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Odds, Free PP, Picks, More

Racing fans have one last chance on Saturday to watch The Knicks will, and they see him take on an ultra-talented challenger.

Knicks Go (6-5) favorite for final career start, Grade 1, $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes. Gulfstream Park’s post time is 5:34 p.m., with NBC showing the 1 1/8 mile run for older dirt runners.

The 2022 Pegasus features a showdown between Knicks Go, the future 2021 Horse of the Year, and dominating Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Life Is Good (7-5). Both riders are showing excellent starting speed and look set for a pace showdown.

Brad Cox coaches Knicks Go, whose 2021 season included a reduced victory in this event. Paynter’s son has Grade 1 victories in the Whitney Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, among other events.

Now 6, Knicks Go headed off to stud after racing for the sixth Grade 1 win of his career on Saturday. Jockey Joel Rosario gets the call again.

Life Is Good boasts a career-high 5-6, its only loss a second-place finish in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes (G1) last August in Saratoga. He is otherwise undefeated, including a gate-to-wire run in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Todd Pletcher trains 4-year-old colt Into Mischief, who made his first three starts for trainer Bob Baffert before being moved east. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. retains the mount.

The biggest name among the other seven Pegasus runners is Sir Winston (12-1), the winner of the 2019 Belmont Stakes. Mark Casse’s trainee has won just three of his nine starts since that Belmont score but wins a Valedictory Stakes (G3) win at Woodbine.

The shortest prize on the morning line beyond Knicks Go and Life Is Good is Chess Chief (10-1), the last Fair Grounds Tenacious Stakes winner for coach Dallas Stewart.

Here’s a look at the field for the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (trainer and jockey in brackets) with morning odds:

1. Knicks GB (Brad Cox, Joel Rosario), 6-5

2. Chess Leader (Dallas Stewart, Reylu Gutierrez), 10-1

3. Stilleto Boy (Ed Moger Jr., Jose Ortiz), 20-1

4. Life is Good (Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz Jr.), 7-5

5. Empty Grave (Robert Falcone Jr., Paco Lopez), 20-1

6. Sir Winston (Mark Casse, Edwin Gonzalez), 12-1

7. Title Ready (Dallas Stewart, Tyler Gaffalione), 20-1

8. Approved (Mike Maker, Umberto Rispoli), 20-1

9. Requisition (James Toner, Julien Leparoux), 30-1

TimeformUS Rhythm Projections predict Life Is Good and Ortiz will take the lead over Knicks Go and Rosario. Long shot Empty Tomb should lead the hunt behind the two favorites.

Visit horse racing nationit is free past performance page for more information on the Pegasus, as well as some of the weekend’s other big races.

Pegasus Links

HRN staff members and contributors make expert picks for the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

Matt Shifman proposes full field analysis for the Pegasus, identifying suitors beyond the obvious two.

Looking for a horse to bet beyond Knicks Go and Life Is Good? Reinier Macatangay writes why Stilleto Boy offers value below on vertical tickets.

No more Brad Cox, Knicks Go coach, or Todd Pletcher, Life Is Good coach say their runners will back off after a speed test.

Is Knicks Go a future Hall of Famer? Cox thinks Paynter’s son has already done enough to be inducted, but a second Pegasus win would surely help his case.

Pletcher says that after the Pegasus, Life Is Good could participate in the Dubai World Cup (G1) at 12 million dollars.

Life Is Good jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. says his foal is “just one of those guys you don’t see every day.” Ortiz won the 2020 Pegasus with Mucho Gusto.

The match between Knicks Go and Life Is Good eclipsed the entry for 2019 Belmont Stakes hero Sir Winston. Mark Casse explained why he chose this tough spot for the 6-year-old.

Long shot Stilleto Boy has owner Steve Moger and trainer Ed Moger Jr. dreaming of a big salary in the Pegasus.

Jockey Jose Ortiz will assume the mount on Saturday aboard Stilleto Boy after Jockey Kent Desormeaux has been arrested for domestic violence.

This week on HorseCenter, hosts Shifman and Brian Zipse do their choice for all three Gulfstream Pegasus Races.

Cox joins the Ron Flatter Racing Pod to preview the latest Knicks Go run, while Super Screener creator Mike Shutty handicaps the $3 million run and part of the undercard.

Saturday stakes

Here’s a look at other high-stakes races taking place Saturday at Gulfstream and Santa Anita. All times are EST.

Click here for an overview Saturday’s road to preparing for the 2022 Kentucky Derby, the $750,000 Southwest Stakes and other Oaklawn Park stakes.

Related: Saturday Games: Clear Single in Pegasus World Cup Pick 4

1:27 p.m. – $150,000 La Prevoyante Stakes (G3), fillies and mares from 4 years old, 1½ mile (turf), Gulfstream, TVG

Always Shopping (7-5) returns to Gulfstream to defend their 2021 victory in La Prevoyante. Todd Pletcher trains 6-year-old mare Awesome Again, local winner of the Via Borghese Stakes on New Year’s Eve, who will have jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Christophe Clément leads Beautiful Lover (7-2), third last out of Via Borghese. Sorrel (6-1) finished seventh in the Via Borghese and is aiming for a first North American win in his fourth start for Clement.

2:31 p.m. – $200,000 WL McKnight Stakes (G3), 4+, 1 ½ mile (grass), Gulfstream, TVG

Abaan (2-1) makes his graded stakes debut for Pletcher after winning the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes on Christmas Eve at Gulfstream. Jockey Luis Saez will ride 5-year-old gelding Will Take Charge. Mike Maker coaches Glynn County (3-1), an allocation winner from Churchill Downs and Keeneland who settled for ninth place on October 22 at Keeneland in the Sycamore Stakes (G3). Temple (4-1) was a WL McKnight 2021 runner-up for Maker and is aiming for a first score here.

3:03 p.m. – $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2), Ages 4+, Seven Stadiums, Gulfstream, TVG

Just One Time (7-2) brings a 4-on-5 record to his progressive stakes debut for coach Brad Cox. Jockey Joel Rosario rides 4-year-old filly Not This Time, the last winner of the Penn National New Start Stakes on October 22 for her former trainer, Michael Salvaggio Jr. Michael Trombetta trains Jakarta (4-1), who also enters a win at the stakes in Pennsylvania, hers coming Dec. 28 at Parx in the Mrs. Claus. Four Graces (9-2) won a pair of Grade 3 races in 2020 but have been 0-for-4 since, with their last result a runner-up Jan. 6 in a Gulfstream allowance for trainer Ian Wilkes.

3:36 p.m. – $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational Stakes (G3), 4+ fillies and mares, 1 1/16 mile (turf), Gulfstream, TVG

Regal Glory (2-1) is aiming for its fourth career score in this rebranded edition of the former Marshua’s River Stakes. Chad Brown trains and Jose Ortiz rides the 6-year-old mare Animal Kingdom, who finished 2021 by winning Del Mar’s Matriarch Stakes (G1) on November 28. Pletcher coaches Sweet Melania (5-1), a 2nd grade hero who enters a local Suwanee River Stakes (G3) win on Dec. 18. Shifty She (6-1), a Grade 3 winner, raced second to Sweet Melania in the Suwanee River for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.

4:12 p.m. – $150,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3), 4+, one mile, Gulfstream, TVG

Fearless (5-2) runs there against their local Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) victory on Dec. 18 rather than facing Knicks Go and Life Is Good in the Pegasus. Jockey Luis Saez gets the call from 6-year-old colt Ghostzapper, winner of the Gulfstream Park Mile Stakes (G2) last year, for Pletcher. Bill Mott coaches Speaker’s Corner (7-2), a Belmont Park and Saratoga allocation winner who finished second Nov. 27 at Aqueduct in the Discovery Stakes. Liam (4-1), another Pletcher intern, returned from a more than 14-month layoff to win a race for Gulfstream benefits Dec. 15.

4:49 p.m. – $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1), 4 and over, 1 1/8 miles (turf), Gulfstream, NBC

Col. Liam (3-1) is aiming for a victory over Pegasus Turf for the second straight year in his first start since finishing eighth on June 5 at Belmont in the Manhattan Stakes (G1). Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Liam’s 5-year-old son Map for Pletcher. Pletcher also coaches Never Surprised (7-2), a 6¼ length winner of the local Tropical Park Derby on December 26. Sacred Life (6-1) is a 3rd year winner for Brown who finished second at Del Mar on Nov. 26. 27 in the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2).

Related: Zipse: Colonel Liam Returns To Defend Pegasus Turf | Analysis: wide spread in the Pegasus Turf Invitational

5:10 p.m. – $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2), 3-Year-Old, Seven Stakes, Santa Anita, TVG

Doppelganger (8-5), a first Los Alamitos winner on Dec. 11, makes his second career start there for coach Bob Baffert. The jockey Flavien Prat will ride the colt Into Mischief. Baffert also coaches Pinehurst (5-2), the Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner who is making his first start since finishing fifth Nov. 5 at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Forbidden Kingdom (5-2) finished second to last on Nov. 14 in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) from Del Mar for trainer Richard Mandella.

6:52 p.m. – $100,000 Megahertz Stakes (G3), fillies and mares 4+, one mile (grass), Santa Anita, TVG

Warren’s Showtime (5-2) is going for the third career 3rd year score here for coach Craig Lewis. Jockey Juan Hernandez gets the call on the 5-year-old Clubhouse Ride mare, fourth last out on January 15 in the local Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint Stakes. Richard Baltas coaches Bodhicitta (3-1), a 2nd grade heroine who finished second for coach Richard Baltas on New Years Day at Santa Anita in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes (G3). Madonna (4-1), another Grade 2 winner, makes her first start since a seventh-place finish Oct. 30 in the local Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) for coach Simon Callaghan.

7:22 p.m. – $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes (G3), ages 4 and up, six stages, Santa Anita, TVG

Cezanne (8-5) is making just the fifth start of his career, and the first since winning the local Kona Gold Stakes (G3) on April 18. Baffert coaches Curlin’s 5-year-old son, who will have Prat in place. Baffert also coaches Essential Wager (5-2), who bows his stakes on a Dec. 11 allocation score at Los Alamitos. Arham (4-1) also makes a first start for coach Vladimir Cerin after a New Year’s Allowance win at Satna Anita.

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