"Knicks Go" isn't a phrase you'll hear much outside the world of horse racing nowadays, mainly because the New York Knicks have sucked ass for 30 years and there are no fans currently allowed in Madison Square Garden owing to COVID-19. But with Travers and Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law having retired after his connections initially planned on running him in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on January 23, five-year-old Maryland-bred Knicks Go is the 5-2 morning-line favorite and will likely remain that way when the starting gate opens on Saturday afternoon in Hallandale Beach. Among the rest of the field, Code of Honor (9-2 on the morning line), Tax (5-1), and Sleepy Eyes Todd (8-1) are prime contenders to upset Knicks Go.
At Gulfstream, the main attraction, as always, will be the insanely humongous statue of the winged horse Pegasus that sits just inside the track/shopping mall's main entrance. Knicks Go may have smoked some formidable competition — including fellow Pegasus entrant Mr. Freeze (15-1 on Saturday's morning line) — in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile this past November, but could he have beaten the actual Pegasus in a race of any distance?
One day, perhaps, hologram technology will advance to a point where a match race of that order can be projected onto Gulfstream's Jumbotron (or into the sky above). But in the here and now, savvy bettors will find a pair of intriguing mile-and-a-half turf races on the Pegasus undercard.
In the La Prevoyante Stakes for fillies and mares (eighth race; post time 3:09 p.m.), the Todd Pletcher-saddled duo of Always Shopping and Cap de Creus, who ran one-two in December's Via Borghese Stakes at Gulfstream, will be among the top picks, with the more lightly raced Heavenly Curlin getting her second major test against classier stock.
Among the boys, Doswell — who shares a trainer, 83-year-old Barclay Tagg, with the aforementioned recent retiree Tiz the Law — figures to be a good value play while squaring off against expected favorite Sadler's Joy in the W.L. McKnight Handicap (tenth race; post time 4:13 p.m.).
The pandemic put the kibosh on Gulfstream's gambler-friendly free-general-admission policy, so while high rollers can catch the action in person, peanut-gallery wagerers are relegated the track's livestream or from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. NBC's broadcast of the feature races.
Pegasus World Cup. Saturday, January 23, at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, 901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach; 954-454-7000; pegasusworldcup.com. Tickets cost $100 to $1,150.