Multiple Grade 1 winner Knicks Go and 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1 winner Aloha West have been named 2021 Eclipse Award finalists, with Knicks Go up for the Older Male division and Aloha West nominated for the Male Sprinter division.
Knicks Go, a 2018 Eclipse Award finalist for the Two-Year-Old Male division, laid down the season of a lifetime as he won five of his seven starts as a 5-year-old, securing gate-to-wire victories in the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1, Whitney Stakes-G1, Pegasus World Cup-G1, Lukas Classic Stakes-G3 and Cornhusker Handicap-G3. The son of Paynter, who also finished fourth in the Saudi Cup-G1 and Met Mile-G1, earned $7,324,140 in 2021, boosting his overall earnings to $8,673,135 from a record of 24-10-3-1.
Only the sixth horse to win two different Breeders’ Cup races, having taken the Dirt Mile-G1 in 2020, Knicks Go became the third Maryland-bred to win the Classic and the first in over 25 years, following Concern in 1994 and Cigar in 1995. The second-highest earning Maryland in history, behind Cigar ($9,999,815), is trained by Brad Cox.
Bred by Angie and Sabrina Moore and foaled at their GreenMount Farm in Reisterstown, Knicks Go sold twice at auction, first by his breeders as a weanling in November 2016 for $40,000, and the next September for $87,000 to his current owners, Korea Racing Authority. Knicks Go is out of the talented Maryland-bred stakes winner Kosmo’s Buddy, a daughter of longtime Maryland sire Outflanker.
Knicks Go is seeking a second consecutive score in the Pegasus World Cup-G1 at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29, which will be his final start before heading to Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., to begin his first season at stud.
Aloha West, a son of Hard Spun bred by Robert T. Manfuso and Katharine M. Voss, made a statement with his thrilling victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1, which he won by a nose at the wire. Trained by Wayne Catalano, he won his career debut by three-quarters of a length in a maiden special weight at Oaklawn in February and made eight more starts during the year, picking up three allowance wins (two at Saratoga) prior to finishing a fast closing second by a neck in Keeneland’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix-G2, his graded stakes debut and prep for the Breeders’ Cup.
Sold as a yearling at the 2018 Keeneland September sale for $160,000, Aloha West was purchased privately by his current owners, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, after his second start. The now 5-year-old holds a record of 5-2-0 from nine career starts, with $1,311,068 earned in his first season on the track.
Aloha West is the fourth foal out of Island Bound, a graded stakes-winning daughter of Speightstown.
The Eclipse Awards, named after the great 18th-century racehorse and foundation sire Eclipse, are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements in North America have earned them the title of Champion in their respective categories and are voted by media and industry leaders with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB). The winners, along with 2021 Horse of the Year, will be announced at the 51st annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony on Thursday evening, Feb. 10, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.