One of the biggest races of the season took place in Del Mar at the beginning of November, as the hotly anticipated Breeders’ Cup Classic was staged. The lucrative Grade 1 is typically one of the most eye-catching races of the flat season, but this year there was added spice.
It was revered as one of the best ever renewals of the race, with no shortage of leading claims throughout the field. But, what’s next for some of the Classic stars?
The chances of Knicks Go were played down by many for the Classic, with many questioning his ability to last the distance as well as his stamina holding up to the younger horses proven over the trip. However, the five-year-old showed that there was still life in his legs as he won by two and three-quarter lengths.
Before the Breeders’ Cup, it was announced that he would be going to stud at Taylor Made Stallions following his retirement. However, before then, he will be targeting a second straight success in the $3 million G1 Pegasus World Cup. That is likely to be his final start on track. However, it will be interesting to see whether Knicks Go or Life is Good is the favourite in theTVG online betting
The most controversial horse in training was back in second in the Classic, much to the relief of many who would have believed that a black cloud would have been left over the sport should the Bob Baffert-trained horse have won. Medina Spirit was the contentious winner of the Kentucky Derby in May, before failing two drug tests,leading to a ban on Baffert-trained horses at the first of the Triple Crown races
Medina Spirit followed that Derby win with a third in the Preakness, before back-to-back wins in the Shared Belief Stakes and G1 Awesome Again Stakes. It has widely been reported that he will remain in training next year, and a shot at the Saudi Cup looks the most likely next race for him.
The only horse in the top three that has gone straight into retirement is Essential Quality. Widely regarded as the star three-year-old this season, the Brad Cox-trained horse won eight from ten career starts, and earned just under $5 million in prize money.
His season eventually ended on a flat not with a third in the Classic, but Grade 1 wins in the Belmont Stakes, Travers, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile ensure that his legacy is in tact. It was revealed before the Classic that he would be heading to the Darley America roster for 2022, which means that it won’t be long before his progeny are lining up in the Triple Crown races.
Hot Rod Charlie was game as ever in the Classic, but ultimately he finished back in fourth. The three-year-old has been one of the most beloved horses in training this year, as he has always raced his heart out for trainer Doug O’Neill. His season finally reached its high point in September, as he finally got the Grade 1 victory that has eluded him for so long in the Pennsylvania Derby.
However, seconds in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Belmont Stakes, coupled with a third in the Kentucky Derby, means that there is so much to come from him as a four-year-old. His first stop will be the Saudi Cup in February, and a battle against Medina Spirit and Mandaloun.
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