Korea Racing Authority's Knicks Go, already the Keeneland record-holder for 1 1/16 miles on dirt, added another quick-time tally to his resume after wiring Saturday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland.
Knicks Go broke from post 5 as the 9/5 favorite under Joel Rosario and went straight to the lead, but Complexity was quick into stride and soon applied pace pressure.
Knicks Go maintained a slight advantage while posting quick opening fractions of :21.98 and :44.40, but despite the sharp early speed, the Brad Cox trainee had more than enough left as he straightened for home.
Dispatching of Complexity and company with ease, Knicks Go drew off to win by 3 1/2 easy lengths and completed the the fast main track event in 1:33.85, besting Liam’s Map’s previous best of 1:34.54 set in the 2015 edition of this race.
"This was never something that we even had on our target when we ran this horse a month ago or five weeks ago at Keeneland (when he set the 1 1/16-mile record)," Cox said. "That was just a preparation race for possibly the Clark Handicap or the Cigar Mile. He's obviously very impressive in the third level and breaking the track record and doing it with ease, so I thought as long as he's doing well, we would give him an opportunity here, if he could even get in. There was no certainty that he would even make the body, but very thankful for Breeders' Cup for allowing him to run and he it looks like they made the right decision. He's a very nice horse."
Jesus' Team nailed Sharp Samurai by a nose for second at the wire, while Complexity faded to finish a 1/2-length further back in fourth.
Owendale, Mr Freeze, Rushie, Art Collector, War of Will, Silver Dust, Mr. Money, and Pirate’s Punch completed the order of finish.
Pingxiang (Also Eligible) scratched.
Knicks Go's win was his third from as many 2020 starts and improved his overall record to 17-5-3-1 with $1,348,995 earned. The Maryland-bred 4-year-old Paynter colt was originally intended to retire after the race and stand stud in South Korea, but his connections may keep him in training for 1 more start based on his current form.
"(This pedigree) is what we're looking for for breeding as a stallion prospect," said Jun Park of the KRA. "We also have a good selection system, which is created by the team at the Korea Racing Authority, and that's why we're buying the colts in the United States. And then I believe this victory will make the Korea horse industry more forward, more globalized, and improve the Korean homebred as well."
Knicks Go returned $5.60 to win, $5 to place, and $3.80 to show. Jesus' Team brought back $33.60 to place and $11.80 to show, while Sharp Samurai paid $4.60 to show.