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How many 2021 Breeders’ Cup winners did we see last weekend? No, really, I’m actually asking, because I think the number is high. Whether the intense racing action was taking place at Belmont Park in New York, Churchill Downs in Kentucky, or Santa Anita Park in California, horse racing fans were treated to 3 days’ worth of superstar performances across the country.
Narrowing this list down was ultra-tough, but here’s who we felt deserved to be named the latest Racing Dudes Three Stars of the Week:
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On a day that saw serious contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) win at Belmont and Santa Anita, it was the Lukas Classic (G3) winner Knicks Go who caught our eye the most this weekend. As he does every race, Knicks Go went straight to the lead and set a somewhat pressured early pace but still won by a landslide while looking like he was out for a Sunday drive. Yes, Medina Spirit (Awesome Again [G1]) and Art Collector (Woodward [G1]) gave solid accounts of themselves, but Knicks Go’s win was about as effortless as it gets. He’ll be the Classic favorite for sure.
Nothing like defeating a pair of Grade 1 winners in your second start after almost a year away; that’s just another day if your name is Mo Forza, who on Saturday successfully defended his title in the City of Hope Mile Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. The Peter Miller trainee tested positive for phenylbutazone in June when he was on the rehab trail at San Luis Rey Downs, a result that cost Miller $1,500, and will head to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) with a strong chance to win a race he could’ve been favored to take last year, had injuries not sidelined him for several months.
Sunday was for the girls at Belmont, where Echo Zulu extended her undefeated streak to 3 in as many starts as the daughter of red-hot sire Gun Runner made every step a winning one in the Frizette Stakes (G1). While her pedigree suggests that routing might not be her best game long-term, she also looks like she might be fast enough that it doesn’t matter in the two-turn Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) next month. She could be a standout at the World Championships.
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