2021 Breeders' Cup Classic Guide

Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
5(5)
Joel Rosario

Knicks Go

J:
 
Joel Rosario
T:
 
Brad H Cox
Age: 5
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 36

A striking grey for Brad Cox, Knicks Go comes to the Breeder’s Cup off the back of an impressive hat trick of wins.

Since switching yards from Ben Colebrook to the care of Brad Cox, the 5 year old has been bang in form. Racking up a quick 4 timer, he captured a brace of Group 1 victories, including a spine tingling demolition job of last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

He showed himself well in the Saudi Cup where he went off favourite but only managed to come 4th behind superstar Mishriff.

Again slightly disappointing in handicap company after a layoff, he’s bounced back to form with a triple of group wins.

He’s hacked up over 9 furlongs so his first try over 10 shouldn’t hold too many fears and he’s no stranger to success at this meeting. He sets a strong standard.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
07/11/21DMA10Fs9-01
02/10/21CHU9Fs8-131
07/08/21SAR9Fs8-121
03/07/21PRM9Fs9-01
05/06/21BLM8Fs9-04
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
4(4)
Luis Saez

Essential Quality

J:
 
Luis Saez
T:
 
Brad H Cox
Age: 3
Weight: 8-10
OR: N/A
Days: 71

Sporting the all blue of Godolphin, Essential Quality is a stablemate of Knicks Go and also arrives in Del Mar bang in form.
A winner in all but one of his starts, Essential Quality has been lethal in the hands of Luis Saez.

Debuting back in last Autumn, he went straight from winning a maiden to capturing a Group 1 here at Keeneland. He rounded out his first season by winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year.

Returning as a 3 year old he racked up an easy group 3 win before showing some real tenacity to score in the Blue Grass Stakes over 9 furlongs.

Sent off favourite for the Kentucky Derby he only managed 4th but has since taken another trio of group wins.

His form stretches as far as 12 furlongs so he won’t mind them going hard in front. If he’s mature enough to handle this test he’s sure to have a big say.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/08/21SAR10Fs9-01
31/07/21SAR9Fs8-121
05/06/21BLM12Fs9-01
01/05/21CHU10Fs9-04
03/04/21KEE9Fs8-111
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
3(3)
Flavien Prat

Hot Rod Charlie

J:
 
Flavien Prat
T:
 
Doug O'Neill
Age: 3
Weight: 8-10
OR: N/A
Days: 43

Another 3 year old near the top of the betting, Hot Rod Charlie was 3rd in the Kentucky Derby behind Medina Spirit but had Essential Quality in behind him at Kentucky Downs.

The 3 year old was beaten by Medina Spirit earlier in the season before having a singular run for Leandro Mora. He bolted up over 9.5 furlongs to Group 2 success before moving back into the care of Doug O’Neill.

Essential Quality got the better of him in the Belmont Stakes in June before being first past the post in a Group 1 at Monmouth Park. Only to be disqualified and officially placed last.

He confirmed he had Group 1 form in the locker when winning the Pennsylvania Derby at the end of September, beating Midnight Bourbon in a dominant front running display.

A good draw of 3 to sit nice and handy, he’s got quality and bags of stamina. Will try to bully them from the front.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/06/22MON8Fs8-122
26/03/22MEY10Fs9-02
04/02/22MEY9.5Fs8-131
26/12/21SNA8.5Fs8-112
07/11/21DMA10Fs8-104
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
8(8)
John R Velazquez

Medina Spirit

J:
 
John R Velazquez
T:
 
Bob Baffert
Age: 3
Weight: 8-10
OR: N/A
Days: 35

A controversial sort, Medina Spirit won this year’s Kentucky Derby for trainer Bob Baffert. Testing positive in a drugs test after winning the American feature race threw Baffert’s reputation into even more disrepute.

The horse only took to racing at the end of last year when winning a laden over 5.5 furlongs. He’s since been consistent in higher grade affairs and took Group 3 honours before a brace of 2nd places in stronger events.

This experience teed him up for a mighty victory in the Kentucky Derby. He struggled to back up his classic success after a 2 week break and only managed 3rd in the Preakness Stakes.

He came back to his best off a break and won a listed race with buckets in hand before a bloodless victory at Santa Anita to notch another Group 1 victory.

Clearly very classy, his trainer targets this meeting so a big showing is likely.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
03/10/21SNA9Fs8-101
30/08/21DMA8Fs8-121
15/05/21PIM9.5Fs9-03
01/05/21CHU10Fs9-01
03/04/21SNA9Fs8-122
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
9(9)
Ricardo Santana Jr

Max Player

J:
 
Ricardo Santana Jr
T:
 
Steven Asmussen
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 64

A 4 year old colt for Steven Asmussen, Max Player started life racing with Linda Rice where he managed to take a group 3 race as a 3 year old.

Unable to live with Tiz The Law in the Belmont Stakes and the Travers Stakes he then made the switch to the Asmussen yard. Things didn’t quite go to plan immediately as he struggled to find his feet with some average performances in big races.

Things didn’t click into place until this summer when the son of Honor Code narrowly got up to win a Group 2 at Belmont on the dirt.

Staying in winning ways he then went on to score a Group 1 event over 10 furlongs with bundles in hand. Tracking the pace he sprung clear a furlong and a half out and wasn’t for catching.

He’s only recently come to form and might just be missing a bit of quality to get competitive in a deep renewal of this.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
06/05/22CHU8.5Fs8-67
07/11/21DMA10Fs9-08
04/09/21SAR10Fs9-01
03/07/21BLM10S8-81
14/05/21PIM9.5Fs8-106
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
6(6)
Mike E Smith

Art Collector

J:
 
Mike E Smith
T:
 
William Mott
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 36

Starting life with Joe Sharp, Art Collector didn’t amass too much in his first season where he only managed to win a maiden and a claiming race as a 2 year old.

Moving to the Thomas Drury yard he certainly found his feet winning a couple of low grade affairs before striking in a Group 2 over 9 furlongs with ease.

He then backed that up with a listed win but found himself well beaten behind Knicks Go at this meeting last year.

Signing off for Drury with another listed win, Art Collector made another switch to the William Mott yard where he’s had a perfect 3 from 3 record.

Winning a Group 2 he then took his form to another level when scoring a Group 1 at Belmont Park last month to scalp favourite Maxfield.

He’s sprung into form for his new yard but couldn’t live with Knick’s Go at this meeting last year.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
07/11/21DMA10Fs9-06
02/10/21BLM9Fs8-121
28/08/21CTO9Fs8-61
06/08/21SAR9Fs8-121
07/11/20KEE8Fs8-118
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
1(1)
Irad Ortiz Jr

Tripoli

J:
 
Irad Ortiz Jr
T:
 
John W Sadler
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 35

Drawing stall 1 is 4 year old Tripoli for the John Saddler yard.

A maiden winner on his second start, he then struggled to get competitive in low grade claiming events and stakes races.

He finally came to form again this season, winning a claimer during the summer before going close in a big handicap over 9.5 furlongs at Del Mar.

His form hit new heights when scoring over course and distance to seal a surprise Group 1 victory.

He failed to uphold that form when put firmly in his place behind Medina Spirit at Santa Anita last month and might have just been able to strike in a weak looking Group 1.

Has plenty to find on Medina Spirit and hasn’t been in the best of form for all of his career.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
31/07/22DMA8.5Fs8-86
20/06/22SNA8Fm8-124
07/11/21DMA10Fs9-07
03/10/21SNA9Fs9-04
22/08/21DMA10Fs8-121
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
2(2)
NON-RUNNER

Express Train

J:
 
NON-RUNNER
T:
 
John Shirreffs
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 35

Close linking form to Tripoli, 4 year old Express Train won the Group 2 handicap here at Del Mar where he just managed to hold off the late attentions of Tripoli.

A winner of a maiden and a claimer in his earlier career, he then went close in a Group 1 race at Santa Anita to be 2nd to Charlatan over 7 furlongs.

The trip looking too sharp he moved up to 9 furlongs and scored a Group 2 victory in taking fashion.

He didn’t taste success again until beating Tripoli before seriously having that form reversed when the pair met on equal terms.

He did finish ahead of that same rival behind Medina Spirit last time out but still looks to have loads to find with the rest of the field to be competitive.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/09/22DMA10Fs8-124
30/04/22SNA9Fs8-122
06/03/22SNA10Fs8-121
06/02/22SNA9Fs8-121
26/12/21SNA8.5Fs8-131
Del Mar - November 07 2021
Del Mar 00:40
7(7)
Kent J Desormeaux

Stilleto Boy

J:
 
Kent J Desormeaux
T:
 
Ed Moger Jr
Age: 3
Weight: 8-10
OR: N/A
Days: 35

The current rank outsider of the field, Stilleto Boy is a lightly raced 3 year old who’s form is better than his price might suggest.

Starting life out with Doug Anderson, he scored his only career success when notching an impressive listed win back in June over 8.5 furlongs at Prairie Downs. It was his last start for Anderson as he then made the switch to Ed Moger.

He hasn’t managed to win since but has run well in defeat on his last 2 outings.

Unable to live with Medina Spirit on both outings, he was 3rd in the listed contest Medina Spirit blew apart before coming 2nd at a massive price at Santa Anita last month.

Medina Spirit put 5 lengths between the pair but Stilleto Boy left behind Express Train, Tripoli and Tizamagician.

He shaped like an extra furlong would suit but has a mountain to climb to get closer to Medina Spirit.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/09/22DMA10Fs8-126
31/07/22DMA8.5Fs8-83
30/05/22SNA10Fs8-124
30/04/22SNA9Fs8-81
06/03/22SNA10Fs8-93

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