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MD-Bred Knicks Go Is Early 5-2 Favorite For Breeders' Cup Classic

(AP/WJZ) -- Knicks Go is the early 5-2 favorite for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic this weekend at Del Mar.

The two-day world championships drew 169 horses from eight countries, including 46 foreign horses to the seaside track north of San Diego. Del Mar is hosting for the second time in four years.

The Classic will be shown in prime time Saturday on NBC.

Knicks Go drew the No. 5 post on Monday in the nine-horse field for the 1 1/4-mile Classic. Trained by Brad Cox, he'll be ridden by Joel Rosario. The stallion (by Paynter out of Kosmo's Buddy) has four wins in six starts this year, and won the BC Dirt Mile last year at Keeneland.

The gray horse was bred by Angie Moore and daughter Sabrina at GreenMount Farm in Reisterstown.

Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality is the 3-1 second choice, also from Cox's barn. The colt is owned by Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

Medina Spirit, controversial winner of the Kentucky Derby, is the co-third choice at 4-1 for embattled trainer Bob Baffert. The colt tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which isn't allowed in Kentucky on race day. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has yet to issue a final decision as part of its investigation into the matter.

Also at 4-1 is Hot Rod Charlie, winner of the Pennsylvania Derby. The colt finished third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont. Nicknamed "Chuck," he will break from post No. 3.

"We couldn't have planned it any better, to have it in our own backyard is special," said Bill Strauss, a co-owner of Hot Rod Charlie who lives in Del Mar.

Others in the Classic field, with odds, are: Tripoli, 15-1; Express Train, 20-1; Art Collector, 8-1; Stilleto Boy, 30-1; and Max Player, 8-1.

Friday's five-race card features all 2-year-olds, with the winner of the $2 million Juvenile typically tabbed as the winter-book favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

Other favorites in Saturday's races:

— Gamine, the defending champion trained by Baffert, at 3-5 in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint.

— Golden Pal at 7-2 in the $1 million Turf Sprint.

— Life Is Good at 4-5 in the $1 million Dirt Mile is one of two entries in the race trained by Todd Pletcher.

— War Like Goddess at 7-2 in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf.

— Jackie's Warrior at 6-5 in the $2 million Sprint.

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