LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2021) — Korea Racing Authority’s 5-year-old Knicks Go, dominant winner of last Saturday’s Whitney (G1) at Saratoga, has vaulted to No. 1 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.
Knicks Go, trained by Brad Cox, rose from fourth place to the top of the Classic Rankings, receiving 314 votes. Knicks Go led the 1 1/8-mile Whitney from start to finish, winning by 4 ½ lengths over Maxfield, who had been the top-rated horse in the poll for the first six weeks. Knicks Go has won three of five starts this year, which includes the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) at Gulfstream Park in January and the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3) in July. Last year, Knicks Go won the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland. Godolphin’s 3-year-old Essential Quality, also trained by Cox, stayed in second place this week with 276 votes. Essential Quality, last year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner, won the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga and the Belmont Stakes (G1) in his last two starts. Godolphin’s 4-year-old Maxfield dropped from first to third place this week with 269 votes. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Maxfield has won three races in 2021, including the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, in which he earned an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic. Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and William Strauss’s 3-year-old Hot Rod Charlie, trained by Doug O’Neill, dropped one position to fourth place with 202 votes.
Juddmonte’s 3-year-old Mandaloun, winner of the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) on July 17, remained in fifth place with 127 votes. Also trained by Cox, Mandaloun has been taken out of training for the remainder of the year due to a sore foot. St. George Stable’s 5-year-old mare Letruska rose one spot to sixth place with 96 votes. Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska won the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park and the Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in her last two starts. Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s 4-year-old Silver State dropped one spot to seventh place with 95 votes. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Silver State finished third in the Whitney, suffering his first defeat of the year after four wins. CRK Stable’s 4-year-old Express Train, winner of the San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar, remained in eighth place with 85 votes. George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp.’s 4-year-old Max Player, winner of Belmont’s Suburban (G2), is in ninth place. Also trained by Asmussen, Max Player has 70 votes. Wertheimer and Frere’s Happy Saver and Fox Hill Farms and Siena Farm’s Royal Ship (BRZ) are tied in 10th place with 53 votes apiece. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Happy Saver lost his first race in six starts when he finished third in the Suburban. Royal Ship won the Californian Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita in April and was recently third in the San Diego Handicap for trainer Richard Mandella.
Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings – Aug. 10, 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