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Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale Produces Fourth Consecutive Horse of the Year

February 10, 2022

Knicks Go receives Thoroughbred racing’s highest honor

Keeneland congratulates the equine champions and outstanding horsemen in Thoroughbred racing in 2021 who were honored tonight at the 51st Eclipse Awards Ceremony at Santa Anita. Five horses named Eclipse Award winners – led by Horse of the Year and champion older dirt male Knicks Go – aregraduates of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale, while other honorees have connections to Keeneland racing and sales.

Knicks Go is the fourth consecutive Horse of the Year who is a graduate of the September Sale, following Justify (2018), Bricks and Mortar (2019) and Authentic (2020).

Eclipse Awards winners were selected by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. 

Knicks Go’s owner, Korea Racing Authority, purchased the Horse of the Year for $87,000 at the 2017 September Sale from the consignment of Woods Edge Farm (Peter O’Callaghan), agent, and in 2021 raced him to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), Whitney (G1), Lukas Classic (G3) and Prairie Meadows Cornhusker (G3) while earning $7.3 million. Knicks Go was conditioned by Brad Cox, who received the Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer.

By Paynter, Knicks Go was bred by Angie Moore and sold as a weanling at Keeneland’s 2016 November Breeding Stock Sale. He was consigned by Bill Reightler, agent for Greenmount Farm, and purchased by Northface Bloodstock for $40,000.

Other alumni of Keeneland sales who are 2021 champions are:

Corniche (two-year-old male): Bart Evans and Stonehaven Steadings bred the son of Quality Road, undefeated winner of the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and American Pharoah (G1) for Speedway Stables and trainer Bob Baffert. Stonehaven Steadings offered Corniche at the 2020 September Sale. 

Echo Zulu (two-year-old filly): Winchell Thoroughbreds, who raced the undefeated Gun Runner filly in partnership with L and N Racing, purchased her for $300,000 at the 2020 September Sale from the consignment of Betz Thoroughbreds, agent. She was bred by Betz, J. Betz, Burns, CHNNK, Magers, CoCo Equine and Ramsby. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Echo Zulu won the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Frizette (G1) and Spinaway (G1).

Jackie’s Warrior (male sprinter): Kirk Robison, who races Jackie’s Warrior with his wife, Judy, purchased the son of Maclean’s Music for $95,000 at the 2019 September Sale from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. Steve Asmussen trained Jackie’s Warrior to win the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1), Amsterdam (G2), Gallant Bob (G2) and Pat Day Mile (G2) Presented by LG&E and KU. J & J Stables bred the colt.

Malathaat (three-year-old filly): Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. purchased the daughter of Curlin for $1.05 million at the 2019 September Sale and raced her with trainer Todd Pletcher to win the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Central Bank Ashland (G1) at Keeneland, Alabama (G1) and Demoiselle (G2). Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Malathaat was consigned to the September Sale by Denali Stud, agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised. 

These Eclipse Award winners as outstanding horsemen all won graded stakes at Keeneland in 2021:

Brad Cox (trainer): During the Spring Meet, he won the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) with champion 3-year-old male Essential Quality, Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) with Juliet Foxtrot (GB) and Baird Doubledogdare (G3) with Bonny South. Cox was the leading trainer of the Fall Meet, when he won the Darley Alcibiades (G1) with Juju’s Map and Perryville with He’smyhoneybadger.

Godolphin (owner and breeder): Bred and owns Toyota Blue Grass (G2) winner and champion Essential Quality and the Fall Meet’s Lexus Raven Run (G2) winner, Caramel Swirl. The latter’s win gave Godolphin its eighth Keeneland stakes victory to earn a Keeneland Tray as part of the track’s Milestone Trophy Program.

Joel Rosario (jockey): He won six stakes during the Spring Meet: Central Bank Ashland (G1) aboard Malathaat, Madison (G1) on Kimari, Shakertown (G2) with Bound for Nowhere, Commonwealth (G3) on Flagstaff, Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) with Scarlett Sky and Palisades on Chasing Artie. Rosario won the Fall Meet’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) aboard Special Reserve.

Additionally, Letruska, named champion older dirt female, won the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) during Keeneland’s Fall Meet.