The Grade 1 winner Knicks Go, who finished fifth as the favorite in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in his 3-year-old debut, will make his next start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 9, trainer Ben Colebrook said Thursday.
The Gotham is a one-turn mile race. Knicks Go hasn't run in a one-turn race since he finished third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity last Sept. 8.
“I just think shortening him back up to one turn makes some sense; he didn’t seem like he loved the track at Tampa so instead of going back in that race we decided to bring him back north,” Colebrook said Thursday. “Speed seems like it’s pretty dangerous at Aqueduct, being on the lead or close to it.”
Colebrook said Knicks Go arrived at Keeneland on Thursday following a van ride from Tampa Bay Downs where he had been based most of the winter. Knicks Go worked a half-mile in 49.60 seconds last Saturday at Tampa.
Colebrook said the Gotham is designed to help Knicks Go acquire the necessary points to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Knicks Go, who won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to Game Winner, has 18 points. The Gotham offers 85 qualifying points to its top four finishers (50-20-10-5) to the Kentucky Derby and a first or second-place finish in the Gotham would likely be enough for Knicks Go to get into the May 4 race.
“All we’re looking for is to hit the board and get the points,” said Colebrook, who trains Knicks Go for the Kentucky Racing Authority.
Colebrook said following the Gotham, Knicks Go would likely make his next start at Keeneland in either the Lexington Stakes or Bluegrass Stakes prior to the Kentucky Derby.
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