(Knicks Go / Coady Photography)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go raced to the lead shortly after the start and romped to a 3 ½-length victory over Jesus’ Team in the 14th running of the $1 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Joel Rosario, Knicks Go covered the mile on the fast track in 1:33.85 to break the track record of 1:34.54 established by Liam’s Map in winning this race in 2015. Knicks Go had established the track record for the 1 1/16 miles in a victory Oct. 4.
The victory was the third of the 2020 Championships for Cox and the second for Rosario. Overall, Cox has six Breeders’ Cup victories and his first in the Dirt Mile. Rosario has 12 Breeders’ Cup victories and two in the Dirt Mile having scored in 2010 at Churchill Downs on Dakota Phone.
Knicks Go raced unchallenged on the lead and at the top of the short stretch widened his advantage and had more than enough to fend off all challengers. Jesus’ Team rallied for second, grabbing the second spot by a nose over Sharp Samurai.
The victory is the second Grade 1 triumph at Keeneland for Knicks Go who won the Breeders’ Futurity in 2018. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Paynter out of the Outflanker mare Kosmo’s Buddy, Knicks Go added $550,000 to his bankroll that totals $1,378,995 with a record of 17-5-3-1.
Winning trainer Brad Cox (Knicks Go) – “He’s very fast and he loves Keeneland as well. We picked the horse up last winter and he really loves it here. Joel did a fantastic job of asking him to be forwardly placed and he responded well. They went very quick and he was able to keep going. This is a good race for him with the short stretch. A lot of things were in his favor today. He’s a very aggressive horse, he loves to train. He’s just a very classy horse.”
Winning jockey Joel Rosario (Knicks Go) – “It looked like he was going easy. I didn’t know how fast he was going. He went 44 (seconds for a half mile). That was very fast. He was able to hang in there and have a kick at the eighth pole. It was a very good performance.”
Second-place trainer Jose D’Angelo (Jesus’ Team) – “He has done great work (training) at Keeneland. Every day, every week he improved. He likes this track. He is the best horse I have trained in the USA and in my life, too. I am very sure that in his next race, he will be closer to a win.”
Second-place jockey Luis Saez (Jesus’ Team) – “I was wishing I could take him outside but if I did I would have been wide. But he ran a good race. He tries so hard.”
Third-place trainer Mark Glatt (Sharp Samurai) – “We’re pleased with finishing third. A little unfortunate in the first turn. I want to watch the replay and see what happened. Irad said the one horse came out on him and made him check on heels there. I think that may have potentially cost him second. You spend quite a bit of energy and are also then farther back. He just ran into a buzz saw after that with Knicks Go. I thought down the backside we were in a decent spot and then third around the turn was pleased and would think they would have to stop for sure given the pace scenario. He’s extremely versatile. He runs seemingly as well on dirt as he does turf and hopefully we can find a good race that he can win.”
Fourth-place jockey Jose Ortiz (Complexity) – “Good trip. The track is super fast. I felt like we went in :46 and change and the winner held on.”
Eighth-place Brian Hernandez Jr. (Art Collector) – “We had a good spot. Going down the backside I was able to hop outside the 2 (Sharp Samurai) on the lead and just see if I could make a run from that point. They were just faster than him today. He couldn’t make up the difference on them.”
Eighth-place trainer Tommy Drury (Art Collector) – “That was it (what Brian said). Those were my thoughts. Down the backside you’re thinking that these things should soften up and come back to you a little. Just didn’t happen today. They kept going.”
Knicks Go through the Eyes & Lens of the great team at Coady Photography: