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No doubt about it, the Brad Cox-trained Knicks Go bounced back in a major way over the weekend and reestablished himself as an older dirt male threat. Along with a major upset in another important stakes, the conversation for top older dirt male just got a lot more interesting. Here’s who made our latest Three Stars of the Week:
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The record-setting Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) champion and easy-as-he-pleased Pegasus World Cup (G1) victor Knicks Go regained his winning ways Friday at of all places, Prairie Meadows in Iowa when he was a 10 1/4-length dominating winner of the Cornhusker Handicap (G3). Though the class level he faced was the easiest he’d seen in a year, it also signaled that he looks back to his normal ultra-impressive self after he lost the Saudi Cup and the Met Mile (G1), both one-turn events. As long as he stays running around two turns, this might be the best dirt horse in America.
Though the conversation entering Saturday’s Suburban Stakes (G2) was the American racing return of Mystic Guide rematching with Happy Saver (who defeated Mystic Guide in last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup [G1]), the Steve Asmussen-trained Max Player grinded his way past Mystic Guide to post the upset over a sloppy 1 1/4-mile main track. With Happy Saver finishing third, the trio are off on different paths that all lead back to another showdown November in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
After finding it too tough to keep routing against older females out west, Ce Ce shipped to Gulfstream Park and cut back to sprinting with tremendous success, winning Saturday’s Princess Rooney Stakes (G2) in dominating fashion. The Michael McCarthy trainee punched her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), held this year at Del Mar. It will be interesting to see how she performs that day because McCarthy said the reason for her going to Florida was due to her dislike of the California dirt tracks’ deeper and looser conditions.
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