Essential Quality Leads Knicks Go In Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings

Godolphin’s Essential Quality, the Belmont Stakes (G1) and the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) winner, maintained a two-vote advantage over stablemate Knicks Go for the lead 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.

Trained by Brad Cox, the 3-year-old Essential Quality received 282 votes in his second week at No. 1. Just behind Essential Quality with 280 votes is the Cox-trained 5-year-old Knicks Go, who won the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park and the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga this year.

The next five places in the rankings remained the same from last week. Godolphin’s 4-year-old Maxfield, who earned an automatic berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in June, has 228 votes. Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and William Strauss’s Hot Rod Charlie, third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and second in the Belmont Stakes, is in fourth place with 184 votes for trainer Doug O’Neill.

George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp’s Max Player is in fifth place with 153 votes. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the 4-year-old Max Player has won two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races this year in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Division, taking the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park in July and The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga earlier this month.

Hronis Racing’s 4-year-old Tripoli, who triumphed in the TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar and gained a free starting position into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, is in sixth place. Trained by John Sadler, Tripoli has 153 votes. St. George Stable’s 5-year-old mare Letruska is in seventh place with 70 votes. Letruska, trained by Fausto Gutierrez, won her third Grade 1 race this year when she captured last month’s Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga.

Zedan Racing Stable’s 3-year-old Medina Spirit, winner of the listed Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, rose from 10th place to eighth with 68 votes. Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon dropped from eighth place to ninth this week with 67 votes. Also trained by Asmussen, Midnight Bourbon finished second to Essential Quality in the Runhappy Travers Stakes. Prince A A Faisal’s 4-year-old Mishriff (IRE) drops one spot to 10th place with 65 votes. Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Mishriff secured a free berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York Racecourse in England on Aug. 18.

Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings – Sept. 14, 2021*

Rank Horse Votes First-Place Votes Previous Week
1 Essential Quality 282 9 1
2 Knicks Go 280 15 2
3 Maxfield 228 3 3
4 Hot Rod Charlie 184 1 4
5 Max Player 153 0 5
6 Tripoli 101 0 6
7 Letruska 70 0 7
8 Medina Spirit 68 0 10
9 Midnight Bourbon 67 0 8
10 Mishriff (IRE) 65 3 9

*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.

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