It’s Knicks Go Time: Can He Defend Pegasus World Cup Title To Go Out On Top?

Written By Dave Bontempo on January 26, 2022
Pegasus World Cup Belmont Park

Belmont Park gained a new focal point this week.

The fabled home of the Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown, became the answer to a trivia question surrounding Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup:

When is the last time Knicks Go lost?

The answer is right at Belmont Park in the Metropolitan Mile on the undercard of the Belmont Stakes last June.

That seems like ages ago to those who watched him subsequently notch four eye-popping, wire-to-wire wins. The last was an impressive victory in the $6 million Breeders Cup Classic in November. Two of the horses he defeated that day — Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie — ran 1-2 in the Belmont the day he lost in the Metropolitan.

That’s the magnitude of Knicks Go’s rise: from Belmont Stakes undercard to the likely 2021 Horse of the Year.

And now comes the encore.

Pegasus World Cup stage for premier showdown

The 6-year-old tries to put a final exclamation point on his career Saturday in a dream matchup against Life Is Good. Their 1⅛-mile shootout at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida, occurs at 5:45 p.m. and will air on NBC.

Bettors can access all the action via the TVG horse betting app.

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The Pegasus has been announced as Knicks Go’s last race as he tries to become the first repeat winner of the six-year-old event.

Here are the post positions for the Pegasus:

Post PositionHorseJockeyOddsTrainer
1Knicks GoJoel Rosario6-5Brad Cox
2Chess ChiefRevlu Gutierrez10-1Dallas Stewart
3Stilleto BoyKent Desormeaux20-1Ed Moger Jr.
4Life Is GoodIrad Ortiz Jr.7-5Todd Pletcher
5Empty TombPaco Lopez20-1Robert Falcone
6Sir WinstonEdwin Gonzalez12-1Mark Casse
7Title ReadyTyler Gaffalione20-1Dallas Stewart
8EndorsedUmberto Rispoli20-1Michael Maker
9CommandeerJulien Leparoux30-1James Toner

How Pegasus World Cup favorites got here

New York bettors gained a personal glimpse of Knicks Go’s ascent. The second leg of his major streak was the Grade I Whitney at Saratoga. It was the race that signaled he’d turned a corner and could reach an elite level.

Follow-up victories in the Lukas Classic Stakes and the Breeders Cup marked him as a blazing speed champion.

But now he’s got company.

Life Is Good also has blazing speed. And he also captured a Breeders Cup championship on the same card as Knicks Go.

They have been joined at the conversational hip ever since the Breeders Cup.

Knicks Go and Life Is Good have similar running styles. They both want the lead right away. They are heads and shoulders above the field, so good that they scared away competition.

The Pegasus World Cup was supposed to have 12 horses. But because of Knicks Go and Life Is Good, it has nine.

But there is one looming variable.

Pace considerations for Knicks Go, Life Is Good

On talent alone, this pair would go around the track together and finish 1-2.

But if they go at each other hard, it becomes a real possibility that could compromise one or both of them, enabling another horse to overtake them in the stretch.

Horses that like to run late include Sir Winston, whom New Yorkers remember as the Belmont Stakes winner from 2019. Stilleto Boy, who ran a distant fifth in the Breeders Cup to Knicks Go, also prefers to rally.

Betting overview for Pegasus World Cup

If the two favorites run well, bettors will either have to make heavy bets on a limited number of combinations or try to leverage the bets with a small investment.

Those taking advantage of New York horse betting can also access an entire afternoon of high-level racing, marked by a card with $5.2 million of graded stakes races, via TVG.

Gamblers celebrating the Empire State’s leap into online betting can wager on a card starting at a special 11:30 a.m. first post.

It’s an all-day betting carnival. New York bettors are familiar with this concept, for which Belmont Park has been a pioneer.

Belmont Stakes Day is always loaded with high-level events supporting the big race. The track tries to corner the market of a captive gambling audience.

Gulfstream Park has done the same thing. A million-dollar undercard race is saying something.

Saturday’s Pegasus lineup includes:

RaceDistanceSurfacePurse
Pegasus World Cup1 ⅛ milesDirt$3 million
Pegasus World Cup Turf1 ⅛ milesTurf$1 million
Filly and Mare Turf1 1⁄6 milesTurf$500,000
Inside Information7 furlongsDirt$200,000
William McKnight1 ½ milesTurf$200,000
La Prevoyante1 ½ milesTurf$150,000
Fred Hooper1 mileDirt$150,000

Other highlights of Pegasus World Cup

In the Pegasus World Cup Turf, Colonel Liam returns to defend his title. He captured a thrilling event in the final strides last year.

This race promises to be wider open. It should provide better value on the win line and open the possibility for some spread betting.

That could include a wager like a $1 trifecta key entry.

Let’s say the bettor likes the 1 horse and thinks the 2-3-4 can also run in the money.

“Key” the 1 in the first spot with the 2-3-4 second and third. It costs $6. A player also can put the 1 in the second spot with the 2-3-4 filling the first and third slots. This also costs $6.

The strategy is beneficial if a player believes a longshot can run in the money along with his/her keyed horse.

Photo by AP / Gregory Bull
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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