2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders: Knicks Go

2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic Entries

In the days leading up to the 38th Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in California, usracing.com is publishing profile on the horses in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Saturday, Nov. 6). The profiles will be updated following the post-position draw on Monday, Nov. 1.

By Ed McNamara

He’s been alone on the lead in seven of his last nine wins, with an average margin of more than six lengths. All the victories were around two turns, and both losses (fourth in the Saudi Cup and Met Mile) were around one turn.

Knicks Go at the Whitney Stakes -Photo Courtesy of Dom Napolitano

If the Classic were run at 1 1/8 miles, Knicks Go would look almost unbeatable, but it’s 1 1/4 miles, a distance he never has tried. Trainer Brad Cox thinks he can get the extra furlong but admits it puts the gray streak in the gray area.

“I guess there’s always a little bit of a concern,” Cox said. “But I’ve always been a big believer that if you have a tremendous amount of speed like he has and you clear off and get a breather, a mile and an eighth and beyond is a good thing. Speed on the dirt is incredibly dangerous.”

Knicks Go’s 6-furlong work in 1:12.40 on Oct. 23 at Churchill Downs boosted Cox’s confidence. “It was very good, as good as he’s ever worked,” he said.

Another major plus is rider Joel Rosario, who has lived in the winner’s circle the past two months. He has the rare combination of soft hands and bullish strength, and if anyone can help Knicks Go get the extra 220 yards, it’s Rosario.

“Joel fits him very well,” Cox said. “Speed is Knicks Go’s weapon, and he can run the other horses off their feet. I know it’s the toughest race he’s ever run in, and the deepest competition, but I think we’ve done as much as we can with him to get him ready to go a mile and a quarter.”

Breeders’ Cup Classic Profile: Knicks Go

Post position: TBD

Odds: TBD

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Brad Cox

Owner: Korea Racing Authority

Career record: 23-9-3-1

Career earnings: $5,553,135

Top Equibase speed figure: 118

Pedigree: Paynter-Kosmo’s Buddy, by Outflanker

Color: Gray/roan

Running style: Front-runner

Betting advice: Play him to win only, because he either runs away and hides or tires and finishes out of the money (Saudi Cup, Met Mile). Odds will be short, but if you think he can get clear and handle 1 1/4 miles, send it in.

Notes: Cox’s four Cup victories last year helped win his first Eclipse Award. Besides the Dirt Mile, he took the Juvenile (Essential Quality), Juvenile Fillies Turf (Aunt Pearl) and Distaff (Monomoy Girl) … Rosario, 36, is considered the best jockey never to have won an Eclipse. He and three-time defending champ Irad Ortiz, Jr. are co-favorites this year. Rosario has nine Breeders’ Cup wins, including the 2018 Classic on Accelerate … The name Knicks Go has nothing to do with the NBA team. K-Nicks is a breeding program used by his owner, the Korea Racing Authority.