Knicks Go wrapped up his 2021 campaign in fantastic style in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), going gate-to-wire for a 2 ¾-length victory in the 1 ¼-mile race.
This was the final race for the 5-year-old, who is scheduled to begin stud duty at Taylor Made next year. He went out in spectacular fashion, earning his fifth career Grade 1 win, with seven graded stakes wins overall, and $8,673,135 in earnings.
Knicks Go was facing several other horses with considerable early turn of foot in the Classic, but he outsprinted them all coming out of the gate to get the first half-mile in a comfortable :23.16, with Art Collector a length behind him.
Knicks Go widened his lead to two lengths over Art Collector after six furlongs in 1:10.04. Around the final bend, Hot Rod Charlie made a move to get within a half-length of the lead along the fence, with Medina Spirit to the outside. Knicks Go, making his first start at the Classic distance, proved up to the task as he powered away from his challengers. Medina Spirit picked up second late as Knicks Go stopped the timer in 1:59.57, the fifth-fastest time in the 38-year history of the race.
“We had a beautiful trip,” winning rider Joel Rosario said. “He does exactly what he wants to do. I tried to save as much as I could, because we had a mile and one quarter to go. But he was going easy. At the quarter pole, he just took off again. He’s just an amazing horse.”
Owned by the Korean Racing Authority, Knicks Go also won the Whitney S. (G1) and Pegasus World Cup (G1) in 2021, the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland as a 2-year-old.
“He’s built for American racing on the dirt,” trainer Brad Cox said of Knicks Go. “That’s what he’s done and I’m hopeful that he’ll pass that on to his offspring. I think he’s got everything it takes to be a stallion. He’s a Grade I winner at two–obviously Ben Colebrook (Knicks Go’s trainer at two and three) was responsible for that, he did a great job with him. He was a Grade I winner at four and five. He’s traveled around the world and he’s a very tough, durable horse. He’s extremely sound. And I think we’re in a day and age where horses go to stud so early and he’s a little bit of a throwback horse in that he’s raced at four and five and raced as much as he has. So very proud of what he has accomplished and hopefully he’ll pass it on as a stallion.”
Taylor Made will announce a fee for Knicks Go in the near future.