LEXINGTON, KY – San Diego Handicap (G2) winner Maximum Security and Tom’s d’Etat, third in the Whitney Stakes (G1), are tied for first place with 281 votes in the 2020 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly poll of the top 10 horses in contention for the $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington on November 7.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings are determined by a panel of leading Thoroughbred racing media (including Racing Dudes’ Aaron Halterman and Jared Welch), horseplayers, and members of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel. Rankings will be announced each week through October 13. A list of voting members can be found here.
In the Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, each voter rates horses on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system in descending order.
Owned by Gary and Mary West, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, the 4-year-old Maximum Security moved up from second place last week to tie for the top spot. A winner in his first start for trainer Bob Baffert in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 25, Maximum Security is being pointed to the “Win and You’re In” TVG Pacific Classic (G1) on August 22, which will give the winner an automatic berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Tom’s d’Etat, owned by Gayle Benson’s GMB Racing, had been alone atop the Classic Rankings for the first two weeks. A 7-year-old bay son of Smart Strike, trained by Al Stall Jr., Tom’s d’Etat had won four consecutive races, including the “Win and You’re In” Stephen Foster (G2) prior to the Whitney at Saratoga, but stumbled at the start and could not overcome breaking last from the gate on Saturday, and wound up third.
The big mover in the rankings this week is the Whitney winner, Improbable (243 votes), who jumped from ninth to third place in the poll. Owned by WinStar Farm, CHC Inc. and SF Racing, Improbable is also trained by Baffert. The 4-year-old chestnut son of City Zip earned a “Win and You’re In” automatic starting position into the Breeders’ Cup Classic following his 2-length victory in the Whitney under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. The win was Improbable’s second Grade 1 triumph this year after taking the Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 6.
Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tiz the Law (208 votes), one of two 3-year-olds in the top 10, remains in fourth place. Unbeaten in three starts this year, the Sackatoga Stable’s star, trained by Barclay Tagg, is scheduled to start in this Saturday’s Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
Allied Racing Stable’s By My Standards (144 votes), second in the Whitney, moves up two spots to fifth place. Trained by Bret Calhoun, By My Standards won the New Orleans Handicap (G2) and the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) before finishing second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Stephen Foster.
W.S. Farish’s 4-year-old Code of Honor (117 votes) drops from third to sixth this week after finishing a non-threatening fourth as the 5/2 second choice in the Whitney.
Bloom Racing, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s 5-year-old mare Midnight Bisou (95 votes) was upset by Vexatious in Saratoga’s Personal Ensign (G1) on Saturday, losing by a neck as the odds-on favorite. The Steve Asmussen-trained dark bay daughter of two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Midnight Lute falls two spots to No. 7.
Juddmonte Farms’ 4-year-old Tacitus (93 votes) retains eighth place in the Classic Rankings for the third consecutive week. Trained by Bill Mott, Tacitus rolled to an 8 3/4-length victory in the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on July 4. He is expected to run next in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga on September 5.
The 4-year-old Vekoma, trained by George Weaver, moves up one spot to ninth place this week. Owned by R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables, Vekoma is unbeaten in three starts this year, including two wins in Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races: the Runhappy Carter Handicap (G1), for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), and the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1), for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Rounding out the top 10 is a new shooter in Bruce Lunsford’s 3-year-old Art Collector. Unbeaten in three start this year, including the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland on July 11, Art Collector is expected to start in Sunday’s Ellis Park Derby for trainer Tom Drury Jr.
C R K Stable’s 3-year-old Honor A. P., second in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, dropped from sixth to 11th place.