Knicks Go picked a good time to win his fourth career Grade 1 race, using last Saturday’s Whitney Stakes victory to claim the top spot among American horses in the latest edition of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for 2021.

Adayar-Longines WBR Rankings
Adayar’s Epsom Derby prance and his victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes skipped him to a share of the top spot in the latest Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. (Image: Reuters)

In the rankings compiled by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), Knicks Go and his 124 rating claim the top spot among North American horses. He’s one of two US horses in the top 10; Mystic Guide is the other. The Dubai World Cup champion, who underwent surgery for a knee chip last month and faces a questionable racing future, is tied for seventh with three others at 122.

The IFHA handicappers compiled the latest list using races run between Jan 1, 2021 and Aug. 8, 2021. They rank the horses based on performance in elite races during that time period. The IFHA employs a horse’s achievements against his peers and the quality those peers provide in terms of competitiveness.

The Longines list is usually dominated by European horses and this latest edition is no exception. Sharing the top spots are Irish-bred Adayar and French-bred St Mark’s Basilica. Both check in at 127, with Adayar running his way into the top spot with impressive victories in the Epsom Derby at 16/1 and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Despite losses, Mishriff holds up well in the rankings

His 1 ¾-length victory over Mishriff in the King George vaulted Adayar’s rating from 121 to 127. St Mark’s Basilica earned his 127 rating beating Addeybb and Mishriff in the Eclipse Stakes in early July.

As for Mishriff, all that running in elite company boosted his Longines rating from 122 to 124. The Saudi Cup winner shares that spot with Knicks Go and Australian sprinter Nature Strip. Knicks Go’s 4 ½-length Whitney victory came after his 10 ¼-length destruction of the Cornhusker Handicap. That race didn’t impress the IFHA handicappers nearly as much, considering the weak field Knicks Go destroyed.

Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings-Jan. 1-Aug. 8

Rank Horse (bred) Rating Country Trained
1 Adayar (IRE) 127 GB
1 St Mark’s Basilica (FR) 127 IRE
3 Palace Pier (GB) 125 GB
4 Knicks Go (USA) 124 USA
4 Mishriff (IRE) 124 GB
4 Nature Strip (AUS) 124 AUS
7 Domestic Spending (GB) 122 USA
7 Mystic Guide (USA) 122 USA
7 Poetic Flair (IRE) 122 IRE
7 Subjectivist (GB) 122 GB

Mystic Guide sits among four horses at 122, keeping Longines company with English-breds Domestic Spending and Subjectivist, and Irish-bred Poetic Flair. Now running in America for Chad Brown, Domestic Spending won his last four races, a streak dating to August 2020. That streak includes three Grade 1s with wins at the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar, the Turf Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs, and the Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park.

He brings a 6-for-7 career record into Arlington Park for Saturday’s Grade 1 Mr. D Stakes.