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Breeders’ Cup Classic Is Loaded Ahead Of 2021 Race At Del Mar



The horses are hitting their stride next weekend for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar Nov. 5-6. Future Stars Friday will draw plenty of interest with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile showcasing some of the early contenders for the 2022 Kentucky Derby. Saturday’s biggest day of racing with nine Breeders’ Cup races is headlined by the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which looks loaded and will likely have 10 runners with some recent race defections.

The post position draw for all 14 Breeders’ Cup races is Monday, Nov. 1 with advance morning line odds immediately following the draw. You can download the complimentary Breeders’ Cup Betting Guide from TwinSpires starting Nov. 1.

This year’s Classic may not have a Triple Crown winner or dominant runner like 2017 BC Classic winner Gun Runner at Del Mar. But the top half of the field is pretty loaded, and here are the projected favorites, leading contenders and longshots looking to cash in for the 1 1/4 mile Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar.


  • Knicks Go
  • Essential Quality

There is plenty of speed lined up for the Breeders’ Cup Classic led by the front-running galloping gray Knicks Go. He’s won 9-of-23 starts including three in a row entering the Breeders’ Cup Classic. His Equibase Speed Figures (ESF) reached at least 115 in each of those wins, including the Grade I Whitney in August over Maxfield, who is now out of the BC Classic.

Knicks Go won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and the 5-year-old is joined by older horses Art Collector and Max Player as leading contenders to hold off the top 3-year-olds including Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will be a popular contender as 4-time Classic-winning trainer Bob Baffert shoots for another Breeders’ Cup Classic score.

Brad Cox trains both Knicks Go and Essential Quality, who has won 8-of-9 starts with his only miss a fourth place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He’s won three straight races coming into the Classic starting with the Belmont Stakes head-to-head duel with Hot Rod Charlie. His recent victory was the end of August in the Travers Stakes, where he tied his best-ever speed figure of 109 with a neck win in the 1 1/4 mile race.

Contenders and Potential Value Picks

  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Medina Spirit
  • Max Player
  • Art Collector

Hot Rod Charlie won his first Grade 1 race in September capturing the Pennsylvania Derby with a field-high 120 speed figure (ESF). He’s another runner that likes to be up close, and showed his strength and stamina when challenging Essential Quality in a close two-horse race in the Belmont Stakes.

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby and then the cloud hanging over him and his trainer Bob Baffert caused much unrest in the industry. Medina Spirit won the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes earlier this month, and finished well in front of Stilleto Boy, Express Train, Tripoli and Idol in that race at Santa Anita.

Max Player is finding his best stride with back-to-back wins and 113 speed figures. That includes in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in September, and he now makes his first start in the state of California for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Art Collector is also racing his best as a 4-year-old with three straight wins including a 120 speed figure when taking the 1 1/8 mile Grade 1 Woodward Stakes earlier this month.


  • Tripoli
  • Express Train
  • Stilleto Boy
  • Idol

Tripoli was winning allowance races this summer before moving up and finishing second in a Grade II and then winning the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar with a 109 speed figure. He appears best of the longshots after switching over from the turf to dirt this summer. His last start earlier this month was an off race finishing fourth, but he was less than 3/1 odds behind winner Medina Spirit and Trip0li has been working well since for his return to the preferred surface at Del Mar.

To stay up to date with all the news and notes along with relevant betting information and race updates, follow TwinSpires Racing leading into the date at Del Mar Nov. 5-6 for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be one to watch on NBC Sports with post time near 8:40 p.m. ET and 5:40 PT from Del Mar. If it’s anything like the 2016 Classic between Arrogate and California Chrome which I also witnessed live, then my trip to Del Mar for this year’s Breeders’ Cup will be worth the ride.

You can bet on it.

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