In the Breeders Cup Classic Rankings at BreedersCup.com, each voter ranks horses by assigning their allotted votes on a 10th to 1st system in descending order. The rankings are determined by a panel of “leading” Thoroughbred racing media, horse players and members of the Breeders Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel.
They rank these horses each week leading up to the Breeders Cup Classic. It appears that not one of the voters has the forethought to think outside the box or maybe they are just the type to go along with the crowd, but the rankings posted are coming up really short, in my humble opinion.
Here are their rankings as of this week:
Well, isn't that special!!?? It does say underneath their post: "Note – The Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings have no official bearing on qualification or selection into the Breeders’ Cup Classic." I am assuming that means that they could have voted for any horse that has yet to win a qualifying prep race. (Afterall, it is only June!) Hundreds of horses out there and yet 250 votes went to McKinzie.
So the big hotshots have voted McKinzie to come in first place in the Breeders Cup Classic. Let's dive into this as I shake my head in wonderment. They believed he was the one to beat and they cast their vote with the highest ranking on a horse who has seen only one Winners Circle so far this year. One win traveling 1 1/16th (on a wet track to boot) and they believe that he is going to win (overwhelmingly, mind you) the 10f Breeders Cup Classic.
This is the very same race that this horse came in 12th in the order of finish just last year. The very same horse who has never won at 10f in his career. McKinzie. With 250 votes.
It just goes to show that the crowd will follow the crowd in a daze.
McKinzie will not win the 10f Breeders Cup Classic. McKinzie has no business even being in that gate. His race is up against Mitole in the Breeders Dirt Mile. The only backing that McKinzie has at 10f is the Baffert "magic" and even then his chances are slim to none. It is the end of June, months away from the Classic and I have no trepidation in those words.
McKinzie's optimum distance capability is exactly 9.5f. It always was and it always will be. His past performances are a testament to this as well. He is a talented horse and he is an extremely fast horse. He thrives on fast wet tracks traveling up to 9f - 9.5f.
So why is he ranked so high by the "leading" authorities and media? Is it the Baffert factor? That didn't work out too well for them with Roadster or Improbable this year, did it? Changes at Santa Anita with regards to vet records and the like may have crushed the Baffert magic in more ways than one.
Stamina is inbred and to win a race like the 10f Breeders Cup Classic, a horse must have the stamina to keep up with TESTED and HIGH CLASS foes. He could not beat the speed of Mitole in the Met Mile but he did beat Thunder Snow that day. He beat him at ONE MILE. Thunder Snow is not a miler and yet he remained only 3 lengths behind McKinzie at the wire. Add another 1/4 mile to that race and see who flies on by down that stretch.
Thunder Snow. A giant a 10f. Bred to the hilt. What wins at 8f at one race track is not the same that wins at 10f at another. This is just pure common sense and yet the crowd follows.
For fun, here are my June top 5 for the Breeders Cup Classic. Only one of which was found on their rankings.
1. LE VENT SE LEVE - The monster from Japan who has the breeding to demolish any horse at 10f. Breaking and tying speed records left and right, winning race after race and displaying his extreme speed and extreme stamina at every distance demanded of him. Unlucky with his leg issues but still a powerhouse and one of the best horses in the world right now. My ranking on him if we were lucky enough to witness him grace us with his presence - EVEN MONEY. Ranked #1.
2. CODE OF HONOR - Another stamina beast with extreme speed and incredible will and determination. The colt with the breeding that puts his optimum distance capability at 11.9f but with the jets to display wicked speed no matter the disadvantage or the distance. The best bred of the crop is just getting started. His performance on the sloppy track at Churchill Downs proves that he has that special champion quality that only a few a year display. Fresh and ready to start his career away from Gulfstream Park, Code of Honor at Saratoga will be a beast this year. Odds 2/1. Ranked #2
3. THUNDER SNOW - This is the guy that is hard to keep your eyes off of and why would you want too? From the 2017 UAE Derby all the way through til today, Thunder Snow at 10f is a match made in heaven. His form has not changed one bit, only the distance he has been asked to compete at. Serious breeding and class with unmatched experience and stellar performances at this distance. Odds 4/1. Ranked #3.
4. GAME WINNER - This colt can run 10f with his eyes closed. The fact that he ended up on a sloppy track with a severe disadvantage does not detract from his capability to run a 10f successful race on a clean track at Santa Anita. His 5th place in Kentucky showed that this Candy Ride son should follow like some of his half brothers who were always ready to roll and at their peak late in the season. Odds 6/1. Ranked #4.
5. VEKOMA - Another Candy Ride boy who wanted no parts of the 10f sloppy track at Churchill but on a clean fast track, he will keep going with the best of them. Good chance he follows the same Candy Ride pattern, peaking late in the season. Odds - 10/1. Ranked #5.
These are the five guys that I hope to see secure a gate in the 2019 Breeders Cup Classic and if they do, it will be one hell of a show. All five have the capability to display their speed traveling the distance of 10f on a nice clean track. As the Win and You're In races progress over the next few months, hopefully a few speed guys with the right stamina will enter into the picture. At this moment in time, I see only 5 probables with the right stuff and two happen to be from overseas. We'll see how everything unfolds. The watch starts ticking now.