McKinzie Leads Inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings

By: Breeders’ Cup/Jim Gluckson Press Release

Release Date: June 12, 2019

Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie has earned the No. 1 position following results tabulated for the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly rating of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings are determined by a panel of 36 leading Thoroughbred racing media, horseplayers and members of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel. Rankings will be announced each week through October 15 and can be found on the Breeders’ Cup website along with the list of voting members.

In the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, each voter ranks horses by assigning their allotted votes on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system in descending order. The release of the first Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings precedes the Stephen Foster (G2) from Churchill Downs, a Win and You’re In race for the Classic division, which will be televised by NBCSN on June 15 as a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In—presented by America’s Best Racing.”

“With the 3-year-olds and older horses setting their sights on the Classic during the second half of the year, we expect the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings to spark additional interest and conversation on a weekly basis from the votes of a dynamic group of media, horseplayers and racing officials,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO.

McKinzie, a 4-year-old son of 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense, trained by Bob Baffert, earned 239 votes in the first poll, 17 votes greater than Godolphin’s 5-year-old Thunder Snow.  McKinzie won the 1 1/16-mile Alysheba Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on May 3, and was second to Mitole in last Saturday’s one-mile Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park.

Thunder Snow, a bay son of Helmut (AUS), trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, successfully defended his Dubai World Cup (G1) title in March, and finished third in the Metropolitan Handicap. He also finished third in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic and has career earnings of more than more than $16.5 million.

Hronis Racing’s 6-year-old Gift Box, with 186 votes, is third in the Classic Rankings. Trained by John Sadler, Gift Box has won one of two starts this year at Santa Anita Park, taking the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and finishing second in the Gold Cup  at Santa Anita (G1). Hronis Racing and Sadler teamed up to win last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic with Accelerate.

Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security is the highest ranking 3-year-old in the poll, with 155 votes, fourth overall. A bay son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, Maximum Security finished first in the Kentucky Derby (G1), but was disqualified for interference and placed 17th.  Maximum Security, trained by Jason Servis, won this year’s Florida Derby (G1). 

Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ 4-year-old Catholic Boy (143 votes) is in fifth place in the Classic Rankings. Trained by Jonathan Thomas, Catholic Boy has won his only start of this year, capturing the Dixie Stakes (G2) on turf at Pimlico.

The 4-year-old Vino Rosso, winner of the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and owned by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, and trained by Todd Pletcher, is in sixth place with 132 votes. Vino Rosso is followed by Fox Hill Farm’s 3-year-old Omaha Beach (75), in seventh position.  Omaha Beach, trained by Richard Mandella, won a division of the Rebel Stakes (G2) and the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park.

Gary Barber’s Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will (67), trained by Mark Casse, and Juddmonte Farms’ 3-year-old Tacitus (66), second as the favorite in the Belmont Stakes (G1) for trainer Bill Mott, are eighth and ninth, respectively. Salomon Del Valle’s 5-year-old Gunnevera (61 votes), third in the Dubai World Cup, and second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, rounds out the top 10. Gunnevera is trained by Antonio Sano.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings – June 12, 2019

Rank Horse Total Votes 1st Place Votes
1 McKinzie 239 14
2 Thunder Snow (IRE) 222 7
3 Gift Box 186 3
4 Maximum Security 155 0
5 Catholic Boy 143 3
6 Vino Rosso 132 1
7 Omaha Beach 75 0
8 War of Will 67 0
9 Tacitus 66 1
10 Gunnevera 61 0


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