Stephen Foster Stakes winner Maxfield leads three Godolphin stars in first week of Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings

June 30, 2021

Dubai World Cup winner Mystic Guide and Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality in Second and Third, Respectively

LEXINGTON, Ky. ― Godolphin’s 4-year-old Maxfield, dominant winner of the Saturday’s Stephen Foster Stakes (G2), leads fellow Godolphin stars Mystic Guide and Essential Quality in the first week of tabulated votes for the 2021 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings. The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings are a weekly rating of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), which will be run at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California, on Nov. 6.

Maxfield, a 4-year-old son of 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Street Sense, topped all Classic contenders with 13 first-place votes and 269 total votes. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Maxfield earned a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic with a runaway 3 ¼-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. The victory was Maxfield’s third this year, which also includes wins in the Mineshaft Stakes (G3) at the Fair Grounds and the Alysheba Stakes (G2) at Churchill. His only defeat in eight starts was a third-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) in March.

Mystic Guide, trained by Mike Stidham, is in second place with 17 first-place votes and 261 total votes. A 4-year-old son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, Mystic Guide is two for two this year, winning the Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park and the Dubai World Cup (G1) at Meydan. Mystic Guide is slated to start in this Saturday’s Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park, a “Win and You’re In,” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Suburban will be broadcast live on NBC (5 p.m. ET) as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In presented by America’s Best Racing.”

The Brad Cox-trained 3-year-old Essential Quality, winner of the Belmont Stakes (G1), is in third place with 245 votes. A son of Tapit, Essential Quality, last year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1) winner, and champion 2-year-old male, has won three of four starts this year.

Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing and William Straus’s 3-year-old Hot Rod Charlie, a hard-fought second to Essential Quality in the Belmont, is in fourth place with 160 votes. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Hot Rod Charlie, a son of Oxbow, won the Louisiana Derby (G2) in March, and finished third in the Kentucky Derby (G1).  

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s 4-year-old Silver State, unbeaten in four starts this year, is in fifth place with 118 votes. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Silver State won the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Belmont’s Metropolitan Handicap (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Asmussen saddled Curlin and Gun Runner to Breeders’ Cup Classic victories.

The undefeated Happy Saver, owned by Wertheimer and Frere, is in sixth place with 106 votes. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Happy Saver, a 4-year-old son of Super Saver, won an allowance optional claiming race at Belmont Park on May 28 in his lone start this year.  Winner of last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), Happy Saver is also expected to start in Saturday’s Suburban Stakes.  

WinStar Farm’s 4-year-old Country Grammer, also expected to start in the Suburban, is in seventh place with 100 votes. In his two starts at Santa Anita Park this year, Country Grammer, a son of Tonalist, was second in the Californian Stakes (G2) and then won the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1). Country Grammer is now trained by Pletcher. 

Mandaloun, second in the Kentucky Derby, is in eighth place with 78 votes. Owned by Juddmonte and trained by Brad Cox, Mandaloun, a 3-year-old son of Into Mischief, won the Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds and the listed Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park in his most recent start on June 13.

St. George Stable’s 5-year-old mare Letruska is in ninth place with 71 votes. Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska has won four of five starts this year, including Saturday’s powerful 5 ¾-length victory in the Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2) at Churchill.   

Rounding out the top 10 is Fox Hill Farms and Siena Farm’s 5-year-old gelding Royal Ship (BRZ). Trained by Richard Mandella, Royal Ship (60 votes), a son of 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman, won the Californian and finished second in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

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.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings – June 29, 2021*

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

Breeders’ Cup Press Release

Photo: Maxfield, (Eclipse Sportswire)

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