Sea the Stars tops World Thoroughbred Rankings
European Horse of the Year SEA THE STARS had been ranked the top Thoroughbred of 2009 by the panel of handicappers/racing secretaries affiliated with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), who recently compiled the annual publication of the World Thoroughbred Rankings, the official listing of the world's top racehorses.
Sea the Stars remained undefeated throughout the season in notching up no less than six prestigious Group 1 wins in Ireland, England and France. His best performance, in the view of the handicappers, took place at Leopardstown in the Irish Champion S. (Ire-G1) in September, when he comfortably defeated the impressive Irish Derby (Ire-G1) winner FAME AND GLORY (Montjeu [Ire]) and multiple Group 1 winner Mastercraftsman (Ire). His rating of 136 is by far the highest rating accorded a racehorse since the World Thoroughbred Rankings were launched in 2004 and is the highest rating awarded since the French colt Peintre Celebre was rated 137 under the former International Classifications back in 1997.
Last season marked the return of two outstanding fillies from 2008 who achieved an even higher rank in 2009, namely the French-trained GOLDIKOVA (Ire) (Anabaa) and the North American mare ZENYATTA, and also the emergence of another exceptional filly, the North American three-year-old RACHEL ALEXANDRA (Medaglia d'Oro).
Goldikova is the best filly/mare miler since her compatriot Miesque (132) more than 20 years ago (1987-88), and like that remarkable filly, she has managed to win back-to-back Breeders' Cup Miles (G1). However, her best performance, in the view of the handicappers, was her magnificent romp in the Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-G1) at Deauville in August.
Zenyatta created history by becoming the first filly or mare ever to win the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) amid joyous scenes of jubilation at Santa Anita in November, and has now retired unbeaten after 14 wins. She is the highest rated filly or mare on a non-turf surface since Inside Information (129) back in 1995. That was the year that North America joined the International Classification process, and since then no three-year-old filly on a non-turf surface has come near to matching the achievements of Rachel Alexandra, who equally created history in defeating the colts in the Preakness S. (G1) but whose best performance, the handicappers consider, was in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park in August.
Irish three-year-old colt RIP VAN WINKLE (Ire) (Galileo [Ire]) was somewhat overshadowed by compatriot Sea the Stars, who defeated him in the Eclipse S. (Eng-G1) over 10 furlongs, but he was equally good at a mile and his impressive performance in defeating Paco Boy (Desert Style) in the Sussex S. (Eng-G1) at Goodwood in July has been recognized by the handicappers as the best performance by a three-year-old miler since Mark of Esteem (GB) (133) back in 1996.
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