Enjoy Knicks Go while you can. Savor every start of his 5-year-old campaign, while you understand you’re watching horseracing’s star attraction of 2021.
Knicks Go brought this lesson home in gate-to-wire fashion, winning the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Saturday afternoon. It’s certainly understandable if Knicks Go’s victory was nothing but a blur, because that’s exactly how he won his fourth consecutive race.
Knicks Go clocked sizzling fractions of 22.9 for the first quarter-mile, 46.16 for the half-mile, 1:09.91 for three-quarters, and 1:34.92 for the mile. Fractions so fast, they gave trainer Brad Cox cause for pause. That is, until Knicks Go crossed the wire 2-¾ lengths in front of the ever-present, ever-plucky Jesus’ Team.
The same Jesus’ Team who finished 3-½ lengths behind Knicks Go 11 weeks ago in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Knicks Go Proved His Speed Translates to Nine Furlongs
“When a horse is up front and they’re going that quick, you’re always a little bit concerned,” Cox told Gulfstream Park after the race. “Joel (Rosario), he has a lot of confidence in the horse and the horse has confidence in him, so it worked out great.”
Since Knicks Go moved to Cox’s barn from Ben Colebrook’s in early 2020, things have worked out great for the horse, jockey, and most of all, the trainer. Knicks Go won his four races under Cox by a combined 24 lengths. In his last two races — both Grade 1s — Knicks Go proved he can maintain his blazing speed over increased distances.
That was the only question surrounding the 5-year-old son of Paynter. Knicks Go came into the 1-1/8-mile Pegasus without any race longer than 1-1/16 miles on his resume. There are no further questions about Knicks Go’s distance capabilities. Not after clocking his second consecutive 108 Beyer Speed Figure in a Grade 1.
“He is one of the top handicap horses in the country now,” Cox said. “He’s a top horse. This is what you get up for every day, seven days a week, long days for moments like this.”
Saudi Arabia Awaits — Unless it Doesn’t
As for Knicks Go’s next moment to savor, Cox said he’ll decide what that may be in the next two weeks or so. With his Pegasus win, Knicks Go earned a spot in the $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 20.
Cox said he’ll take Knicks Go back to his Fair Grounds barn and see how he responds coming out of the Pegasus. After giving his prize charge a 10-day review, Cox will decide whether to make the long trek to Saudi Arabia.
Should Cox and his owners make that trek, horseracing gets a good one: Knicks Go vs. Bob Baffert’s Charlatan, who passed on the Pegasus. Two speed horses at the top of their games. Regardless of whether he runs in Saudi Arabia or not, Knicks Go’s Korea Racing Authority owners said he will race through 2021.
Jesus’ Team, Independence Hall Provide Nice Exotic Payoffs
As we said, enjoy Knicks Go while you can.
Knicks Go paid $4.60 going off as the 6/5 favorite. Jesus’ Team hit the board at 11/1, completing a $43 payoff for a $2 exacta ticket. Independence Hall finished a neck behind Jesus’ Team, completing the trifecta at 27/1. That 50-cent trifecta paid $175.05.