KNICKS GO TABBED AS G1 WHITNEY FAVORITE
Maryland-bred Knicks Go has been installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Whitney Stakes at Saratoga. The field of five also includes three other Grade 1 winners.
The Whitney is a Breeders’ Cup “Win And You’re In” qualifying event for the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 6 at Del Mar and headlines Saturday’s lucrative 12-race card.
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Riding high off last Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy triumph with Essential Quality, reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox will saddle 6-5 morning-line favorite Knicks Go in attempt to give the 5-year-old son of Paynter his fourth Grade 1 win. Through a record of 21-7-3-1, Knicks Go boasts the highest bankroll in the field with over $4.8 million in lifetime earnings.
Sure to show his usual early speed, Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go captured last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 5 at Keeneland, garnering a 108 Beyer. The gray or roan horse replicated that number in his 2021 bow, capturing the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup on January 23 at Gulfstream Park.
Knicks Go shipped to Saudi Arabia for the Group 1 Saudi Cup on February 20, finishing a distant fourth. When returning stateside, Knicks Go cut back to one mile for the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap where he flaunted frontrunning tactics but finished fourth beaten 3 ¼ lengths by Whitney rival Silver State.
Last out, Knicks Go surged to a 10 ¼-length victory in the Grade 3 Cornhusker on July 2 at Prairie Meadows, registering a career-best 113 Beyer, which is the highest number recorded for an older horse going over one mile in 2021.
“It gave us the confidence to try the Whitney,” Cox said. “The race solidified that the horse needs two turns, which he’ll get in the Whitney. We’re excited about getting him back in the Grade 1 ranks going around two turns.”
Knicks Go has done all his serious Whitney preparation at Ellis Park, including a five-furlong breeze in 59.60 on July 31.
“He’ll break running. We’ll see how far he can take himself around there, hopefully the whole way,” Cox said. “He’s set up for a big effort. He’s been working really well at Ellis.”
Bred in Maryland by Angie Moore, Knicks Go is out of the Outflanker mare Kosmo’s Buddy. He is rated the Top Midlantic-bred thus far in 2021.
Joel Rosario, who guided Frosted to a Whitney victory in 2016, will retain the mount aboard Knicks Go from post 4.
Knicks Go’s rivals include Maxfield (8-5), the Brendan Walsh trainee who’s won seven of eight starts and registered five graded wins; Met Mile winner Silver State (4-1); and 2020 Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver (6-1). The Kenny McPeek-trained filly will attempt to become the first distaffer since Personal Ensign in 1988 to win the Whitney.