Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar: Cox Has Two Pistols for $6M Classic

Trainer Brad Cox is holding two aces regarding the richest horse race in North America.

Defending Breeders’ Cup winners Essential Quality (Juvenile) and Knicks Go (Dirt Mile) are pointing to the $6 million Classic Nov. 6 at Del Mar in Southern California. Both come off Grade 1 victories at Saratoga in upstate New York, 5-year-old Knicks Go in the Whitney Stakes and champion 3-year-old Essential Quality in the $1.25-million Travers Stakes Saturday.

Knicks Go is ranked first and Essential Quality third in the newest National Thoroughbred Racing Association poll. Knicks Go, a 2020 Oaklawn allowance winner, is targeting the Grade 3 Lukas Classic Oct. 3 at Churchill Downs as his last prep for the Classic. Cox said he is unsure about Essential Quality’s next start before the Tapit colt takes on older horses in the Classic, which like the Travers is 10 furlongs.

“We’ll just let the dust settle and enjoy the victory for a little bit. I think that’s the right thing to do,” Cox said. “We’ll make a decision in a week or two weeks. The most important thing is watching him and how he trains.”

Winning the Travers by a neck over Midnight Bourbon, giving him an 8-0-1 record from nine starts, Essential Quality…  read the rest

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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