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Odds, Race Day Bets, And Knicks Go’s Front-Running Threat From Life Is Good


The 2022 Pegasus Stakes at Gulfstream, the Stronach family’s sixth staging of the race, is on its way to becoming a national winter season fixture, and to that end, this year’s bracing $3 million dollar purse helps inspire dreams of greatness, or at least solvency, in stables around the country. Drawn back to the scene of his 2021 Pegasus victory, Breeders’ Cup Classic victor and current 6-5 favorite Knicks Go faces an interesting patchwork of contenders today, and, racegoers and racing writers alike will hope, a pointed duel with the race’s second favorite, Life Is Good, who’s clocking in in the morning line at 7-5.

No doubt about it, Life Is Good is, in fact, good. Hot, it might be fair to say, which is one explanation for the positive view that the Gulfstream oddsmakers have of him. He’s won over some hard veterans’ hearts lately, to the point that some of the trackside chatter is approaching the notion that this race could form “the passing of the torch” — meaning, from Knicks Go as a dominant Thoroughbred of national standing to Life Is Good. Whether he’s that good to be handicapped in close proximity to a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner is his question to answer this afternoon in Hallandale.

Life Is Good is coming on, but there remains a whiff of a question about the distance. By rights, he should have it in him. He posted a fine win in last year’s Dirt Mile at Del Mar, but the famed Dirt Mile is a mile. The Pegasus finish line is just that nagging one-eighth of a mile further down the stretch, a distance in which a lot can happen, and Knicks Go is a lot more horse than Life Is Good has ever faced.

Before we bring in the trusted Bluegrass Wise Man ™ to help us divine how to play these two front-running stallions, herewith, a refresher on the post positions and the odds.

(Post Position, Horse, Odds)

1) Knicks Go, 6-5

2) Chess Chief, 10-1

3) Stilleto Boy, 20-1

4) Life Is Good, 7-5

5) Empty Tomb, 20-1

6) Sir Winston, 12-1

7) Title Ready, 20-1

8) Endorsed, 20-1

9) Commandeer, 30-1

(Source: Gulfstream Park, 1/29/2022)

The Bluegrass Wise Man ™, a Kentucky horseman and owner, has been tremendously generous in imparting his insights over many racing seasons past, so we’re delighted to have him back in the saddle for the Pegasus. Disclaimer: The Bluegrass Wise Man ™ has no horses running in the Pegasus World Cup. He will, however, be betting the race aggressively.

Let’s get at Knicks Go through Life Is Good. Make sense of him for us.

Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Life Is Good is a really good colt. His five career wins are by a total of thirty lengths. It ain’t Secretariat, but it’s a start. His only loss was by a neck, and that was in a Grade 1 in which he was coming off a long layoff. While he’s not run this distance, he should be able to get a trip. Win or lose, if he gets up and competes and shows that he can give himself a shot to win, that’ll be his accomplishment, and, win or lose, he’ll be known as the best horse in training for the race. Now, is the Pegasus going to be the passing of the crown? Don’t know about that yet. Life Is Good is gonna have to make at least the first part of the answer to that question this afternoon.

I’ll just say it because it’s in the air: Match race?

Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Something close to that, and I do think and hope we’ll see them really duking it out in the stretch. That’s the fun in this race. Life Is Good and Knicks Go both like to get up front early, is the point, and the talent gets kind of skinny if you look down in the field, so I don’t see a whole lot of them being able to keep up. As everybody knows, Knicks Go drew the rail, but I don’t think that’s going to bother him much. It’s not the Kentucky Derby, you know, with nineteen horses thundering down on you from your outside. It’s a nine-horse field. Brad (Cox, Knicks Go’s trainer) really doesn’t think it’s going to affect him.

Dallas Stewart’s horse, Chess Chief, is the third favorite. Are there decent reasons he could slide in to mop up the thing?

Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Chess Chief is a closer, so, my guess is that if for some reason Knicks Go and Life Is Good put up really crazy fractions, I guess I can see Chess Chief eventually being there to come roaring by. But, God bless him, he’s just not remotely of the caliber of the top two. It’s going to take some doing for that to happen, meaning, Knicks Go and Life Is Good will really have to get under each other’s skin up there and wear themselves plumb out. Then, there are the jockeys. Sometimes you can’t help it, but they do know the danger of front-runners cancelling each other.

Which is a great reason to move now to your thinking for your exotics.

Bluegrass Wise Man ™: The question is, what’s the picture. As we all do, you have to build a picture and then bet that a couple of different ways, and the rule there is, never be shy of the box. It’s all about the top two for me, there just isn’t anybody else at their level in the race. Top two are Breeders’ Cup champions and likely Eclipse Award winners. Stilleto Boy ran fifth, beaten ten lengths, in the Classic last year, so there’s maybe a reason to include him in some kind of a box. I box Knicks Go and Life Is Good, and then I box Chess Chief and Stilleto Boy underneath.

Anything left to terrify us with? You’re so good at that.

Bluegrass Wise Man ™: It’s a horse race, and it should be a close one. Without naming names, that oughta be terrifying enough.



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