How you should bet Knicks Go in the Pegasus World Cup

January 22nd, 2021

Handicapping the fourth edition of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) boils down to a simple question.

Can anyone catch #4 Knicks Go (5-2)?

Eleven challengers will take up the chase in Gulfstream Park's prestigious 1 1/8-mile race, but they’ll be hard-pressed to match strides with Knicks Go.

The gray 5-year-old has always shown speed. He won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) as a 2-year-old, then placed second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). But his 3-year-old season was one of frustration. He went winless in eight start and seemed to have burned out.

But Knicks Go has recaptured his best form — and then some! — since he transferred to the care of trainer Brad Cox.

The son of Paynter went undefeated in three 2020 starts and was particularly breathtaking in two at the end of the season. After he crushed a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Keeneland by 10 1/4 lengths in 1:40.79, Knicks Go delivered an explosive performance over the same track in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). After he carved out blazing splits of :21.98, :44.40, and 1:08.25, he cruised clear with relative ease to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:33.85.

Two starts, two track records.

Maybe Knicks Go is a Keeneland specialist, but I’m more inclined to believe he is a monster. How can you catch a two-turn router who carves out the pace of a sprinter and keeps going? The 110 and 109 Brisnet Speed ratings Knicks Go posted last fall top the Pegasus World Cup field, and the Brisnet E1 and E2 Pace ratings he produced in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (115 and 128) are massive.

Knicks Go has continued to train sharply and cranked out a bullet 5 furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Fair Grounds on Saturday. He is drawn well, in post 4, and should have no difficulty securing the lead (and the rail) with the short run to the first turn.

For all of these reasons, I expect Knicks Go to emulate 2019 Pegasus World Cup winner City of Light and become the second horse to complete the Dirt Mile/Pegasus double.

But what’s the best way to capitalize on this opinion from a wagering standpoint?

I suggest singling Knicks Go in multi-race wagers, including a double with Colonel Liam in the Pegasus World Cup Turf. But single-race exotics, like the trifecta, also offer appeal, particularly if we don’t rely too heavily on other frontrunners, such as decisive Harlan’s Holiday (G3) winner #7 Tax (5-1), who may get burned up by chasing Knicks Go early.

Instead, let’s key #5 Jesus’ Team (8-1) underneath.

The son of Tapiture has tactical speed, but he has been most effective as a deep closer. He rallied to finish third in the Preakness (G1) and second in the Dirt Mile. He enters fresh, off a victory in the 1 1/8-mile Claiming Crown Jewel S. at Gulfstream, and boasts a 3-1-1 record over from six starts over the track, which suggests Jesus’ Team is capable of rounding out the exotics under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

$3 trifecta: 4 with 5 with 6,7,8,10,11 ($15)
$3 trifecta: 4 with 6,7,8,10,11 with 5 ($15)
Total: $30

Good luck!