• The week’s highest Beyer speed figure in North America
111 Knicks Go
Saratoga (August 7): Whitney Stakes G1 $1m, 1m1f, dirt, 4yo+
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Owner: Korea Racing Authority
Pedigree: 5 rg h Paynter – Kosmo’s Buddy (Tapit)
Not much arguing about the recipient of this week’s top BSF, as Knicks Go put himself in line for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with another brilliant effort in the Whitney.
A Beyer of 111 is the second-highest of 2021 – beaten only by his own 113 in last month’s Prairie Meadows romp. Indeed, throw in the 108 from the Pegasus and Knicks Go has the three best figures of the year.
Though the colt has clearly rediscovered his form around two turns after losing his way in Saudi and back in the Met Mile, there will still be questions about his aptitude for an extra furlong in the Classic – even at Del Mar, where the tight track should suit. He is 6-1 favourite with UK bookmakers.
He does appear a need-the-lead type, but what was impressive about the Whitney was that it wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter in the early stages as Swiss Skydiver tried to take him on, only to be thwarted by her rival’s superior speed.
Best Beyers of 2021 ▼
In this respect, it is hardly surprising the resulting BSF was slightly below the Iowa G3 romp, where Knicks Go won by 10+ lengths from overmatched opponents. Here he had nearly five to spare over proper G1 rivals, having burned off Swiss Skydiver and drawn any potential sting elsewhere with a relentless gallop.
“He’s had three races this summer, so he’s been campaigned with more foundation this year, so I just have to think he’s a better horse,” says trainer Brad Cox. “He’s a more accomplished horse and built a nice foundation.”
In some respects, Knicks Go reminds me of the brilliant Ghostzapper, a miler who faced similar stamina questions in 2004 ahead of a Classic at Lone Star Park in which he made all to beat subsequent Dubai World Cup winner Roses In May by three lengths. He’d never run ten furlongs before the Classic either.
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