Black Eyed Susan Day
Joel Rosario celebrates aboard Knicks Go after winning the Classic.
The $6 million Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) featured a field of 8 older horses (after Express Train scratched) going 1 1/4 miles on the main track in a race that heavily influences Eclipse Award voting for Champion Older Horse and Horse of the Year. Belmont (G1), Jim Dandy (G2), and Travers Stakes (G1) winner Essential Quality was sent off as the 9-5 favorite over two horses with identical 3-1 odds, Knicks Go, winner of the Whitney (G1), and Hot Rod Charlie, disqualified from the win in the Haskell (G1) before winning the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).
Knicks Go leads down the stretch.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Knicks Go Rosario 8.40 6.20 4.00 8 Medina Spirit Velazquez 6.60 4.00 4 Essential Quality Saez 2.80 Winning Time: 1:59.57 $1 Exacta 5-8 32.60 $1 Trifecta 5-8-4 83.90 $1 Superfecta 5-8-4-3 170.10 $1 Super High Five 5-8-4-3-7 3,299.90Results chart
Left: Knicks Go in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brad Cox said, I didn't really know what the tactics from the other trainers and jockeys would be. I kind of felt like if they did try to go with him they may jeopardize their own opportunity to win the race and they just hoped to run with him at a mile and a quarter, but it showed -- speed's very dangerous and he was obviously fit, ready to run, happy, doing well. And it was, maybe a little bit opening a quarter to a quarter and 23 and then nearly 46 the second quarter, but the way he was doing it, he was able to clear off a touch going up the back side. I felt very comfortable that we were in a good spot."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Classic. Winning owner Jin Woo Lee said, "I'm extremely pleased with the result today. It had been a rough time when he was three years old, but we overcome the hard year and then turned the corner and then he become as special horse. And actually the winning the Breeders' Cup was the ultimate goal at the beginning of the year and we achieved that win, so he can go off feeling good and we want to say thank you to everybody."
Left: Knicks Go comes out of the tunnel. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "Yeah, he's very fast and then he got to the front like he always do. He broke very, very sharp, and then I just told him, like Brad told me, just let him do his thing and then he was just speeding, speeding. The faster he was going, he was feeling faster."
Right: Knicks Go in the post parade. Rosario added, "He looked like he was really enjoying what he was doing up there. I can see the gleam in his eye. He was just so relaxed, so calm, and he just, he's an unbelievable horse.
Left: Knicks Go parades with his flowers. Rosario added, "Thankful for all the people like Brad giving me a lot of opportunities, also a lot of other trainers and the great people that I have. They helped me. And thanks to all the people that I really, that are really supporting the sport and thankful that I'm having the year that I have."
Right: Knicks Go heads back to the barn with his winner's blanket. Cox added, "He's built for American racing on the dirt. That's what he's done and I'm hopeful that he'll pass that on to his offspring. I know people kind of frown on him for him regarding to him speeding to stud, but I think he's got everything it takes to be a stallion. He's a Grade 1 winner too, he's, obviously Ben Colebrook was responsible for that, he did a great job with him. He was a Grade 1 winner at 4, 5. He's traveled around the world and he's a very tough, durable horse. He's extremely sound. And I think we're in a day and age where horses go to stud so early and he's a little bit of a throwback horse in that he's raced at 4 and 5 and raced as much as he has. So very proud of what he has accomplished this year and ending last year and hopefully he'll pass it on as a stallion."
Left: Second place finisher Medina Spirit races in third first time by. Trainer Bob Baffert said, He ran a great race. The winner was just too much. I'm proud of the fact that he showed today that he beat those 3-year-olds. To me, he's the best 3-year-old. He showed it today. That's what racing is all about, proving it on the racetrack. And he proved it today that he's the real deal." Jockey John Velazquez added, "I broke slow and by the wire the first time I had to take a little hold of him. I gave him his head around the first turn and around the second turn he came running and kept running. Who's the best 3-year-old now?"
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Essential Quality in the post parade. Jockey Luis Saez said, "I wasn't expecting the pace to be that slow. Everything was a mess. I thought there was going to be a lot of pace, but the plan was to wait, sit still and make one move but the pace was so slow, we couldn't do anything."
The entire field shortly after the start with Art Collector stalking eventual winner Knicks Go. Mike Smith aboard Art Collector said, “He broke well and we were tracking right behind (Knicks Go). On the backstretch, he started running with his head up, then just came up empty.”
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