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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HRI EDITED RELEASE — Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie finished as the top-rated horse in final polling for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings by a panel of leading Thoroughbred racing media, horseplayers and members of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel.

Winner of the Alysheba Stakes (G2) and the “Win and You’re In” Whitney (G1), McKinzie (253 votes), led the weekly Classic Rankings since polling began on June 11.

Trained by Bob Baffert, McKinzie finished six votes ahead of William S. Farish’s 3-year-old Code of Honor (247 votes), who came on strongly during the second half of the year, capturing the Runhappy Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).

McKinzie finished with 11 first-place votes, one more than the 10 Code of Honor received in the final Classic Rankings. 

Both McKinzie and Code of Honor are expected to be the leading contenders for the $6 million, 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, Nov. 2, the culmination of the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s 4-year-old Vino Rosso, who crossed the wire first in The Jockey Club Gold Cup, but was disqualified and placed second for interfering with Code of Honor in the stretch, finished third in the final poll with 224 votes. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Vino Rosso won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in May.

China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm and Head of Plains Partners’ 5-year-old Yoshida (JPN) (158 votes), second to McKinzie in the Whitney, and fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic for trainer Bill Mott, finished fourth in the poll.

Yoshida is followed by Hronis Racing’s TVG Pacific Classic (G1) winner Higher Power (129 votes), trained by John Sadler, who finishes in fifth place.

Fox Hill Farms’ 3-year-old Omaha Beach (100 votes), who returned to the races after six months, earned a hard-fought victory in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G1) on Oct. 5.

Trained by Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach, scratched as the morning-line favorite of this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) due to an entrapped epiglottis, also won the Arkansas Derby (G1) in April.

Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s 5-year-old mare Elate (95 votes), also trained by Mott, finished in seventh place.  Elate triumphed in the “Win and You’re In”  Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs and in the Delaware Handicap (G2) at Delaware Park. She was recently second in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.

Mongolian Stable’s 4-year-old Mongolian Groom (72 votes), who upset McKinzie in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) for trainer Enebish Ganbat, finishes in eighth place.

Charles Fipke’s 6-year-old Seeking the Soul (54 votes), winner of the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill, and fourth in the Awesome Again for trainer Dallas Stewart, finished in ninth place in the final poll.

Rupp Racing’s 3-year-old Owendale (45 votes) enters the Classic Rankings in the final week at No. 10. Trained by Brad Cox, Owendale has won the Lexington Stakes (G3), the Ohio Derby (G3) and the Oklahoma Derby (G3) this year. He also finished third in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings Top 10 – Oct. 15, 2019 *  

RankHorseTotal VotesFirst Place VotesPrevious Week
2Code of Honor247102
3Vino Rosso22473
4Yoshida (JPN)15804
5Higher Power12905
6Omaha Beach10006
8Mongolian Groom7209
9Seeking the Soul54010
10Owendale450Not Ranked in Top 10

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