In what was already expected to be a big week ahead for the Brad Cox barn, Knicks Go kicked it all off in fine style with a wire-to-wire score in the $2,942,000 Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
Breaking alertly under Joel Rosario, the 13-10 favorite went at a honest clip early — :22.90 and :46.16 — while under modest pressure from outsider Last Judgment. Eventually shaking off that rival approaching the far turn, the gray continued to run on cruise control as he passed three-quarters in 1:09.91.
In the stretch, Rosario didn’t have to ask the 5-year-old son of Paynter for much to hold a safe advantage, with only Jesus’ Team and Independence Hall making any headway late. Wrapped up in the final yards, Knicks Go won by a 2 3/4 lengths, covering 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:47.89.
Owned by the Korea Racing Authority, a representative from whom confirmed Knicks Go would continue to race throughout 2021, Knicks Go paid $4.60. Jesus’ Team edged Independence Hall for second by a neck.
The order of finish was rounded out by Sleepy Eyes Todd, Code of Honor, Coastal Defense, Kiss Today Goodbye, Last Judgment, Math Wizard, Tax, Mr Freeze, and Harpers First Ride.
Not only does Knicks Go move on as the pro tem leader among older dirt males in the country, but the Cox-trained Essential Quality and Monomoy Girl will be heavily favored to pick up Eclipse Awards for their 2020 campaigns later this week. Cox, himself, is the likely favorite to win the Eclipse as Outstanding Trainer title for the past season.
The Pegasus World Cup was the longest win of Knicks Go’s career to date, and also his first stakes victory outside Keeneland, where he captured the 2018 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) as well as the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) this past November. The Dirt Mile and World Cup have accounted for two of the four victories Knicks Go has enjoyed in as many starts since transferring to Cox from the barn of Ben Colebrook, who trained him at ages two and three.
Bred in Maryland by Angie Moore, Knicks Go was reared by the multiple stakes-winning Kosmo’s Buddy, by Outflanker. His record now stands at 18-6-3-1, $3,088,995.