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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

2021 Breeders Cup Classic Analysis

STILLETO BOY - Shackleford

DP = 3-5-4-0-0 (12) DI = 5.00 CD = 0.92

Mare Profile = 7-4-3-3-12 Speed = 11 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.70 Triads = 14-10-18

This is a very odd horse and he certainly doesn’t have a prayer to make any noise in this race. With the highest amount of inbred chef speed on the field and listed as an (E 4), the horse crawls out of the gate and they expect him to compete against lead speed with the likes of Knicks Go? A horse who could not win at 5.5f or 6f with this type of set-up, or win on a sloppy track at Oaklawn is saying that there is something extremely strange with how he is performing vs his breeding. He is in way over his head here. The fact that he had his best performance to date in the Awesome Again is telling me that track was so overtly speed biased and is giving a major clue as to the extraordinary advantage that Medina Spirit garnered on that track that day. The fact that Medina won the Awesome Again crawling on the lead and this guy came in second to him points to a major walk in the park for Medina in that race. He beat absolutely nothing that day. This guy would be wise to get himself where he at least has a shot to compete - in the Dirt Mile

MAX PLAYER – Honor Code

DP = 8-5-11-0-0 (24) DI = 3.36 CD = 0.88

Mare Profile = 8-3-6-4-7 Speed = 11 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.04 Triads = 17-13-17

There is something awkward about his configurations vs his performances that does not jive and also, he needs to pick a running style and stick with it. Most likely, this guy will be gunned for a spot up front because he did well there in his last two, but he will be left in the dust if that happens and will remain somewhere in the middle. His mare’s numbers are lifeless for this race and with the DelMar bias at this distance against the caliber of his foes is way too much for the early stages of the race. Nothing would please me more than to see an Honor Code Boy make some noise in this race but he will be left out of his comfort zone based on his last two and the imbalance in his numbers are a major detriment. The only thing that stands out is that he posted his best performance at Belmont in the 10f Suburban on a sloppy track. He will gain some favor at DelMar but certainly not enough to expect anything higher than a 4th place nod, if that.

ART COLLECTOR - Bernardini

DP = 4-9-11-0-0 (24) DI = 3.36 CD = 0.71

Mare Profile = 8-4-3-4-9 Speed = 12 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.92 Triads = 15-11-16

This horse has never run at the distance but his numbers say he gets 10.1f. The way he positions himself is favorable, however, if he gets stuck in outside post, it will affect him a great deal. With his 3.36 chef index, I would expect him to gain a few extra lengths and the short stretch will be a comfort to him. Since entering Mott’s barn, he has done everything right, however, looking at his earlier days, he also did very well – when he ran at that 9f as well. This may point to a horse who has been “conditioned” at that 9f mark and if asked for more distance, may not know what to do with himself. This leaves a major question mark as to whether this guy is a major player for a win at this distance. With his configurations being so tight at the distance, I will leave him away from a top spot nod and keep him for the lower spots in the super. Against this crowd and his stellar performances at 1-1/8th, everything, including his numbers, is saying board-hit material, not winning material.


DP = 5-12-14-1-0 (32) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.66

Mare Profile = 12-3-2-2-12 Speed = 15 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.04 Triads = 17-7-16

His pace figures from the 12f Belmont Stakes outperform everyone on this field. He has posted wins at every distance and has come from every spot available on that track with those wins. He has won traveling at a snail’s pace behind the slowest of leads and he has won while traveling behind a quick early pace. He has won on hard surfaces and slick surfaces. There is no question concerning bias, distance, post position, early pace or late pace. He has just about every single angle covered that you could think of for this race. The only flaw on his resume is the Kentucky Derby, which, as history has shown us over and over again, was extremely against him and his disadvantage in that race was huge. He still hit 4th. This is a giant of a race horse who will be retired to Jonabell Farm as a champion and he will command top dollar for breeding. I wrote this guy’s analysis last because I needed to see what was going on with some of the higher echelon horses on this field and each one of them has negatives, except for Essential Quality. The key to him winning this race lies directly in line with his speed and his incredible amount of stamina that will afford him the most reserved speed at the tail end of the race over every other horse in the gate. His barn mate, Knicks Go, is the only thing keeping me from the easy single of Essential Quality on top. The bias for Knicks Go will be a much higher advantageous spot on this DelMar track, along with the shorter stretch. The extra dollars to use Knicks Go with him is wise in this situation because of that bias. The reserved speed will be in Essential Quality’s favor, while the bias positioning will be to Knick’s Go’s favor. (But Knick’s Go has a couple of negatives, while Essential Quality does not.) Nothing would please me more than to see Essential Quality no further back than 5th in the early stages of the race on this bias but even if he is not, he still holds the best reserved energy of the bunch. I think he wins this race easily.


DP = 1-4-5-0-0 (10) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.60

Mare Profile = 11-1-5-11-3 Speed = 12 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.27 Triads = 17-17-19

His numbers are great for this race and he has proven his great speed (mare index 1.27) and he has proven he has ample stamina from Oxbow’s line. The problem, however, is not the numbers, it is how he has ended his last two races which is extremely telling. There is no question that this horse will be hitting the tote board and we all know that this most likely will be a very low paying superfecta this year with the given odds on these high caliber colts so in order to profit, you have to take a stand. You can’t bet every low odds favorite to win. For some reason, Charlie did the drunken sailor dance in the stretch in his last two. He is running like a madman throughout the race and it is catching up with him. Since Medina and Knicks Go will most likely push that pace early, Charlie will stay the ground and he will push with them and continue all the way through. Does he start drifting again before the finish line? Does he win this race and get disqualified? He will be pushed harder than any other race in his career in the early stages which means he will keep up and he will gain and he will use more reserved energy before that wire comes. This leaves a huge question as to his ability to stay straight and in line for that wire. There was no reason for this to occur at Parx at that shorter distance, but it did. There was no reason for it at Monmouth either. Since the payouts will be low, the stand will be against the win here and used in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th spots, even though I do not see him hitting the tote board that low. The reason for the spread across the 3 spots is because of the threat that Charlie decides to stagger his way down that stretch and the possibility of being dq’d for it – again. The payouts will be too low to disregard that negative so a stand needs to be taken.

TRIPOLI – Kitten’s Joy

DP = 7-9-10-2-0 (28) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75

Mare Profile = 7-5-3-6-7 Speed = 12 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.96 Triads = 15-14-16

He has the distance and he certainly loves the dirt at DelMar and his numbers are well balanced. He has a ton of stamina and he has shown his displayed speed. The only way to make any profit in this race is if one of the longer shots happens to grab a piece underneath. Between Express Train, Max Player, Stilleto Boy and this guy, well, the arrow for me will go here. With the strong potential of such a lousy payout this year, the only way to capitalize, just in case, is to throw in the best longshot and hope for a bit of luck. Tripoli has shown his liking for the track at the same distance and if he holds back, could capitalize off of a potential speed duel if that duel lasts a good amount of time before they settle. Could he beat the likes of Essential Quality or Hot Rod Charlie? No. Could he beat the potential mess between Knicks Go and Medina Spirit? Yes. Can he beat Art Collector? He proved he could win at 10f at DelMar already, Art Collector has never won at 10f anywhere. This guy defaults to my longshot play and he will get some spots in that superfecta. Wishful thinking, maybe, but you can’t cash if you don’t have the skin in the game in the first place. It would have been Maxfield, then it would have been Idol, then it would have been Dr.Post. With what was left after the defections, I went back and forth between Max Player and this guy and I see more upside here.

KNICKS GO – Paynter

DP = 3-6-11-0-0 (20) DI = 2.64 CD = 0.60

Mare Profile = 8-3-4-10-3 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.15 Triads = 15-17-17

This colt can travel 10f and he will be out on the lead on highly biased speed favoring track. His .60 CD is spectacular for the race along with speed from both his mares and the speed that he displays. If it weren’t for his stablemate, Essential Quality, he could easily be considered the beast of the field. What I don’t like is that the horse (just like Art Collector) has been basically “conditioned” for 9f and nobody could possibly know how he will move that energy around in order to sustain the 10f. It is there, but how does it get incorporated throughout each of the calls is the big question. The only possible thing that makes any sense for a payout is to spread this horse at the hip with your personal favorite (mine being Essential Quality) – because he has the distance and that bias is perfection for him. How he expends his energy is so up in the air but to simply deny the advantages he has in this race because of it would be silly. In order to make a profit if you play superfectas is to only have 2 contenders for your top spot and with everything surrounding his advantages, both distance capability and strong bias, I have to use him in those top spots.


DP = 3-6-15-0-0 (24) DI = 2.20 CD = 0.50

Mare Profile = 6-5-4-8-7 Speed = 11 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.81 Triads = 15-17-19

Looking at this guy objectively and on his own merits and breeding as they relate to his past performances, there wouldn’t be a chance in hell that I would use this horse on top in the Breeders Cup Classic. Both the top and bottom of his configurations are lacking in speed inheritance and his resume is confirming it. Kentucky Derby aside because he was racing on drugs, the only time he posted worthy figures was in his last in the Awesome Again where he beat absolutely nothing and was able to crawl on the lead which is exactly what Baffert will hope for in this race. It will never happen. Not with Knicks Go in the gate. Medina Spirit’s pace figures will be flipped from his last and he will never beat the high class of this field with early pace figures like that. The only way Baffert gets that winning trophy is if Medina Spirit gets an uncontested lead and takes that lead at a snail’s pace in order to reserve something for that short stretch. I wonder if Knick’s Go and Art Collector got the memo that Baffert demands that slow lead! Not going to happen! Some type of nod underneath? Maybe. After-all, he is still in Baffert’s barn.


DP = 4-4-11-1-0 (20) DI = 2.08 CD = 0.55

Mare Profile = 10-4-2-9-7 Speed = 14 Stamina = 16 Index = 1.04 Triads = 16-15-18

There is absolutely no reason for this horse to be entered in this race.


My Super Play: $1.00 ticket – cost $42.00

If all the chalk hits the board I think the payout will still exceed $42.00. If Knicks Go stays off the board or if Tripoli has another good day at DelMar, the payout will be very nice. Taking the shot, I think, is well worth the risk.

1st Essential Quality – Knicks Go

2nd Essential Quality – Knicks Go – Hot Rod Charlie

3rd Knicks Go – Hot Rod Charlie – Tripoli – Medina Spirit – Art Collector

4th Knicks Go – Hot Rod Charlie – Tripoli – Medina Spirit – Art Collector


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