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Knicks Go Makes Final Breeders’ Cup Prep In Lukas Classic; Eleven Line Up For Ack Ack
Knicks Go winning the Whitney (Credit: NYRA)

Knicks Go Makes Final Breeders’ Cup Prep In Lukas Classic; Eleven Line Up For Ack Ack

LOUISVILLE, KY – Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go makes his final prep for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in the $400,000 Lukas Classic Stakes (G3), and a field of 11 line up to go a one-turn mile in the $300,000 Ack Ack Stakes (G3), in the co-features on Churchill Downs’ Saturday card.

The Lukas Classic is carded as the eighth race on Saturday’s 11-race program. First post is 12:45 PM (all times Eastern) and the Lukas Classic – named after Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas – will go at 4:22 PM. The Ack Ack goes as race 10 at 5:26 PM.


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Knicks Go enters the Lukas Classic as the 2/5 morning line favorite and the top-ranked horse in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.

“He’s a horse that puts a lot into his training and he’s done that leading into Saturday’s race,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He’s accomplished a lot this year and we believe the Lukas Classic is a good race to compete in prior to the Breeders’ Cup. This race doesn’t require him to ship and he can run out of his own stall.”

Knicks Go (22-8-3-1 record with $5,368,995 earned) had a strong 1 1/2-mile gallop early Thursday morning prior to schooling in the paddock at 10 AM. The Maryland-bred competed 4 times at Churchill Downs while under the care of trainer Ben Colebrook but has not recorded victory beneath the Twin Spires.

Knicks Go is scheduled to face five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Lukas Classic, including Juddmonte’s multiple graded stakes-winning homebred Tacitus. The gray son of Tapit arrived to trainer Bill Mott’s Churchill Downs base earlier in the week from Saratoga. Saturday’s race will be the first time Tacitus has competed since finishing seventh in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) in February.

The complete field for the Lukas Classic from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds):

  1. New Orleans Classic (G2) winner Chess Chief (James Graham, Dallas Stewart, 20/1)
  2. Knicks Go (Joel Rosario, Cox, 2/5); Tacitus (Jose Lezcano, Mott, 5/2)
  3. Shared Sense (Brian Hernandez Jr., Cox, 15/1)
  4. Independence Hall (Javier Castellano, Michael McCarthy, 10/1)
  5. Sprawl (Joe Talamo, Tommy Drury Jr., 12/1)
Beau Liam (Credit: Coady Photography)
Beau Liam poised to keep unbeaten streak intact in Ack Ack

Stonestreet Stables’ undefeated homebred colt Beau Liam was made the slight 3/1 morning line favorite against 10 rivals in Saturday’s 29th running of the Ack Ack as he attempts to keep his unbeaten streak intact.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Beau Liam (perfect in 3 starts with $171,888 earned) is the least-experienced horse in the Ack Ack with only 3 prior starts. The other 10 rivals in the race have made an average of 17 lifetime starts.

Beau Liam drew post 10 for Saturday’s 1-mile event, his stakes debut. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will be filling in to ride the speedy son of Liam’s Map for regular rider Ricardo Santana Jr., who will ride Gunite in the $500,000 Champagne (G1) at New York’s Belmont Park for Asmussen.

Beau Liam returned to Churchill Downs from Saratoga a week ago and recorded an easy 1/2-mile move Monday in :49.20. He also schooled in the paddock Thursday morning.

Here is the complete field for the Ack Ack (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds):

  1. Exculpatory (Carol Cedeno, Mark Reid, 10/1)
  2. Mo Mosa (Jose Lezcano, Mike Maker, 12/1)
  3. Guest Suite (Emmanuel Esquivel, Cipriano Contreras, 15/1)
  4. Ebben (Francisco Arrieta, Steve Margolis, 15/1)
  5. Mr Dumas (Reylu Gutierrez, John Ortiz, 12/1)
  6. Aloha West (Corey Lanerie, Wayne Catalano, 7/2)
  7. Plainsman (Joel Rosario, Brad Cox, 6/1)
  8. Atoka (Rafael Bejarano, D. Wayne Lukas, 15/1)
  9. South Bend (James Graham, Bill Mott, 12/1)
  10. Beau Liam (Hernandez, Asmussen, 3/1)
  11. Rushie (Javier Castellano, Michael McCarthy, 4/1)

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