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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go was strong as ever in his victory in Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Knicks Go broke alertly from post 4 under Joel Rosario as the 6/5 favorite and went straight to the lead, where he posted opening fractions of :22.90, :46.16, and 1:09.91 while Last Judgment kept close watch.
The field began to bunch heading into the far turn, but Rosario sensed the pressure and let out a notch on Knicks Go, who separated from the pack relatively quickly.
Straightening for home in complete control, the Brad Cox trainee powered away to a -length score, completing the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:47.89.
“He’s a very special horse,” Rosario said. “He just goes faster and faster. … He was really enjoying what he was doing out there so I was never worried about somebody getting close to me.”
Jesus’ Team fought hard in the stretch to neck out Independence Hall for second.
“I am very proud of Jesus, he’s a great horse,” said trainer Jose D’Angelo. “Today, he didn’t have the luck to win because Knicks Go ran again along in front. I am very soon that Jesus will be on the top in big races. I feel proud of him.”
A large gap back, Sleepy Eyes Todd crossed 3/4 of a length in front of Code of Honor and Coastal Defense for fourth.
Kiss Today Goodbye, Last Judgment, Math Wizard, Tax, Mr Freeze, and Harpers First Ride completed the order of finish.
Knicks Go’s win was his fourth straight (all since he transferred to the Cox barn in late 2019/early 2020) including the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last time out. The Maryland-bred 5-year-old son of Paynter, purchased as a yearling for $87,000 improved his record to 18-6-3-1 with $3,088,995 earned.
“He is one of the top handicap horses in the country now,” Cox said. “He’s a top horse. This is what you get up for every day, seven days a week, long days: for moments like this. I’m very proud of the horse and my team and thank the Korea Racing Authority for the opportunity with this horse.”
Knicks Go returned $4.60 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3 to show. Jesus’ Team brought back $8.60 to place and $4.80 to show, while Independence Hall paid $10 to show.
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