LEXINGTON, Ky(Aug. 20, 2019) – Hronis Racing’s 4-year-old Higher Power, runaway winner of Saturday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar, has surged to the No. 5 spot in the latest Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, while Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie, winner of the Whitney (G1), has retained the No. 1 position.

Higher Power (137 votes), a bay son of Medaglia d’Oro out of the Seattle Slew mare Alternate, trained by John Sadler, is from the same connections that campaigned last year’s Pacific Classic and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Accelerate.

Under jockey Flavien Prat, Higher Power zoomed away from the field leaving the backstretch at Del Mar and rolled to a 5 ¼-length victory at odds of 9.6-1, covering the 1 ¼ miles in 2:02.43. Higher Power, whose victory earned him a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic, came into the Pacific Classic off a second-place finish in the one-mile Wickerr Stakes on turf at Del Mar on July 19.

McKinzie (307 votes), trained by Bob Baffert, has retained the top spot in the Classic Rankings for the 11th consecutive week. McKinzie is followed by Godolphin’s two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Thunder  Snow (IRE) (247) in second place. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Thunder Snow was scratched from the Whitney on the morning of the race due to an elevated temperature.

China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm and Head of Plains Partners’ 5-year-old Yoshida (JPN) (152 votes), who finished second in the Whitney, moved up one spot this week to third place, switching places with Gary and Mary West’s Haskell Invitational winner Maximum Security (149 votes).

Following Higher Power in sixth place is Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ 4-year-old Catholic Boy (104 votes).

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s 4-year-old Vino Rosso (102 votes), third-place finisher in the Whitney, rose from eighth to seventh place, followed by Gary and Mary West’s Game Winner (98 votes), the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner, in eighth place, who came down with a virus last week and was forced to miss the Travers Stakes (G1).

Hronis Racing’s 6-year-old Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Gift Box (71 votes) holds on to ninth place in the rankings.

William S. Farish’s 3-year-old Code of Honor (62 votes), trained by Shug McGaughey, enters the Top 10 for the first time this year in the 10th spot. Winner of both the Fountain of Youth (G2) and the Dwyer Stakes (G3), Code of Honor (62 votes) is expected to start in Saturday’s Travers.

The Breeders’ Cup  Classic Rankings, a weekly rating of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Park, Nov. 2, are determined by a panel of leading Thoroughbred racing media, horseplayers and members of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel. Rankings are announced each week through Oct. 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.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings Top 10 – Aug. 20, 2019 *

Rank Horse Total Votes First Place Votes Previous Week
1 McKinzie 307 28 1
2 Thunder Snow (IRE) 247 2 2
3 Yoshida (JPN) 152 0 4
4 Maximum Security 149 0 3
5 Higher Power 137 0 0
6 Catholic Boy 104 1 6
7 Vino Rosso 102 0 8
8 Game Winner 98 0 7
9 Gift Box 71 0 9
10 Code of Honor 62 0 13

 *Note – The Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings have no official bearing on qualification or selection into the Breeders’ Cup Classic.


Each NBC Sports Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Win and You’re In – Presented by America’s Best Racing telecast will include the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings with commentary from the on-air talent.

Upcoming races in the Classic Division that will be televised through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series programming include the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) from Parx Racing on Sept. 21; Awesome Again Stakes (G1) from Santa Anita Park and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) from Belmont Park on Sept. 28.

The 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run at 1 ¼ miles on the main track at Santa Anita, will be televised live and in primetime on NBC. Thirteen winners of the Classic have been voted Horse of the Year.

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