of six starts this year while earning $201,762.

Exculpatory, a Maryland-bred by Mineshaft, is trained at Laurel Park by Mark Reid. He was bred by Anchor & Hope Farm and Finn’s Nickel LLC and is owned by Anchor and Hope’s Grace Merryman.

Knicks Go is followed on the list of older horses by Pennsylvania-bred The Critical Way, Virginia-bred Chess Chief, Caravel, and the Pennsylvania-bred Chub Wagon.

Beren is followed by Leader of the Band, then the Maryland-breds Jaxon Traveler, Exculpatory, and Street Lute.

The two lists included five Pennsylvania-breds, four Maryland-breds, and one Virginia-bred. Six of the top 10 are males, and four are females.

The monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred is the only publication devoted to Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Racing Biz, an online publication, is the independent voice for mid-Atlantic racing and breeding.

The poll is conducted of media members and others involved in the Thoroughbred industry and restricted to horses that have run in 2021 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.


  1. Knicks Go (MD), 5H by Paynter-Kosmo’s Buddy, by Outflanker; bred by Angie Moore and trained by Brad Cox for Korea Racing Authority. 2021 highlights: Won G1 Whitney S., G1 Pegasus World Cup, G3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. Last month: 1
  2. The Critical Way (PA), 7G by Tizway-Critical Factor, by Star de Naskra; bred by Blackstone Farm LLC and trained by Jose Delgado for Monster Racing Stables. 2021 highlights: Won G3 Parx Dash, Wolf Hill S., Get Serious S., Turf Dash, 3rd G2 Shakertown S. Last month: 5
  3. Chess Chief (VA), 5H by Into Mischief-Un Blessed, by Mineshaft; bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm and trained by Dallas Stewart for Estate of James Coleman, Jr.. 2021 highlights: Won G2 New Orleans Classic, 3rd G2 Alysheba, 3rd G3 Mineshaft. Last month: 3
  4. Caravel (PA), 4F by Mizzen Mast-Zeezee Zoomzoom, by Congrats; bred by Elizabeth Merryman and trained by Graham Motion for Bobby Flay and Elizabeth Merryman. 2021 highlights: Won G3 Caress S., 3rd G1 Highlander S. Last month: Also receiving votes.
  5. Chub Wagon (PA), 4F by Hey Chub-Takin the Plunge, by Lion Heart; bred by Joe-Dan Farm and George Chestnut and trained by Guadalupe Preciado for Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut. 2021 highlights: Won Roamin Rachel S., Dashing Beauty S., Shine Again S., Skipat S., Unique Bella S. Last month: 2
    Also receiving votes: Horologist, Cordmaker, Boldor, Field Pass


  1. Beren (PA), 3C by Weigelia-Silmaril, by Diamond; bred by Susan Quick and Christopher Feifarek and trained by Butch Reid for St. Omer’s Farm and Christopher Feifarek. 2021 highlights: Won Parx Summer Sprint S., Gold Fever S., Paradise Creek S., Crowd Pleaser S. Last month: 1
  2. Leader of the Band (PA), 3F by Bandbox-Catsuit, by Sire Cat; bred by SMD Ltd. and trained by John Servis for SMD Ltd.. 2021 highlights: Won G3 Monmouth Oaks, 3rd G3 Delaware Oaks. Last month: NA
  3. Jaxon Traveler (MD), 3C by Munnings-Listen Boy, by After Market; bred by Dr. & Mrs. A. Leonard Pineau and trained by Steve Asmussen for West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner. 2021 highlights: Won Star de Naskra S., Bachelor Stakes, 2nd G3 Chick Lang S., 3rd G3 Quick Call S. Last month: 2
  4. Exculpatory (MD), 3C by Mineshaft-Elusory, by Broken Vow; bred by Anchor & Hope Farm and Finn’s Nickel LLC and trained by Mark Reid for Grace Merryman. 2021 highlights: Won Robert Hilton Memorial S. Last month: NA
  5. Street Lute (MD), 3F by Street Magician-Alottalute, by Midnight Lute; bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman & Dr. Brooke Bowman and trained by John Robb for Lucky 7 Stables. 2021 highlights: Won Stormy Blues S., Xtra Heat S., Wide Country S. Last month: 3

    Also receiving votes: Midnight Obsession, Malibu Beauty, Door Buster, Pickin’ Time

Note: All horses listed at their 2021 ages.

Participating Voters: Ted Black (freelance writer), Michael Campbell (Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey), Joe Clancy (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Cindy Deubler (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Linda Dougherty (freelance), Debbie Easter (Virginia Thoroughbred Association), Paul Espinosa (Charles Town Races), Rich Glazier (Delaware Park), Cricket Goodall (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Sara Gordon (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Jim Hague (freelance), Nick Hahn (freelance), Carol Holden (West Virginia Breeders Classics), Tom LaMarra (Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association), Jeff Nations (freelance), Vinnie Perrone (freelance), Frank Petramalo (Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association), John Piassek (freelance), Gary Quill (The Racing Biz), David Richardson (Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association), Brian Sanfratello (Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association), Sal Sinatra (Maryland Jockey Club), Chris Sobocinski (Delaware Park), Dan Tordjman (freelance), Frank Vespe (The Racing Biz), Bill Watson (freelance), Lydia Williams (freelance), Bobby Zen (freelance).


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