July 17, 2024

Knicks Go, Life Is Good square off in nine-horse Pegasus

Knicks Go with Joel Rosario riding wins the Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

Before heading to stud, Knicks Go will make a title defense in Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park. The presumptive Horse of the Year must defeat a talented up-and-comer, Life Is Good, to go out a winner.

Knicks Go has been installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite among nine runners, and once-beaten Life Is Good is the 7-5 second choice in the 1 1/8-mile race. Intrigue was added to the anticipated matchup when Knicks Go drew inside of the speedy Life Is Good.

A smashing wire-to-wire winner of the Pegasus 12 months ago, Knicks Go exits a similar tour-de-force performance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar. The five-year-old son of Paynter will bring a four-race win streak to the Pegasus, and since being transferred to Brad Cox prior to the 2020 season, Knicks Go has never lost at a two-turn distance, leading wire to wire every time.

An earner of more than $7.1 million, the Maryland-bred gray will show speed from the innermost post position with regular rider Joel Rosario.

Life Is Good wasn’t ready for this year’s Classic, but similar to Knicks Go in 2020, the talented colt made short work of rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), winning easily by 5 3/4 lengths. His connections have much bigger goals this year.

A leading Kentucky Derby contender before being sidelined after an eight-length victory in the San Felipe (G2) last March, Life Is Good was transferred to Todd Pletcher during the interim. He returned in late August, and the Into Mischief colt has never been headed in the early stages of six career starts. With Irad Ortiz Jr. up, Life Is Good may try to beat Knicks Go to the lead from post 4.

The opening furlongs of the Pegasus promise to be fascinating.

Grade 2 winner Chess Chief, a game scorer in the Dec. 26 Tenacious S. at Fair Grounds, comes next on the morning line at 10-1. Grade 1 upsetter Sir Winston, last seen taking the Dec. 5 Valedictory S. (G3) at Woodbine, has been pegged at 12-1.

Commandeer, Empty Tomb, Endorsed, Stilleto Boy, and Title Ready complete the field.