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'Charlie, Knicks Go, Essential Quality Work for Classic

Hot Rod Charlie settled behind horses in Oct. 23 breeze before finishing strongly.

Hot Rod Charlie heads out to train accompanied by Lava Man Oct. 23 at Santa Anita Park

Hot Rod Charlie heads out to train accompanied by Lava Man Oct. 23 at Santa Anita Park

Zoe Metz

Three of the favorites for the $6 million Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 6 at Del Mar recorded their penultimate works Oct. 23 for the 1 1/4-mile race, with Hot Rod Charlie breezing at Santa Anita Park and Knicks Go  and Essential Quality  at Churchill Downs.

Hot Rod Charlie, owned by Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and Bill Strauss, zipped seven furlongs in 1:26 3/5 under regular rider Flavien Prat. Though the 3-year-old son of Oxbow  utilized his speed to win his last start in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing, he breezed Saturday behind horses.

"Today he sat off a workmate, and there were a couple others out there from other barns. So he kind of sat in behind three horses, split 'em turning for home, and finished up good," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He had a taste of what the Classic could look like."

Knicks Go, Medina Spirit, and Art Collector are other horses with speed in the anticipated Classic lineup.

"He galloped out good, and we're feeling good," said O'Neill said of Hot Rod Charlie. "He'll ship Wednesday to Del Mar, where he'll have his final work."

Also breezing Saturday at Santa Anita was Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Idol (Curlin ), a Classic longshot following a comeback sixth in the Oct. 2 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) in his first start since March. The Richard Baltas trainee owned by Calvin Nguyen went six furlongs in 1:14 2/5.

The two horses expected to attract the most wagering support in the Classic, Korea Racing Authority's Knicks Go and Godolphin's Essential Quality, worked hours apart at Churchill Downs for trainer Brad Cox. The former traveled six furlongs in 1:12 2/5, the latter six furlongs in 1:13, while in company. Both horses are leading Horse of the Year candidates.

Cox said Knicks Go's breeze was "as good as he's ever worked."

"I guess really the only thing new we're gonna throw at him is a the mile and a quarter," Cox said, assessing the Classic. "He's able to ship."

Knicks Go (Paynter ) has traveled outside his principal training base of Kentucky to win this summer's Prairie Meadows Cornhusker (G3) and Whitney Stakes (G1). He is now riding a three-race win streak after a home-track victory at Churchill Downs in the Lukas Classic Stakes (G3).

Essential Quality, the most accomplished 3-year-old in the country, also goes for his fourth straight win in the Classic after triumphs in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1), Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), and Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1). Working under the lights early Saturday morning, he settled a length off workmate and older graded stakes winner Night Ops, poked his head in front near the finish line, and galloped out past the wire.

Afterward, Cox marveled out how little energy the Tapit  colt seemed to expend.

"Following the work, he just didn't act like it took much out of him at all," Cox said. "We were hoping to get a blow out of it for him, but I didn't really look like it took much out of him at all. He has a tremendous amount of stamina and fitness, and he's a good horse."

The deadline to pre-enter horses to the Breeders' Cup Classic and other Breeders' Cup races is Oct. 25. Final entries are due the morning of Nov. 1, with post positions drawn later that afternoon. 

A comprehensive list of Saturday workouts from possible Breeders' Cup contenders appears below.

Horse Track Distance Time Division
American Sanctuary Keeneland 4F :48 2/5 Juvenile
Averly Jane Keeneland 5F (Turf) 1:03 2/5 Turf Sprint
Blowout Keeneland 4F (Turf) :50 4/5 Mile
Bubble Rock Belmont Park 4F (Turf) :48.22 Juvenile Fillies Turf
C Z Rocket San Luis Rey 4F :48 4/5 Sprint
Channel Cat Keeneland 5F (Turf) 1:02 1/5 Turf
Charmaine's Mia Santa Anita Park 5F (Training Track) :57 3/5 Turf Sprint
Commander San Luis Rey 4F :50 2/5 Turf Sprint
Corniche Santa Anita Park 5F 1:00 3/5 Juvenile
Domestic Spending Belmont Park 5F (Turf) 1:01.55 Turf
Dr. Schivel Santa Anita Park 5F 1:00 4/5 Sprint
Dunbar Road Keeneland 4F :49 Distaff
Eight Rings Santa Anita Park 5F :58 2/5 Dirt Mile
Essential Quality Churchill Downs 6F 1:13 Classic
Firenze Fire Belmont Park 5F (Training Track) 1:03.69 Sprint
Gamine Santa Anita Park 5F :59 1/5 Filly & Mare Sprint
Giant Game Churchill Downs 4F :48 Juvenile
Ginobili San Luis Rey 6F 1:13 Dirt Mile
Going Global Santa Anita Park 5F (Training Track) :59 1/5 Filly & Mare Turf
Going to Vegas Santa Anita Park 5F (Training Track) 1:00 Filly & Mare Turf
Golden Pal Keeneland 5F (Turf) 1:00 4/5 Turf Sprint
Got Stormy Churchill Downs 4F :48 2/5 Mile
Gufo Belmont Park 4F (Turf) :48.66 Turf
Hot Rod Charlie Santa Anita Park 7F 1:26 3/5 Classic
Idol Santa Anita Park 6F 1:14 2/5 Classic
In Love The Thoroughbred Center 4F :51 Mile
Independence Hall Churchill Downs 5F 1:01 1/5 Dirt Mile
Ivar The Thoroughbred Center 4F :51 Mile
Jack Christopher Belmont Park 5F 1:00.85 Juvenile
Jackie's Warrior Santa Anita Park 5F 1:01 Sprint
Kaufymaker Keeneland 5F (Turf) 1:03 4/5 Juvenile Turf Sprint
Kinchen Belmont Park 5F (Turf) 1:02.25 Juvenile Fillies Turf
Knicks Go Churchill Downs 6F 1:12 2/5 Classic
Lane Way Santa Anita Park 4F :48 2/5 Turf Sprint
Lexitonian Keeneland 5F 1:00 3/5 Sprint
Luck Santa Anita Park 5F (Training Track) 1:01 3/5 Filly & Mare Turf
Makin My Move Belmont Park 4F (Training Track) :49.59 Juvenile Turf Sprint
Mo Forza San Luis Rey 5F 1:01 3/5 Mile
My Sister Nat Belmont Park 5F (Turf) 1:02.02 Filly & Mare Turf
On Deck Santa Anita Park 5F :59 1/5 Filly & Mare Sprint
Oviatt Class Santa Anita Park 5F 1:00 2/5 Juvenile
Pocket Square Belmont Park 5F (Turf) 1:02.02 Filly & Mare Turf
Portfolio Company Belmont Park 5F (Turf) 1:01.40 Juvenile Turf
Rattle N Roll Churchill Downs 4F :48 Juvenile
Ready to Purrform Churchill Downs 5F 1:02 Juvenile Turf
Reina de Mollendo Keeneland 5F (Turf) 1:06 2/5 Filly & Mare Turf
Restrainedvengence Santa Anita Park 4F :48 1/5 Dirt Mile
Rockemperor Belmont Park 4F (Turf) :50 Turf
Royal Flag Belmont Park 4F :48.66 Distaff
Shedaresthedevil Churchill Downs 5F 1:00 3/5 Distaff
Silver State Santa Anita Park 5F 1:00 3/5 Dirt Mile
Slipstream Belmont Park 4F (Turf) :51.14 Juvenile Turf/Juvenile Turf Sprint
Somelikeithotbrown Churchill Downs Trackside 5F 1:00 2/5 Mile
Special Reserve Churchill Downs Trackside 4F :49 1/5 Sprint
Tiz the Bomb Keeneland 5F (Turf) 1:01 4/5 Juvenile Turf
Tribhuvan Belmont Park 5F (Turf) 1:01.55 Turf
Turnerloose Churchill Downs 4F :50 1/5 Juvenile Fillies Turf
Verbal Belmont Park 4F :49.05 Juvenile Turf
Yin Yang Churchill Downs 5F 1:03 1/5 Juvenile Fillies Turf