Essential Quality takes overall lead in Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings

September 8, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Godolphin’s Essential Quality, winner of the Belmont Stakes (G1) and the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1), has overtaken stablemate Knicks Go for the No. 1 spot 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.

The 3-year-old Essential Quality, trained by Brad Cox, received 278 votes, which was three votes higher than Korea Racing Authority’s 5-year-old Knicks Go, who has 275 votes in second place after being No. 1 for four consecutive weeks. Also trained by Cox, Knicks Go has won three races this year, including the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park and the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga. Godolphin’s Maxfield remained in third place with 226 votes. Trained by Brendan Walsh, the 4-year-old Maxfield captured the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in June, in which he earned an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and William Strauss’s Hot Rod Charlie is in fourth place with 189 votes. Hot Rod Charlie, trained by Doug O’Neill, finished third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and second in the Belmont Stakes. He crossed the wire first in the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) on July 17, but was disqualified for interference in the stretch and was placed seventh.

The big mover in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings this week was 4-year-old Max Player, who jumped from 13th to fifth place with 155 votes after winning Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga by 4 lengths. Owned by George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp, the Jockey Club Gold Cup win was Max Player’s second Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series triumph in the Longines Classic Division this year. Max Player earned a free berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on July 3.

Hronis Racing’s 4-year-old Tripoli dropped one position to sixth place with 96 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, winner of three Grade 1 stakes races this year, including the Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga, slips one spot to seventh place with 86 votes.

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon dropped from seventh to eighth place this week with 76 votes. Also trained by Asmussen, Midnight Bourbon finished just a neck behind Essential Quality in the Runhappy Travers Stakes. 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 on Aug. 18, drops one spot to ninth place. Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Mishriff has 71 votes. Zedan Racing Stable’s 3-year-old Medina Spirit, who captured the listed Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 29, remained in 10th place with 60 votes.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings – Sept. 7, 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

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