LEXINGTON, KY – GMB Racing’s 7-year-old Tom’s d’Etat, winner of the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2), leads the first week of tabulated votes for the 2020 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly rating of the top 10 horses in contention for the $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) 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.
Tom’s d’Etat, a Kentucky-bred son of Smart Strike, trained by Al Stall Jr., topped all Classic contenders this week with 292 votes. Earning a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic with his runaway 4 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster on June 27 at Churchill Downs, Tom’s d’Etat scored his second triumph of 2020, following a win in the Oaklawn Mile Stakes on April 11.
Gary and Mary West, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor. and Derrick Smith’s 4-year-old Maximum Security (243 votes) is in second place. Now trained by Bob Baffert, Maximum Security won the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup in February. A bay son of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year’s Day, Maximum Security was the 2019 3-year-old Male Eclipse Award winner. Maximum Security is expected to start in this Saturday’s San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar. Baffert won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in consecutive years with Bayern (2014), American Pharoah (2015), and Arrogate (2016).
Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law (210 votes) is one of two 3-year-olds in the top 10. Ranked third, Tiz the Law is unbeaten in three starts this year, taking the Holy Bull (G3), the Florida Derby (G1), and the 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 20. Trainer Barclay Tagg has pointed the New York-bred son of Constitution to the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on August 8.
W. S. Farish’s 4-year-old Code of Honor is ranked fourth with 200 votes. Winner of the Westchester Stakes (G3) and a third-place finisher in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1), Code of Honor won both the Travers Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) before finishing seventh in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic for trainer Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey.
Garnering the fifth-most votes in the poll is Bloom Racing, Madaket Stables, and Allen Racing’s 5-year-old mare Midnight Bisou. The Steve Asmussen-trained dark bay daughter of Midnight Lute stormed from the back of the pack against male rivals in the Saudi Cup in January and finished second, just 3/4 of a length behind Maximum Security at the wire. Midnight Bisou (174 votes) continued her solid form in her return to the races last month, dominating the Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs, for fillies and mares, romping to an 8 1/4-length victory.
C R K Stable’s Honor A. P. is the second 3-year-old in the top 10 of this week’s rankings, taking the sixth position. Trained by John Shirrreffs, who saddled Zenyatta to victory in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Honor A. P. (125 votes) won the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) on June 6.
Allied Racing Stable’s By My Standards (122 votes) is next in seventh place. By My Standards has won two Grade 2 stakes this year for trainer Bret Calhoun. The 4-year-old bay son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Goldencents registered victories in the New Orleans Handicap and the Oaklawn Handicap before finishing second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Stephen Foster.
Juddmonte Farms’ 4-year-old Tacitus (92 votes), in eighth place, ended a long winless drought in his last start, rolling to a 8 3/4-length victory in the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on July 4. His trainer, Bill Mott, has saddled Breeders’ Cup Classic winners Cigar (1995) and Drosselmeyer (2011).
R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stable’s 4-year-old Vekoma is next in ninth place with 83 votes. Trained by George Weaver, Vekoma is unbeaten in three starts this year, two of those being Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races at shorter distances. The chestnut son of Candy Ride won both 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 the 4-year-old Improbable (82 votes), owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, and SF Racing. Trained by Bob Baffert, Improbable won the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita on June 6.