Breeders’ Cup Classic: Knicks Go, Essential Quality the picks

1 year ago 116
Knicks Go is the 5-2 morning-line favourite  successful  Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic. Knicks Go is the 5-2 morning-line favourite successful Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic. AP

Brad Cox became a unit to reckon with erstwhile helium trained a record-tying 4 winners successful the Breeders’ Cup astatine Keeneland. Those 2 days astir precisely a twelvemonth agone burnished his archetypal Eclipse Award arsenic the country’s apical trainer. There is nary crushed to deliberation it volition beryllium his last.

He arrived astatine the 2021 Breeders’ Cup with six horses, including 2 of the 3 starring candidates to beryllium Horse of the Year. Knicks Go (5-2) and Essential Quality (3-1) transportation the 2 shortest prices connected the greeting enactment and successful futures betting for Saturday’s $6 cardinal Classic.

Since Cox took implicit grooming Knicks Go astatine the commencement of past year, the present 5-year-old equine sired by Paynter is 7-for-7 going astir 2 turns. But helium has ne'er raced arsenic acold arsenic the Classic’s 1¼ miles. He is trying to go the archetypal equine successful 12 years to triumph his 10-furlong debut, successful America’s biggest race.

“His gallop-out successful his races person been beauteous impressive,” Cox said connected Friday’s Ron Flatter Racing Pod. “He surely tin grip a mile-and-an-eighth atrocious well. I can’t spot a crushed wherefore helium would not get a mile-and-a-quarter. To look astatine his pedigree and deliberation that helium couldn’t get a mile-and-a-quarter, I don’t cognize wherefore radical wouldn’t deliberation helium would.”

Where Knicks Go mightiness effort to pb from gross to wire, Essential Quality is apt to stalk the pace. The victor of the Belmont Stakes and the Grade 1 Travers could go the 14th 3-year-old to triumph successful the 38 runnings of the Classic, though helium has been connected the seat for 10 weeks.

“I consciousness similar he’s tally enough,” Cox said. “We’ve got a acceptable horse. He’s developed physically since the Travers. He has conscionable expanded. He looks the part, and he’s grooming the part. I tin archer that helium has decidedly gotten sharper and much assertive successful his grooming conscionable since the chill upwind took implicit the past 2 oregon 3 weeks.”

Cox besides has a unrecorded accidental successful the $2 cardinal Distaff connected Saturday with Shedaresthedevil (4-1), who has done thing fewer horses person accomplished each year. She defeated part person and Distaff favourite Letruska. That happened successful the two-turn Azeri Stakes past wintertime astatine Oaklawn Park. Three months later, Letruska got adjacent by beating Shedaresthedevil successful the one-turn Ogden Phipps astatine Belmont Park.

“We did decision Letruska astir 2 turns, and we’re moving astir 2 turns,” Cox said. “I cognize that we tin bushed her. We’ve conscionable got to person immoderate racing luck and a bully setup. I mean it’s been done.”

Brent Musburger’s BC Classic selections

Knicks Go (post 5) is the champion equine successful the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but I americium picking Essential Quality (4) to instrumentality him down successful the stretch. Knicks Go loves to power the gait nether jockey Joel Rosario, but helium has ne'er gone 1¹/₄ miles. I judge helium volition clasp disconnected Medina Spirit (8) successful the archetypal half-mile, but Essential Quality volition way him into the agelong and triumph the race. Hot Rod Charlie (3) is ever a contender and should decorativeness successful the trifecta oregon superfecta, and I volition spell with Art Collector (6), who is susceptible of an upset, to decorativeness fourth.

$100 betting strategy: $50 Exacta container 4-5.