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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, January 25, 2022 — Defending Pegasus World Cap champion and certain to be 2021 Horse of the Year Knicks Go has drawn the rail in a field of nine horses. The Brad Cox trainee was installed the 6-5 early line favorite with regular partner Joel Rosario.

HIs outstanding speed rival Life Is Good has drawn post four and was made a close second choice at 7-5. The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Given the post draw, the tactics of these great speed types seems clear. Knicks Go must break sharply and maintain position into the first turn. Life Is Good must break sharply and apply pressure almost immediately.

At some point in the backstretch run, a speed duel will begin to percolate. Given that these are the two most accomplished runners in the nine furlong test, the 6th renewal of the Pegasus rates to be a match race within a race.

Will they battle each other into defeat, setting the table for a stalker or rally type, or will their superior speed bottom out the remaining seven rivals.

It’s no more complicated than that.

photo Ryan Thompson

The remainder of the field, listed in post positions order, including jockey, trainer with early line odds:

2-Chess Chief (10-1) Reylu Gutierrez, Dallas Stewart

3-Stilletto Boy (20-1) Kent Desormeaux, Ed Moger

5-Empty Tomb (30-1) Paco Lopez, Robert Falcone Jr.

6-Sir Winston (6-1) Edwin Gonzalez, Mark Casse

7-Title Ready (20-1) Tyler Gaffalione, Dallas Stewart

8-Endorsed (20-1) Umberto Rispoli, Mike Maker

9-Commandeer (30-1) Julien Leparoux, Jimmy Toner

An even dozen horses have been entered in the Pegasus World Cup Turf. Defending champion Colonel Liam drew post 6 for Todd Pletcher and was made the 3-1 early line favorite with Irad Ortiz Jr.

The inaugural running of the Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf attracted a field of 11. The Chad Brown-trained Regal Glory drew post 4 and was designated as the 2-1 choice beneath Jose Ortiz.

The Late Pick 5 and Pick 4 pools have guaranteed pools of $750,000 each. {Post time for the first of 12 races is 11:30 am, Eastern

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7 Responses

  1. John,
    With two of the best jocks, if a speed duel develops, it will be after maybe 6 furlongs, so I am not expecting both of them to lose. I think we will see a “special memorable” horse race.

  2. That’s the way it shakes out on paper but when the gates open anything can happen as you know. It seems there’s just no way that this confrontation will not be memorable, barring the unforseen…

  3. On one hand, I’m not that optimistic off the TG figs. But a newly turned 4yo can certainly shave a couple points off his number, and he did run a -3 in the 7f race at Saratoga last summer. And back to the downside, I wonder if being out of a Distorted Humor mare and not really having any fast route running sibs ends up showing its face at some point. But back to the possible upside, I do realize that GP will probably be souped up and 9f at GP is probably not going to play as testing as 9f at Belmont.

    Bottom line is with Knicks Go retiring, I prefer Life Is Good to win here so we have the active superstar buzz, and the Flightline confrontation in the Met Mile idea will rocket to the moon if LIG does his thing on Saturday. Racing could really use that energy to accompany the Derby trail for the next few months.

  4. Doc, just saw the Thoro Graph figures and it looks like a layover favoring Knicks Go. I am in the LIG camp. too, but — and not necessarily because of the numbers — if this is going to be his career finale and there’s no issue about leaving anything in the tank for Riyadh, and he makes an all-out effort, the way he runs the turns, the way Cox put him on the fence with those very fast drills, and with pole position, the only way I can see LIG winning is if he mid-race moves, gets on even terms and wins an eyeball test of wills.

    Without knowing how that would turn out, I have to give the lean to KG from an objective handicapping perspective, even if in my heart I believe that LIG could the better horse. It’s fascinating! Thank heavens there are 11 other races, and I can use both to complete a Pick 4 or 5 sequence.

  5. JP,
    KG’s Met Mile suggests to me he can’t match proven sprinter speed early, and that’s what LIG has. Unless LIG misses the break, I think he’ll either prevail, or else get them both beaten.

    This renewal reminds me of the inaugural running of the Pegasus billed as the rematch between California Chrome and Arrogate. Unfortunately that anticipated duel never materialized, and the race was won by 9-10 favorite, Arrogate, with the 4th, 5th, and 3rd choices finishing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at win odds of 19.80, 23.40, and 16.30, respectively. The dime super paid only $46.39, even with the 1.20 2nd choice finishing 9th.

    I’m considering the following superfecta against KG:
    1) 4-Life Is Good, 3-Stilletto Boy, 6-Sir Winston
    2) 1-Knicks Go, 4-Life Is Good, 3-Stilletto Boy, 6-Sir Winston, 8-Endorsed
    3) 1-Knicks Go, 4-Life Is Good, 3-Stilletto Boy, 6-Sir Winston, 8-Endorsed
    4) 1-Knicks Go, 4-Life Is Good, 3-Stilletto Boy, 6-Sir Winston, 8-Endorsed

    1. Yeah that is a fair point re: the one turn pace. KG really wanted none of it; be it not liking Big Sandy, or just not wanting the fight, its at least something to grab onto.

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