12.40 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1) 1m 2f
The big one. Oh, to watch it with trainer Brad Cox. Two greys. Two choices. Two vastly different styles. Knicks Go, riding a three-stakes race win streak, and Joel Rosario will be on the lead.
The once-beaten Essential Quality and Luis Saez will be, well, they could be anywhere, the three-year-old colt’s style varies in every race.
The much-maligned Medina Spirit, who is still considered the Kentucky Derby winner, aims for his third straight. Doug O’Neill goes back in the tack trunk for a set of blinkers for three-year-old Hot Rod Charlie, who was two-for-six with them and one-two since they were removed (he was disqualified for interference in the Haskell). Max Player could be getting very good at the right time for trainer Steve Asmussen.
“I can’t separate them. But, I’m excited about being in this position with both horses,” Cox said. “It does set up well for (Essential Quality). Luis obviously does know him extremely well, and I’m putting him in a good position. That’s the one great thing about Essential Quality. He’s able to adjust to the pace and that’s, that what makes him so dangerous each and every run. We’re probably getting a pace similar or maybe even hotter than it was in the Kentucky Derby.
“It is very rare for a horse to do what Knicks Go can do. You don’t always see horses that are capable of running as quick as he can and clearing. And, he really accelerates in the turns.”
The key is how the track is playing. If speed is holding, the pendulum swings to Knicks Go. If it’s suiting closers, then it swings to Essential Quality and others.
The key to the race sits in Mike Smith’s hands, the Hall of Famer rides Art Collector who will be the first one to engage Knicks Go. When he does it, how he does it will decide it.
Selections: Knicks Go, Essential Quality, Medina Spirit