Brad Cox has never trained a winner at the Breeders’ Cup Classic, failing to win one of the signature events of American horse racing. But, that could well change in the event in October when two of his outstanding horses will be vying for the crown at Del Mar Racecourse.
Knicks Go and Essential Quality have both performed at a high standard over the course of 2021, and both horses are more than capable of ending Cox’s drought at the major event that has been dominated in the past by Bob Baffert.
Knicks Go has enhanced his claims with recent victories and is the leading contender if you’re betting on horse racing on the Breeders’ Cup Classic, although Essential Quality also has strong odds for the victory. The contest should be a close affair and that’s just between the two stable-mates. There will be other competitors in the mix, and there will no doubt be a string of talented charges to match Cox’s hopefuls.
Knicks Go made his first appearance of 2021 in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes and laid down an impressive performance to win the crown by two-and-a-quarter lengths. However, a trip overseas did not suit his style in the Saudi Cup as he was well off the pace, finishing eight-and-a-half lengths behind the winner Mishriff.
A 105-day break and a return to the United States did not improve his fortunes as he was beaten in the Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap by Silver State at Belmont Park. A Grade Three race was required to bring the horse back up to speed, and he duly delivered with Joel Rosario in the saddle at the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap. Knicks Go was truly dominant and beat out the field by a comfortable margin to get back to winning ways.
Knicks Go pressed home his credentials for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a second win on the bounce at the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga. The five-year-old put in an outstanding display to triumph and in the process beat out one of his potential rivals Classic in the horse racing predictions for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Maxfield. Whether Cox’s charge has the form and the momentum to take on the Breeders’ Cup Classic is another matter, especially when he has so few quality victories under his belt.
Essential Quality does not have that issue as Cox’s charge was exceptional to win the Belmont Stakes in June. He had competed well in the Kentucky Derby but had lacked the pace when it mattered the most down the stretch and ultimately finished fourth in a close race. There was no mistake at the Belmont Stakes, where he produced his best form to close out the race by one-and-a-quarter lengths.
Essential Quality has since added another victory to his name by winning the Jim Dandy Stakes. The result proves that he has both the form heading into the latter stages of the campaign and also the ability to perform against elite competition.
There will be horses of the highest quality competing in the event, and it may just favour Essential Quality out of the two Cox horses anticipated to line up at Del Mar Racecourse.