News and STORIES
Knicks Go and Medina Spirit to Breeder’s Cup Classic
This weekend saw several automatic births to the Breeder’s Cup horse racing championships on November 5th and 6th. The rotating event will take place at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in 2021 in southern California.
Knicks Go Romps in the Lukas Classic
On Churchill’s closing weekend Brad Cox took advantage of the Lukas Classic as the final prep before Knicks Go runs in the Breeder’s Cup Classic. The field was definitely a cut below what he will see on the featured race on November 6th, but the colt was impressive in victory.
In customary Knicks Go fashion he got out to the early lead. Given the lack of talent in the race relative to the colt he was unopposed up front and able to set a very pedestrian 2nd quarter mile. This left plenty in the tank and although a couple horses loomed up on the turn, they never stood a chance. In the lane Knicks Go opened up and drew away. Joel Rosario was sitting chilling as the rest of the horses feverishly worked to not lose ground.
In the end the victory was by open lengths and just a few clicks off the track record. Brad Cox confirmed after the race that the plan is for this to be Knicks Go’s final prep before taking a shot at the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
While the horse has been extremely impressive running wire to wire, he is extremely likely to encounter a number of other speed horses. Unlike in the Churchill race they will possess similar talent and are more likely to be able to challenge and sustain better than the foes he faced over the weekend. Handicappers will need to decide if he can hold up under such pressure or if he will fall victim to it.
Medina Spirit Crushes Older, Forces Breeder’s Cup’s Hand
As was previously reported, Bob Baffert, trainer of Medina Spirit, is currently under review by the Breeder’s Cup to determine if his horses will be allowed to run. If he is ruled out, many horses would be voided of their “Win and You’re In” status from races during the prep season.
After Saturday’s Awesome Again on opening weekend at Santa Anita, Medina Spirit would be one of those horses. Medina Spirit made headlines this year when he won the Kentucky Derby and then failed the post race drug test. Official disqualification from that victory is still pending a review from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commision.
The Baffert colt was scheduled to make an appearance at Parx in the Pennsylvania Derby, but was scratched following a bad draw. Instead the horse took on olders in the Awesome Again on Saturday. Much like fellow competitor Knicks Go, Medina Spirit got out to the lead and led unopposed from start to finish. He too opened up in the lane to create separation from his competitors making the victory quite comfortable in the end.
With the victory and the visual impressiveness of it, Medina Spirit is sure to be well backed heading into the Breeder’s Cup Classic. The question is will the Breeder’s Cup allow him to run. With his victory and wins by other prominent Baffert runners, the Breeder’s Cup would have to take a bold stand to disqualify him from competing. Doing so would either require owners to change the horses over to different trainers or could mean that some of the most prominent names in the various divisions are not eligible to compete.
80-1 Upset in the Qatar Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe
One of the most famous races in the world is the Qatar Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe. The prestigious race, run over the weekend, is one of the most competitive turf events in the world. The winner is not only rewarded with the spoils of victory, but also a ticket to the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf.
Despite the presence of some of Europe’s most prolific turf runners including Tarnawa (IRE), Hurricane Lane (IRE), and Adayar (IRE), it was a German bred, Torquator Tasso (GER) that took the race. The horse was let off at 80-1 and ran a brilliant stalk and pounce trip getting up just in the shadow of the wire to win the race affectionately known as “The Arc”.
“Win and You’re In” Results From the Weekend
Ain't Easy earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with a victory in the Chandelier Stakes.
Corniche earned a spot in the TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a victory in the American Pharoah Stakes.
One Timer earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint with a victory in the Speakeasy Stakes.
Jack Christopher earned a spot in the TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a victory in the Champagne Stakes.
Medina Spirit earned a spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic with a victory in the Awesome Again Stakes.
Going to Vegas earned a spot in the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf with a victory in the Rodeo Drive Stakes.
Dr. Schivel earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint with a victory in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes.
Echo Zulu earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with a victory in the Frizette Stakes.
Zellie (FR) earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with a victory in the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac.
Angel Bleu (FR) earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf with a victory in the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
Private Mission earned a spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff with a victory in the Zenyatta Stakes.
Rougir (FR) earned a spot in the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf with a victory in the Prix de L'Opera Longines.
Torquator Tasso (GER) earned a spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf with a victory in the Qatar Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe.
A Case of You (IRE) earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint with a victory in the Prix de L'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines.