Essential Quality Closes the Gap on Knicks Go for Overall Lead in Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings

September 1, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2021) — Godolphin’s Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) winner Essential Quality closed to within seven votes of stablemate Knicks Go after 10 weeks of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly poll of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). This year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic will be run at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California, on Nov. 6 as the final race of the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The 5-year-old Knicks Go, owned by Korea Racing Authority and trained by Brad Cox, received 315 votes, and retained the No. 1 position for the fourth consecutive week. Godolphin’s 3-year-old Essential Quality, also trained by Cox, received 308 votes following Saturday’s Travers Stakes victory by a neck over Winchell Thoroughbreds Midnight Bourbon. The Travers was Essential Quality’s third straight win, having captured the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga and the Belmont Stakes (G1) in his two previous starts.

Godolphin’s Maxfield remained in third place with 253 votes. Trained by Brendan Walsh, the 4-year-old Maxfield has won three races this year, including the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in June, in which he earned an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Hot Rod Charlie, owned by Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and William Strauss, is in fourth place with 206 votes. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Hot Rod Charlie finished third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and second in the Belmont Stakes. He crossed the wire first in the Haskell Stakes (G1) on July 17 but was disqualified for interference in the stretch and was placed seventh. Hronis Racing’s 4-year-old Tripoli stayed in fifth place with 119 votes. Trained by John Sadler, Tripoli won the TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Aug. 21 and gained a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. St. George Stable’s 5-year-old mare Letruska captured last Saturday’s Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga for her fifth win of the year and her third Grade 1 stakes victory of 2021. Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska has 112 votes.

Midnight Bourbon joins the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings for the first time in seventh place, as many voters were impressed with his hard-fought second-place finish in the Travers. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bourbon has 94 votes. Prince A A Faisal’s 4-year-old Mishriff (IRE), who earned an automatic starting position into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the Juddmonte International (G1) on turf at York Racecourse, drops one spot to eighth place. Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Mishriff has 81 votes.

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s 4-year-old Silver State slipped one spot to ninth place with 66 votes. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Silver State won his first four races of 2021 before finishing third in the Whitney. Also new to the top 10 this week is Zedan Racing Stable’s Medina Spirit, who captured the listed Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar on Sunday in his first start since finishing third in the Preakness Stakes (G1). Medina Spirit is in 10th place with 59 votes.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings – Sept 1, 2021*

*Note – The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings have no bearing on qualification or selection into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The 2021 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run at 1 ¼ miles on the main track, is limited to 14 starters. The race will be broadcast live on NBC.

The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings are determined by a panel of leading Thoroughbred racing media, horseplayers, and members of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel. Rankings will be announced each week through Oct. 11. A list of voting members can be found here.

In the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, each voter rates horses on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system in descending order.

Breeders Cup Press Release

Photo: Essential Quality ( NYRA Photo)

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