The scratch of wire-to-wire Hopeful (G1) winner Mind Control from the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) created an opportunity for Knicks Go, who wasn’t pressured establishing manageable splits of :23.67, :47.59 and 1:12.68. And with BRIS E1 and E2 Pace ratings of 90 and 88, Knicks Go ran faster when chasing the pace in the September 8 Arlington-Washington Futurity (93 and 97 Early Pace numbers), a race in which he weakened to be a well-beaten third.
Knicks Go showed a five-furlong bullet workout at Keeneland in preparation for his two-turn debut and improved significantly upon a pair of non-threatening efforts versus stakes foes while being overlooked at 70-1. After leading by about a length most of the way, the gray colt began to draw off spectacularly nearing the completion of the far turn with Albin Jimenez and he galloped out strongly following the 5 ½-length decision.
By Paynter, who finished a nose second in the 2012 Belmont Stakes, Knicks Go is obviously inheriting stamina from his sire, a son of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, who also produced 2004 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper. Ghostzapper is the broodmare sire of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify.
The top side may translate to distances up to nine furlongs, but Knicks Go possesses an unfashionable pedigree for the Kentucky Derby with a sprint-oriented female family. His dam, the multiple stakes-winning Outlander mare Kosmo’s Buddy, made her last 25 starts at distances of 5 ½ furlongs or less and hailed from a dam by Allen’s Prospect. This is the immediate female family of Sweet Cassiopeia, a multiple sprint stakes winner on dirt and turf who was out of her comfort zone past six furlongs.
Knicks Go registered a moderate 92 BRIS Speed rating and the competition will get stiffer in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The Ben Colebrook trainee won’t get away with an easy lead versus Complexity, who threw down the gauntlet by sprinting clear at the break of the Champagne (G1) and posted a convincing wire-to-wire win.
Signalman was never far back stalking the early pace from his rail post and in the right position to hold second turning for home. With a career-best 86 BRIS Speed rating from three starts, the General Quarters colt will need to find form to challenge in the Juvenile.
Third-placer Standard Deviation traveled wide into the first turn from post 13 and dropped too far back through the opening five furlongs before offering a nice move toward the middle of the track on the far turn, closing ridiculously wide into the stretch with momentum to miss second by less than a length while clear of the rest. The son of Curlin must improve upon an 85 Speed rating but the twice-raced colt still appears to have upside for Chad Brown.