Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile scorer Knicks Go sealed back-to-back top-level wins with a dominant display in the fifth running of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
The Brad Cox-trained five-year-old was earlier this week named Top Midlantic-bred of 2020, earning the title after a poll conducted by publications Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and The Racing Biz, and Joel Rosario’s mount made all to justify favouritism in the Grade 1.
Knicks Go, owned by Korea Racing Authority, joined Arrogate, Gun Runner, City Of Light and Mucho Gusto on the race’s honour roll after his two and three-quarter length success over Jesus’ Team.
A Breeders’ Futurity winner at two for trainer Ben Colebrook, Knicks Go joined Cox last year and has gone from strength to strength.
"Great horses do great things, and he did something great today," said Cox. "I'm very proud of him."
"We've had some horses we've claimed who have won stakes races, but I haven't seen anything like this. I wish I could say why it happened, but I don't know what was happening before. He was great at two and looked like a good horse when we got him."
Victory in the Pegasus secured Knicks Go an automatic starting berth for the world’s richest race – the $20m 1m1f Saudi Cup in Riyadh on February 20 – and therefore a potentially stunning showdown with the Bob Baffert-trained Malibu Stakes winner Charlatan.
The $12m 1m2f Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 27 is another top race under consideration for Knicks Go.
"We'll look at the Saudi Cup," said Cox. "It's a lot to ask but we'll let him tell us. I'd say it's a 50-50 situation.
"He can stay further and has a mile-and-a-quarter pedigree. I think a mile-and-a-quarter around two turns is better for him than a mile-and-an-eighth around one turn as he excels on turns."
The other Grade 1 on the card – the Pegasus World Cup Turf – went to the Todd Pletcher-trained Colonel Liam. It was a first Grade 1 for the four-year-old, who prevailed by a neck from stablemate Largent under Irad Ortiz Jr.
Godolphin appear to have a potential homebred star in Prevalence, who wowed the limited crowd on course with a eight-and-a-half length victory on his debut in the 7f maiden for Brendan Walsh and Tyler Gaffalione. Stage Raider, a half brother to Triple Crown star Justify, finished second.