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Pennsylvania-breds occupy the top three spots, and four of the top seven, in latest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll, the second-to-last poll of the year. 

In the poll, released November 23 and combining all horses into one list, Grade 1 winners Angel of Empire and Caravel occupy the top two spots, with another PA-bred, Nimitz Class, in third. In all, four Pennsylvania-breds, two Virginia-breds, and a West Virginia-bred occupy the top seven spots.

Angel of Empire won two graded stakes on the season, topped by his victory in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in April. Keeping top company, he finished third in the Kentucky Derby, fourth in the Belmont, and then third again in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. He did not race again following the July 29 Jim Dandy but has been pointed to a four-year-old campaign, trainer Brad Cox said.

Caravel kicked off her 2023 with three straight wins, including a score against the boys in the Grade 1 Jaipur. But she lost her last three outings, and in her effort to defend her Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint crown, she finished tenth.
Other graded stakes winners on the list include two-time Grade 3 winner Repo Rocks, Grade 2 Secretariat Stakes winner Gigante and Grade 3 winner Roses for Debra.
The two horses on the list without a graded win this season both won several stakes. Nimitz Class has won four 2023 stakes, including most recently the Parx Dirt Mile, while Coastal Mission has won three, including the Russell Road. Coastal Mission is being pointed to the Grade 2 Cigar Mile.
1. Angel of Empire (PA), 3C by Classic Empire—Armony’s Angel, by To Honor and Serve; bred by Forgotten Land Investment Inc & Black Diamond Equine Corp and trained by Brad Cox for Albaugh Family Stables LLC.
2023 highlights: Won G1 Arkansas Derby, G2 Risen Star S., 3rd G1 Kentucky Derby, 3rd G2 Jim Dandy.
Last: 1st (3yo)
2. Caravel (PA), 6M by Mizzen Mast—Zeezee Zoomzoom, by Congrats; bred by Elizabeth Merryman and trained by Brad Cox for Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables LLC.
2023 highlights: Won G1 Jaipur, G2 Shakertown.
Last: 1 (older)
3. Nimitz Class (PA), 4C by Munnings—Five Diamonds, by Flatter; bred by Arrowwood Farm and trained by Bruce Kravets for Tom Coulter.
2023 highlights: Won Parx Dirt Mile, John B. Campbell S., Harrison Johnson Memorial S., 2nd G3 Salvator Mile.
Last: 4 (older)
4. Repo Rocks (VA), 5G by Tapiture—Hawaiian Love, by Not for Love; bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III and trained by Jamie Ness for Double B Racing Stables.
2023 highlights: Won G3 Westchester, G3 Toboggan, Stymie S., 2nd G1 Carter H.
Last: 3 (older)
5. Gigante (VA), 3C by Not This Time—Summertime Green, by Empire Maker; bred by Ann Mudge Backer and Smitten Farm and trained by Steve Asmussen for Iapetus Racing and Diamond T Racing.
2023 highlights: Won G2 Secretariat S., Caesars H.
Last: Receiving votes (3yo)
6. Coastal Mission (WV), 4G by Great Notion—Smart Crowd, by Crowd Pleaser; bred by Coleswood Farm Inc. and trained by Jeff Runco for Coleswood Farm Inc.
2023 highlights: Won Sam Huff WV Breeders Classic, Russell Road S., Confucius Say S.
Last: NA
7. Roses for Debra (PA), 4F by Liam’s Map—Essential Rose, by Bernardini; bred by Blackstone Farm LLC and trained by Christophe Clement for John O’Meara.
2023 highlights: Won G3 Caress S.
Last: 5th (older)
Also receiving votes: Twisted Ride, Determined Kingdom, Unruly Julie, Ain’t Da Beer Cold, Field Pass, Book’em Danno, Whimsically, Little Roo Roo, Chambeau, Spun Glass, Morning Matcha
Notes: Five of the top seven are males, while two are females…Two of the seven are three-year-olds…It’s notable that no Maryland-breds made the top seven, especially since Maryland-breds have been named the overall Top Midlantic-bred in four of the nine years conducted to date and twice have occupied the top two spots…Were Caravel to end the season as Top Midlantic-bred, she would become the second horse to do so in consecutive years after Knicks Go was Top Midlantic-bred in 2020 and 2021…Stellar Wind was Top Midlantic-bred twice, as well, but in non-consecutive years (2015 and 2017)…A final poll will be conducted at season’s end.
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 2023 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.
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), Cricket Goodall (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), 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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