Top Brisnet Speed stakes performances of 2021

Profile Picture: James Scully

December 20th, 2021

From a visual perspective, flashy stakes performances are easy to identify. Brisnet Speed ratings determine whether they were fast.

Essential Quality’s rallying win in the Belmont S. (G1) and Knicks Go’s frontrunning mastery in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) met both criteria, tour-do-force efforts that came back among the fastest stakes races of 2021.

Let’s take a look at the top 11 Brisnet Speed Ratings for 2021 stakes races.

Horse  Name


Speed Rating


Empire Classic H.



Cougar II S. (G3)



Breeders' Cup Turf (G1)



Sword Dancer S. (G1)


Bella Sofia

Gallant Bloom H. (G2)


Essential Quality

Belmont S. (G1)


Knicks Go

Breeders' Cup Classic (G1)


Knicks Go

Cornhusker H. (G3)


Art Collector

Woodward S. (G1)


Hot Rod Charlie

Pennsylvania Derby (G1)


Mischevious Alex

Carter H. (G1)



1 – AMERICANREVOLUTION, 118, Oct. 30 Empire Classic H. at Belmont Park: In a stirring breakout performance, Americanrevolution rallied to defeat older statebred rivals by a widening 11 3/4-length margin in the slop with Luis Saez. The three-year-old colt stamped himself as one to watch for Todd Pletcher in the 1 1/8-mile race, registering his third stakes win over New York-bred foes, and Americanrevolution carried his improving form forward when capturing the Dec. 4 Cigar Mile H. (G1) in his next outing.

2 – TIZAMAGICIAN, 115, July 18 Cougar II S. (G3) at Del Mar: After dueling on the early lead, Tizamagician drew off smartly to a 2 1/4-length score as the odds-on favorite in the 1 1/2-mile event. Richard Mandella trains the four-year-old colt, who notched his second graded stakes win.

2(t) – YIBIR, 115, Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar: Launching a wide move off the far turn, Yibir closed powerfully to overhaul Broome in deep stretch, establishing a new course record in the 1 1/2-mile test (2:25.90). He also provided trainer Charlie Appleby, jockey William Buick, and sire Dubawi with a three-win Breeders’ Cup. The half-length decision marked the second consecutive U.S. stakes triumph for the English-based gelding, who was exiting a victory over three-year-old rivals in the $1 million Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park.

4 – GUFO, 112, Aug. 28 Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga: Advancing to the lead by upper stretch, Gufo dug in gamely to deny a classy international challenger by a neck. The four-year-old colt recorded his second Grade 1 win, and surpassed $1 million in earnings, and Joel Rosario guided the late runner for Christophe Clement.

5 – BELLA SOFIA, 111, Sept. 26 Gallant Bloom H. (G2) at Belmont Park: A late-blooming three-year-old filly, Bella Sofia cruised to her second straight convincing graded stakes tally, easily leading wire-to-wire. She looks like a major player in the 2022 filly and mare sprint ranks for Rudy Rodriguez.

5(t): ESSENTIAL QUALITY, 111, June 5 Belmont S. (G1) at Belmont Park: A signature performance for the classy gray colt, Essential Quality powerfully ran down Hot Rod Charlie to win going away in the final leg of the Triple Crown. The Brad Cox pupil rebounded from his first career setback, a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and Essential Quality recorded the second-fastest running (2:27.11) of the 1 1/2-mile classic in the last 20 years.

5(t) – KNICKS GO, 111, Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar: Capping a probable Horse of the Year campaign, Knicks Go sped to a clear lead at the break and dominated wire to wire with Joel Rosario. The five-year-old, who led all the way in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland, logged his fifth stakes win from seven starts this year.

5(t) – KNICKS GO, 111, July 2 Cornhusker H. (G3) at Prairie Meadows: Dropping down to a Grade 3 race in Iowa following back-to-back losses, Knicks Go stylishly rebounded by 10 1/4 lengths for Brad Cox. The gray horse used the smashing performance as the catalyst, winning his next three starts to likely earn Horse of the Year honors, and Knicks Go will enter stud at Taylor Made after making a title defense in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in late January.

9 – ART COLLECTOR, 110, Oct. 2 Woodward (G1) at Belmont Park: Reeling off his third consecutive stakes win since being transferred to Bill Mott, Art Collector was never seriously threatened leading wire to wire in the prestigious event for older horses. The four-year-old colt picked up his first Grade 1, and all five of his stakes wins have come at 1 1/8 miles.

9(t) – HOT ROD CHARLIE, 110, Sept. 25 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx: After being disqualified in the Haskell (G1), Hot Rod Charlie recorded his first Grade 1 success in a dominant manner, rolling to a 2 1/4-length, wire-to-wire decision. His best performances came on the front end, and the Doug O’Neill-trained colt will remain in training at age four.

9(t) – MISCHEVIOUS ALEX, 110, April 3 Carter H. (G1) at Aqueduct: Making short work of his opponents. Mischevious Alex drew off to a 5 1/2-length score. The four-year-old didn’t carry his form forward after opening the year with three consecutive impressive sprint wins.