FROM THE OCEAN –
If you take something with you from the $ 6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, the horses can get better as they age.
With a lot of attention being paid to a trio of 3-year-olds, it was 5-year-old Knicks Go who shot out of the gate and went wire to wire to win the richest race in the United States. The three three year olds – Medina Sprit, contingent winner of the Kentucky Derby; Essential Quality, Belmont Stake winner; and Hot Rod Charlie, runner-up in the Belmont Stakes, finished runner-up to fourth.
The fact that Knicks Go won should come as no surprise as he has won three Class 1 races since moving to Brad Cox’s barn early last year, after a very low profile career with previous coach Ben Colebrook. Knicks Go won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last year.
Knicks Go was never seriously tested under a ride by Joel Rosario. He shot quickly to the front and relaxed on the home stretch so that the following pack came closer. Then when they turned home he went very far into the range but reassembled them to win with 2 inch lengths.
Knicks Go paid $ 8.40, $ 6.20, and $ 4.00, and beat seven other horses in the 1¼ mile race. The field was reduced by one when Express Train was scratched in the morning due to a minor injury.
Each of the lost 3 year olds has their own story.
Medina Spirit’s win in the Kentucky Derby is expected to be reviewed after testing positive for an anti-inflammatory drug that is legal but not race week. No charges were brought against coach Bob Baffert.
Essential Quality, who could easily become a star in this sport, is retiring because of its stallion value.
And Hot Rod Charlie drove one of the best races of the year when he lost to Essential Quality at the Belmont. He later won the Haskell Stakes but was disqualified for meddling.