Knicks Go
Knicks Go won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland. Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup/CSM.

A new sire joins the Maryland stallion roster, Maryland-bred Knicks Go will be taking on the richest race in the world this weekend, and a chance to take a ride on a racehorse.

Here is the 411 on what racing fans in the Mid-Atlantic region have been talking about on social media over the past week:

Editorial writing a new chapter

Freshman sire Editorial has returned to North America where he will now stand as a stud for Anchor & Hope Farm, which is located in Port Deposit, MD. The seven-year-old son of the renowned sire War Front will stand the 2021 breeding season for a fee of $2,500 for a live foal that stands and nurses.

Previously standing in Peru, Editorial was unable to return to North America for the 2020 breeding season as scheduled when the Covid-19 pandemic forced South America to keep its boarders closed. The stallion shipped back to North America once Peru was opened back up, and Editorial is now settled in his Maryland home after clearing quarantine in late January.

Bred in Kentucky by the Playa Maya Syndicate, Editorial is out of the stakes-placed Arch mare Playa Maya, who was herself a winner. Editorial is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winning millionaire and leading sire Uncle Mo.

Uncle Mo, who stands at Ashford Stud, led his sire class during his first-, second-, and third-crop years. In 2020, the stallion was the third-leading sire in North America by progeny earnings and was the leading sire by number of graded/group stakes winners for the year, which totaled 14.

Editorial’s career on the racetrack was short-lived with only two races, with a win and a second. The Todd Pletcher trainee retired from racing with earnings of $29,160. Editorial will be a part of the Climax Stallions’ Ship and Win program for 2021, where the breeder will be given $500 upon sending their first mare to be bred to Editorial.

Knicks Go vs. the world

The $20 million Saudi Cup is set to take place this Saturday, February 20 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. A full field of 14 elite contenders are lining up to do battle in the world’s richest race, with Maryland-bred Knicks Go crowned as the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Bred in Maryland by Angie and Sabrina Moore, Knicks Go has been on a roll, winning his last four races, including a record-breaking score in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and a scintillating win in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1). The five-year-old son of Paynter boasts a record of six wins from eighteen starts and has banked career earnings of $3,088,995 for owners Korea Racing Authority and trainer Brad Cox.

While Knicks Go appears to be the one to beat in the 1 1/8th mile challenge, there will be other formidable foes sizing him up. Charlatan, a nimble Bob Baffert trainee, enters off a win in the Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes. Gifted with early speed and a similar running style as Knicks Go, Charlatan heads into the Saudi Cup with three wins from four starts.

Other contenders slated to compete in the Saudi Cup include Chuwa Wizard, Bangkok, Great Scot, Max Player, Global Giant, Tacitus, Sleepy Eyes Todd, Military Law, Simsir, Mishriff, Derevo, and Extra Exclusive. Post time for the Saudi Cup will be taking place at 12:40 p.m. EST.

Gonna hitch a ride…

Trainer Bob Baffert’s battalion of good runners includes Eclipse champion filly sprinter Gamine – she of the three victories and two disqualifications in 2020 – and Saudi Cup hopeful Charlatan.

While there’s certainly plenty to unpack here – a trainer who keeps winning major races and awards while admitting that he and his team have to do better after multiple 2020 DQs, a rich race held in a kingdom notorious for its oppression of women and others – what doesn’t need to be unpacked at all is the video shared by World Horse Racing on Twitter.

It shows outrider Faisal Shammari aboard Charlatan as the horse takes a stroll around King Abdulaziz Racecourse ahead of the Saudi Cup. Your chance to be aboard 1,000-plus pounds of top-quality racehorse – enjoy.