Photo: Nedim Slijepcevic/HRN
When Knicks Go struck on the front end of Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1), the 70-1 winner looked like a fluke.
Now? Not so much.
The son of Paynter pressed the pace and led in the stretch of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile — again at long, 40-1 odds — before settling for second behind the Bob Baffert-trained Game Winner.
Trainer Ben Colebrook said the Nov. 24 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G2) is possible for Knicks Go, an $87,000 yearling purchase who’s campaigned by the Korean Racing Authority.
“But it might come back a little quick,” he said. “We’ll just see how he’s doing and make a decision closer to the race.”
Beyond that, the colt’s run on the Kentucky Derby trail would continue at Colebrook’s home tracks “in a perfect world,” he said, as the barn keeps strings at Tampa Bay Downs in the winter and Keeneland year-round.
“The first race he’d run in there is the Sam F. Davis,” Colebrook said of the Grade 3 race run Feb. 9 at Tampa. “Our goal, since we’re based at Keeneland, would be to get him to the Bluegrass.
Knicks Go broke his maiden at Ellis Park, then missed the board in Saratoga’s Sanford Stakes (G3) before running third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity. Back to dirt, and on the Derby trail, his run began.“He ran big,” Colebrook said after the Juvenile. “I thought he might have snuck away enough, but I knew Baffert would be coming. He ran his eyeballs out. Nothing to be ashamed of. He’s a nice horse, and we’ll enjoy running second because that was a big effort. He was following a hot pace. They went fast, and he hung around. He was the only one hanging around late.”
Knicks Go, should qualify for the Derby, would be the first starter for Colebrook.