Brad Cox is sitting on a strong hand in the 2021 Breeders' Cup Classic, with Knicks Go and Essential Quality as the two clear favorites in the race. Global oddsmakers have Knicks Go at 5-2 and Essential Quality at 4-1, but one could debate that on the basis of his 8-for-9 lifetime record, Essential Quality could be favored by post time.
Waiting to face the Cox trainees are a host of challengers led by Hot Rod Charlie, Medina Spirit, Art Collector, Max Player, Happy Saver and Maxfield.
From a pace perspective, there could be a fair amount of speed in the race to go with Knicks Go. Medina Spirit, Hot Rod Charlie, Art Collector, Happy Saver and Express Train are all pace types, which could set up an interesting dynamic at a mile and a quarter.
Following the top group are some longer-priced contenders that have may have affinity for this trip. Tripoli and Dr Post ran first and third in the Pacific Classic (G1) over this same track and distance, while Idol won the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) going 10 furlongs at Santa Anita in March. And Express Train won the San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar going 1 1/16 miles in July but faded to sixth in the Pacific Classic.
Also under consideration is Stilleto Boy, who most recently finished second in the Awesome Again behind Medina Spirit.
Below is a listing of Classic contenders along with the best odds from a survey of international bookmakers.
|Knicks Go||7-2||Won BC Dirt Mile, Pegasus, 7 of last 9|
|Essential Quality||9-2||Won Belmont, Travers, 8 of 9 lifetime|
|Art Collector||8-1||Won Woodward in last, 3-race win streak|
|Hot Rod Charlie||10-1||Won PA Derby, 2nd in Belmont, 3rd in Derby|
|Medina Spirit||10-1||Ky Derby winner (for now)|
|Max Player||10-1||Won Jockey Club Gold Cup, Suburban last 2|
|Happy Saver||16-1||Won 2020 Jockey Club Gold Cup, 5 of 7 life|
|Maxfield||20-1||7 of 10 lifetime, 2nd in Woodward, Whitney|
|Tripoli||28-1||Won Pac Classic on this surface, distance|
|Dr Post||40-1||3rd in Woodward, Pac Classic in last two|
|Express Train||40-1||Won G2 San Diego, San Pasqual this year|
|Idol||40-1||Won Big Cap, 6th in Awesome Again 10/2|
|Stilleto Boy||75-1||Iowa Derby winner, 2nd in Awesome Again|