July 18, 2024

Knicks Go, Code of Honor highlight 12-horse Pegasus World Cup

Knicks Go
Knicks Go wins the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Coady Photography)

Pegasus World Cup — Race 12 (5:44 p.m. ET)

Multiple Grade 1 winners Knicks Go and Code of Honor are top draws in Saturday’s fifth running of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

A smashing 3 1/2-length scorer in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), Knicks Go has posted three straight convincing wins since being transferred to Brad Cox last year. The 5-year-old gray horse has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the 12-horse field, and Joel Rosario retains the mount on the front-running son of Paynter.

Code of Honor, winner of the Travers S. (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in 2019, comes next on the morning line at 9-2. After opening 2020 with a victory in the Westchester (G3), the chestnut 5-year-old wasn’t a serious factor in his next three starts, but Code of Honors exits a rallying second in the Nov. 27 Clark S. (G1) at Churchill Downs. Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount for Shug McGaughey.

Tax stamped himself as a contender when returning from a seven-month layoff with a 4 1/2-length triumph in the Dec. 12 Harlan’s Holiday S. (G3) at Gulfstream. That marked his third graded stakes victory, and the Danny Gargan-trained gelding posted a career-best 105 Brisnet Speed rating. Tax is listed as the 5-1 third choice with Luis Saez.

Sleepy Eyes Todd enters in good form for Miguel Silva, notching his third win in four starts when posting a half-length decision in the Dec. 19 Mr. Prospector (G3). That win came at 7 furlongs, but the 5-year-old gray has proved versatile, winning the 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic (G2) by 7 1/2 lengths in late August. Sleepy Eyes Todd, the early 8-1 fourth choice, is eligible to receive a ground-saving trip from the rail post with Jose Ortiz.

Harpers Last Ride and Kiss Today Goodbye are both 10-1 on the morning line. Pimlico Special (G3) victor Harpers Last Ride invades from Maryland with a two-race win streak, winning the Native Dancer S. and Richard W. Small S. at Laurel Park by open lengths. California-based Kiss Today Goodbye has won two straight for Eric Kruljac, most recently posting a 15-1 upset in the Dec. 26 San Antonio S. (G2) at Santa Anita.

Dale Romans has Mr. Freeze and Coastal Defense in the mix. Multiple Grade 2 winner Mr. Freeze has shown an affinity for the oval, winning the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) and finishing second in the Pegasus last year, but the 6-year-old must rebound following a couple of unplaced efforts.

Coastal Defense is an intriguing longshot (15-1 morning line) in his third career stakes attempt. Unraced until last February, the $800,000 son of Curlin finished fourth in the Fayette S. (G2) and Clark when stepping up to face stakes foes in the fall. The late-bloomer is eligible to keep moving forward at age 5.

Jesus’ Team, second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile two back, tuned up for the Pegasus with a victory in the Dec. 5 Claiming Crown Jewel S. Last Judgment wheels right back on seven days rest after taking the Sunshine Classic S. for Florida-breds. Independence Hall and Math Wizard complete the field.