After opening a commanding lead on the backstretch, Knicks Go easily proved best in Saturday’s 94th edition of the $1 million Whitney S. (G1) at Saratoga, rolling to a 4 1/2-length victory. The five-year-old horse sped the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:47.70.

In a field where every one of the five horses has career earnings in seven figures, predicting who would come away with the win in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga Race Course might have seemed challenging to say the least. However, by the time the field hit the first turn; the outcome for the most anticipated race of the Saratoga meet thus far was all but decided. It was Knicks Go from the gate to the wire in the Whitney; a Win and You’re In race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Breaking from post four, Joel Rosario hustled Knicks Go to the lead; with Swiss Skydiver on his heels and Maxfield just behind her. On the first turn, the gray 5-year-old increased his lead to four lengths, stretching it to five lengths over Maxfield and Swiss Skydiver on the backstretch, with Silver State and By My Standards trailing. The five approached the final turn, the margin between Knicks Go and the field was down to a length and a half; as Rosario gave his horse a breather going into the far turn.

As the field for the G1 Whitney rounded that last bend; Knicks Go was still in front with Swiss Skydiver on his outside trying to challenge, Maxfield to her outside going three-wide into the stretch. Jose Ortiz moved Maxfield between Swiss Skydiver and Silver State on the rail; looking for racing room, but it was all Knicks Go running down the middle of the track to win by 4 1/2 lengths, another G1 win going wire to wire. Maxfield was second, with Silver State third. Swiss Skydiver and By My Standards, who broke awkwardly and never factored, rounded out the field.

Trainer Brad Cox said after the race:

“He ran huge. There’s always a concern when you ship to Saratoga and this can be a demanding surface. I thought the race at Prairie Meadows [G3 Cornhusker] really tuned him up well. He was well within himself and that was his big work for this race five weeks ago. He had three maintenance works at Ellis and he came in here a fresh and happy horse, ready to go,”

At the three-eighths pole, I was a touch concerned because they were coming to him fairly easy. They’re good horses and they’re gonna come to him. At the top of the lane, I thought, ‘Wow, he’s still there’ and I liked how Joel [Rosario] came off the rail. It looked like he still had horse. Then at the eighth pole when he asked him to go, he was able to kick away.”

Bred in Maryland by Angie Moore, Knicks Go is by Grade 1 winner Paynter out of the Outflanker mare Kosmo’s Buddy; also a black-type stakes winner. The 5-year-old multiple Grade 1 winner is owned by Korea Racing Authority, who purchased Knicks Go for $87,000 from Woods Edge Farm at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. With this win in the Whitney, Knicks Go has three wins in five starts in 2021, for a lifetime record of 8-3-1 in 22 starts with career earnings of $5,368,995.

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