In the days leading up to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, usracing.com will profile the horses in the race set for Jan. 23. The profiles will be updated on Jan. 20 with morning-line odds, post positions and jockeys.
By Ed McNamara
Front-runner made a big splash late in his 2-year-old season, taking the 2018 Breeders’ Futurity at 70-1 odds before running second at 40-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He lost eight in a row and was 2-for-14 lifetime before joining trainer Brad Cox last year and getting back his mojo, going 3-for-3 by an average margin of seven lengths.
He was bet down to 9-5 before dominating the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by 3 1/2 lengths in a Keeneland-record 1:33.85 while being geared down. Cox said he was surprised Knicks Go went off at that low a price, but his bettors couldn’t have been smarter. He’ll be favored in the Pegasus, where the defection of Bob Baffert’s Charlatan left Knicks Go as the controlling speed.
On paper, he looks tough to go against for a trainer who won a record-tying four races on Breeders’ Cup weekend.
Knicks Go ended up in the Dirt Mile following a 10 1/4-length runaway off a 7 1/2-month layoff.
“If I told you when we ran in that allowance race that we were pointing for the Dirt Mile, I’d have been lying to you,” Cox said. “This all happened quick.”
Almost as quick as Knicks Go, who should be very tough to catch in the Pegasus.
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Pegasus World Cup Profile: Knicks Go
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Owner: Korea Racing Authority
Career record: 17-5-3-1
Career earnings: $1,348,995
Top Equibase speed figure: 120
Pedigree: Paynter-Kosmo’s Buddy, by Outflanker
Running style: Front-runner
Notes: Like most people, at first I thought Knicks Go was named by a fan of the NBA’s hapless New York Knicks. Not so. He’s owned by the Korea Racing Authority, and the name is a blend of “K” for Korean and “nicks,” as in nicking patterns for mating horses. So it’s supposed to be pronounced “K-nicks,” but you rarely hear that.
Pegasus World Cup Contenders
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.