Essential Quality Retains No. 1 Position in Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings

September 22, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2021) — Essential Quality, the Belmont Stakes (G1) and the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) winner, retained the No. 1 position for the third consecutive week in 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.

Owned by Godolphin and trained by Brad Cox, the 3-year-old Essential Quality accumulated 273 votes, and leads stablemate Knicks Go, who is in second place with 270 votes. Also trained by Cox, the 5-year-old Knicks Go has won the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park and the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga this year. Godolphin’s 4-year-old Maxfield, trained by Brendan Walsh, stayed in third place with 221 votes. A three-time winner in 2020, Maxfield secured an automatic berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he captured the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in June. Belmont Stakes runner-up Hot Rod Charlie, trained by Doug O’Neill, is in fourth place with 178 votes. Owned by Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and William Strauss, Hot Rod Charlie has been entered in Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing. 

George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp’s Max Player has won two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races in the Longines Classic Division this year, scoring victories in the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park in July and The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga earlier this month. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Max Player is in fifth place with 163 votes. 

Hronis Racing’s 4-year-old Tripoli, who gained a free berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won theTVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar in August, is in sixth place. Trained by John Sadler, Tripoli has 96 votes.

There was some juggling in the standings from places seven through 10 this week. Winchell Thoroughbreds’ 3-year-old Midnight Bourbon rose two positions from ninth to seventh place with 90 points. Also trained by Asmussen, Midnight Bourbon finished a close second to Essential Quality in the Runhappy Travers Stakes. Midnight Bourbon is also entered in the Pennsylvania Derby. Prince A A Faisal’s 4-year-old Mishriff (IRE) improved from 10th place to eighth with 64 votes. Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Mishriff earned an automatic starting position in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York Racecourse in England on Aug. 18.  

Zedan Racing Stable’s 3-year-old Medina Spirit, winner of the listed Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, slipped one spot to ninth place with 61 votes. St. George Stable’s 5-year-old mare Letruska dropped fromseventh place to 10th with 53 votes. Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska has won three Grade 1 races this year, including last month’s Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings – Sept. 21, 2021*

RankHorseVotesFirst-Place VotesPrevious Week
1Essential Quality27381
2Knicks Go270162
4Hot Rod Charlie17814
5Max Player16305
7Midnight Bourbon9009
8Mishriff (IRE)64210
9Medina Spirit6108

*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

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