OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - Belmont Park in Elmont, New York will play host to the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes on Saturday, October 11. Horses three years old an upward will be featured when they go 1 1/8 miles on Belmont Park's turf track searching for the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.
Nine older entries have been confirmed for the Knickerbocker - race 8 on Belmont Park's Saturday schedule. Post time is 4:27 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all nine entries for this Grade 3 stakes.
Up With the Birds - last year's Canadian Horse of the Year has 13 career starts with seven wins, two seconds and a third place finish - impressive indeed but he is coming off a disappointing fourth in the Grade 1 Arlington Million Stakes August 16 which followed a dominant four length win in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes in July and his worst two career performances by far - a pair of sixth place finishes - in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 17 and in an Allowance at Belmont Park April 5. Up With the Birds ended 2013 with a nice win in the minor Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine August 18 after a second in the Queen's Plate July 7 and an impressive 4 3/4 length win over Winning Cause in the minor Marine Stakes May 26. He also won the Coronation Futurity, one of Canada's richest races in November, 2012 and he posted victory in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap on this very track to add to his impressive résumé. Up With the Birds has somehow failed to place in three of his last four starts but is still listed as the 3-1 favorite this weekend. Cornelio Velasquez gets the call from post 7.
Za Approval - defending champion in this race had a good 2013 campaign including a very nice win in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream March 30 and the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth May 18. He then raced to a second in the Woodbine Mile September 15 behind Wise Dan after a second in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile behind Obviously at Hollywood Park June 29. Za Approval went on to a second in the Breeders' Cup Mile behind Wise Dan again and has been just OK since - a 1 3/4 length win last time out in the minor Real Courage Stakes here September 7 followed an ugly fifth in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes in July, a third in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont Park in May, a fourth in the Grade 1 Maker's Mile in April and a fourth in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita March 8. He had four wins and three seconds in eight starts in 2013 for trainer Christophe Clement but has placed in two of five starts this year. He hopes to rediscover his 2013 form and looks for his second straight win in this race and second straight win overall with Luis Saez aboard from post 3 at 7-2 on the morning line.
Speaking of Which - Irish bred Christophe Clement trainee won the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder in December and followed that with a respectable third in his first 2014 start - the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap at Fair Grounds January 18. He has two starts since - a win last time out in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes June 8 followed a fourth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes on this track in May. He has five wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 14 career starts and has placed in three of his last four starts with two wins over that span. Speaking of Which will have Manuel Franco in the saddle Saturday from gate 4 at 4-1 odds.
Winning Cause - Todd Pletcher trained colt placed in nine of 11 starts in 2013 - the best result coming April 20, 2013 - a terrific win at 15-1 in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park but fell off to finish tenth in the Grade 3 Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Belmont Park October 4. He has been rather inconsistent in eight starts in 2014 - a third last time out in the minor PTHA President`s Cup Stakes at Parx September 13 followed a nice win in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth August 24 and consecutive fourths - the minor John`s Call Stakes August 6 and the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes in July. He has placed in five of eight starts this year with just one win and is a difficult entry to figure out ahead of this weekend. Junior Alvarado gets the call from post 2 at 6-1 on the morning line.
Knickerbocker Stakes betting online at Belmont Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Plainview - finished second in this race last year and has looked OK in six starts since - one win, one second and two third place finishes in six starts. Last time out was a third in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park August 24 after a third in the minor Lure Stakes at Saratoga August 2 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score in July - his only win in the last 14 months. Plainview has 32 career starts with eight wins, four seconds and five third place finishes and will line up from the rail with Jose Lezcano aboard at 6-1 odds
Legendary - Niall Saville trained British bred gelding had 13 career starts at home with two wins, four seconds and a third place finish and has placed in all five starts here - all in 2014. Last time out was a win in the minor Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park September 6 after a third in the minor Lure Stakes August 2 and two straight Allowance score on this track. He makes his graded stakes debut in good form Saturday with Sheldon Russell in the irons from post 6 at 8-1.
Mshawish - Todd Pletcher trained colt has 13 career starts with three wins, two seconds and a third place finish. He started his career overseas and had three wins and two seconds in 11 starts - the best of which was a Group 2 stakes race at Meydan in February. He has two North American starts - a sixth in the Grade 3 Metropolitan Jets Oceanport Stakes in July was followed by a third last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Saratoga August 30. Mshawish will try to break through in stakes company for the first time in North America when he starts from the outside post with Javier Castellano in the reins at 10-1 on the morning line.
Tricky Hat - Chilean born Shug McGaughey trained gelding hadn't looked good before a nice win in the minor John's Call Stakes at Saratoga August 6 - a result that was followed by a fifth last time out in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes September 13. Before his minor stakes score was an ugly fourteenth in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes after a fifth in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes in April. He has 16 career starts with five wins, a second and four third place finishes. Tricky Hat will look to cure his inconsistent ways with Jose Ortiz aboard from post 8.
Easter Gift - Main Track Only Chad Brown trainee has not looked good in his only two starts of 2014 - a sixth last time out in the minor Alydar Stakes August 17 followed an eighth in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup Stakes July 27. He won the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes in September, 2012 and had a three race win streak last summer but has struggled since. If he does indeed race Easter Gift will leave from gate 5 at 2-1 odds.
Race 8 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:27 PM.
|1||Plainview||J. Lezcano||G. DiPrima|
|2||Winning Cause||J. Alvarado||T. Pletcher|
|3||Za Approval||L. Saez||C. Clement|
|4||Speaking of Which (IRE)||M. Franco||C. Clement|
|5||Easter Gift||J. Lezcano||C. Brown|
|6||Legendary (GB)||S. Russell||N. Saville|
|7||Up With the Birds||C. Velasquez||M. Pierce|
|8||Tricky Hat (CHI)||J. Ortiz||C. McGaughey III|
|9||Mshawish||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher|