Knicks Go delivered a 70-1 upset in Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1), performing like an odds-on favorite as he sprinted clear at the start and drew off sharply through the stretch in a 5 1/2-length score at Keeneland.
The two-year-old colt was the longest shot among 13 runners, paying a record $142 for a $2 win mutuel, and the Maryland-bred son of Paynter earned an automatic berth to the November 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs in the “Win & You’re In” race.
He also garnered 10 points toward a spot in the first leg of the 2019 Triple Crown in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier.
A debut maiden winner at Ellis Park on July 4, Knicks Go was overlooked following a pair of well-beaten stakes attempts, finishing fifth in the July 21 Sanford (G2) at Saratoga and September 8 Arlington-Washington Futurity. The gray youngster led wire-to-wire in his first start but didn’t make the early lead in his two previous starts.
KRA Stud Farm campaigns Knicks Go. Albin Jimenez was up for Ben Colebrook as both jockey and trainer recorded their first Grade 1 triumph.
“Just got lucky,” Colebrook said. “The horse trains real well here so that’s kind of why we took a shot. He’s always breezed like a good horse. His first race was good and then he never got in a rhythm in his next two. Albin just stole it really. They didn’t give him any respect and he got out there and just got to gallop. I could see (Knicks Go) on the backside, his ears were just going. I could tell he was going to run big. But I didn’t think he was going to run that big. It was just amazing.”
“It was pretty easy,” Jimenez added. “He (Colebrook) told me to be close to the lead. He broke sharp, so I kept him in there.”
Knicks Go led by 1 1/2 lengths after an opening quarter-mile in :23.67 and continued to maintain a short advantage through fractions of :47.59 and 1:12.68. He accelerated away entering the stretch, with a large pack of rivals fighting it out for the minor awards far behind him as he rolled home, and completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.23.
Signalman was bumped and steadied in the stretch but wound up securing second at 10-1, three-quarters a length better than a wide-trip Standard Deviation in third at 4-1. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to the 9-2 Sombeyay in fifth. Dream Maker, the 5-2 favorite, clipped heels at the start and was never a factor in 12th.
Purchased for $87,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale, Knicks Go hails from multiple stakes queen Kosmo’s Buddy, a daughter of Outflanker.