In the days leading up to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, usracing.com is publishing profiles of the horses in the race set for Saturday, Jan. 29. The profiles will be updated with morning-line odds and post positions following the draw on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
By Ed McNamara
A thoroughbred’s greatest weapon is early speed, which this flashy front-runner flaunted in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He blew open the race immediately, blasting a quarter-mile in 45 3/5 seconds while daring his overmatched opponents to keep up. Nobody could, and the gray streak was long gone. He had never run 1 1/4 miles before, but it didn’t matter.
Knicks Go coasted by 2 3/4 lengths and locked up the Horse of the Year title. He couldn’t have been more impressive.
“Going the opening quarter in under 46 was maybe a little bit much, but the way he was doing it,” trainer Brad Cox said. “I felt very comfortable that we were in a good spot.”
That was the understatement of 2021, and Knicks Go’s $8.40 win price was the steal of the year. His stablemate Elusive Quality was bet down to 9-5 but finished third after never making a move.
“It’s kind of weird, knowing this is going to be his last run,” Cox said. “It’s going to be bittersweet, but we’re excited.”
The horse with the best chance to upset him is the speedy Life Is Good, who’s a neck from being perfect in five career starts. He’s won twice around two turns but never has tried the Pegasus distance of 1 1/8 miles. Knicks Go is 4-for-5 at 9 furlongs, including a 2 3/4-length romp in the Pegasus.
“He’s delivered in a big way over the last two years,” Cox said. “And hopefully it will be icing on the cake in the Pegasus.”
Betting advice: If you don’t mind betting a lot to win a little, play Knicks Go to win only. Not much value, but if he’s himself, not much risk, either.
Post position: 1
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Brad Cox
Owner: Korea Racing Authority
Career record: 24-10-3-1
Career earnings: $8,673,135
Top Equibase speed figure: 118
Pedigree: Paynter-Kosmo’s Buddy, by Outflanker
Running style: Front-runner
Notes: Knicks Go turned in a 5-furlong work in 1:00.40 at the Fair Grounds on Sunday (Jan. 23) with exercise rider Edvin Vargas aboard – his final of eight workouts since winning the BC Classic on Nov. 6. It was the fastest of 57 at the distance. Said Cox: “He breezed good and we’re really happy with him.” … All but one of Knicks Go’s 10 wins was around two turns … His 5-for-7 season and Elusive Quality’s victories in the Belmont Stakes and the Travers make Cox the favorite to repeat as the Eclipse Award winner. Knicks Go’s rider, Joel Rosario, is expected to get his first Eclipse … The name Knicks Go has nothing to do with the NBA team. K-Nicks is a breeding program used by the horse’s owner, the Korea Racing Authority.
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.