Breeders’ Cup Hero Knicks Go Heads Pegasus
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
Topping the field is 5-2 favorite Knicks Go, who was last seen winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) by 3 ½ lengths. The Brad Cox trainee was unbeaten in three starts last year, and has always been classy. He was a Grade 1 winner at Keeneland at two, and ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) before going awry at three and failing to win in eight starts. The son of Paynter has blossomed in Cox’s barn, but will have to navigate a trip further than he has ever run before. Joel Rosario will ride.
A Grade 2 winner over the Gulfstream track in 2019, Code of Honor went on to be placed second in the Kentucky Derby before winning the Grade 1 Travers Stakes and Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Code of Honor, by Noble Mission (GB), is one of the top Pegasus contenders, and will have Tyler Gaffalione up for Shug McGaughey. Code of Honor has already earned $2.6 million, and will look to add to that total in the Pegasus.
Second in the race last year was 15-1 shot Mr Freeze. Dale Romans trains the son of To Honor and Serve, who was sixth behind Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup. Mr Freeze has run over this track twice, with the other effort being a Grade 2 win in the Gulfstream Park Mile. John Velazquez will ride the six-year-old.
Tax is 5-1 on the morning line following a smashing win in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) here on December 12. Danny Gargan trains the son of Arch, who was a top sophomore in 2019 with wins in the Jim Dandy (G2) and Withers (G3). He ran in this race last year, finishing ninth, but after a long break has come back in fine form.
Last Judgment was a late entry when True Timber was scratched from consideration the morning of the draw. The gelded son of Congrats will be running back on just a week’s rest after taking the Sunshine Classic Stakes here last week by 6 ½ lengths. He has three wins over this course in seven tries for trainer Mike Maker. Paco Lopez will ride.
Riding a two-race win streak – and seven of his last 11 overall – is Harpers First Ride. The son of Paynter runs predominantly in Maryland for trainer Claudio Gonzalez, and while this will be a big jump in class this horse has been steadily improving over the last year.
Other contenders include Jesus’ Team, fresh off a win in the Claiming Crown Jewel, recent Santa Anita Grade 2 winner Kiss Today Goodbye, and the ultra-popular gray horse Sleepy Eyes Todd, who has run at nine different tracks in his last nine starts.
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