Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go will attempt to return to his winning ways July 2 with a trip to Prairie Meadows in Iowa, where he will face off against six rivals in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3).
Switched to the barn of Brad Cox—who won the 2020 renewal of the Cornhusker with Night Ops —at the start of 2020, Knicks Go dominated in his first four starts for the Eclipse Award-winning trainer. Winning allowance optional claiming races at Oaklawn Park and Keeneland, the son of Paynter then parlayed those wins into front-running victories in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland and the 2021 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Shipped to Saudi Arabia, Knicks Go turned in a credible fourth in the Feb. 20 Saudi Cup. Returned to race on North American soil, he finished fourth again as the heavy favorite in the June 5 Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park. Both losses came in one-turn races.
The Cornhusker is around two turns at 1 1/8 miles.
Knicks Go most recently worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Cox’s home base of Churchill Downs, the third fastest of 15 at the distance June 25. Joel Rosario will partner with the 5-year-old, who carries 126 lbs., spotting the opposition six to 13 lbs.
“He’s doing real well,” Cox said. “The only thing I can attribute to his race in the Met Mile is that he’s not a one-turn horse. I had that fear going into it. He can’t clear off like he does in two-turn races, but hopefully he can rebound and get his form turned around in the Cornhusker.”
Cox said if Knicks Go turns in a strong effort Friday, then the Aug. 7 Whitney Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course would be an option for a subsequent start.
Looking to score his second consecutive stakes victory of 2021 is Michael Dubb, Steve Hornstock, Michael Caruso, and Nice Guy Stables’ Last Judgment , who will break from post 4 under Jose Ortiz.
Trained by Mike Maker, the Florida-bred son of Congrats has hit the board in four of his five starts this season, winning the Jan. 16 Sunshine Classic Stakes at Gulfstream, the March 6 $100,000 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, and the Pimlico Special Match Series Stakes (G3) at Pimlico Race Course.
Last Judgement also ran second in the March 27 Ghostzapper Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream over the Cornhusker distance, with his only misstep coming with an eighth-place performance in the Pegasus World Cup—also run over 1 1/8 miles.
Pam and Martin Wygood’s Modernist , who was runner-up to Last Judgment in both the Challenger and the Pimlico Special, will also return in the Cornhusker. Trained by Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Uncle Mo colt captured the April 3 Excelsior Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack in between his second-place efforts. Junior Alvarado will have the call from the outside post 7 in the Cornhusker.
Prairie Meadows, Friday, July 02, 2021, Race 8
- Grade III
- 1 1/8m
- 3 yo’s & up
- 9:12 PM (local)