Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes is on tap for Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on Belmont Stakes day, June 7. A nice purse of $1 million will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go 1 1/2 miles on Belmont Park's turf track.
A field of 10 will line up in the Manhattan Stakes - race 10 on Belmont Park's ridiculously stacked Saturday card. Post time is 5:42 PM - right before the Main Event Belmont Stakes. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all 10 entries for this lucrative Grade 1 stakes.
Seek Again - made his North American debut December 1 and won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park and followed that with a second last time out behind the terrific Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 3. This after seven career starts in Britain yielded three wins and two second place finishes including a win at York. He has looked very good in his North American starts and is the 3-1 favorite for trainer Bill Mott. Joel Rosario rides from post 6.
Imagining - won two straight races in the summer of 2012 - both at Belmont Park including an Allowance Optional Claiming and an Allowance after a very good second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November 2011. He was out of racing for nine months before returning to an Allowance score at Keeneland April 13, 2013. He has looked good lately - a good win last time out in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes on this track May 11 followed a second behind Lochte in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and a two race win streak - the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct November 16 and the overnight Bowl Game Stakes at Belmont Park in October. Before that was an uncharacteristic sixth in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in September and another win in the minor Idle Rich Stakes at Saratoga in August. Imagining has won four of his last six with a second place finish in there and looks to be in fine form for trainer Shug McGaughey ahead of this weekend. He leaves from the inside post with John Velazquez in the saddle as the 7-2 morning line second choice on a track he's won five of eight starts.
Real Solution - Chad Brown trained Italian import had five starts at home with three wins to start his career, a sixth and a second in his last race overseas. He made his North American debut with an OK fourth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes last May 4 after being out of action since September and followed that with a respectable third in the 2013 Manhattan Handicap June 8. He went on to an OK third behind Little Mike and Big Blue Kitten in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch September 28 after his best career result - a win in the Grade 1 Arlington Million Stakes August 17. Real Solution raced to a ninth in the Breeders' Cup Turf and had a fourth in his first 2014 start - in the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap March 29. Last time out was a good second behind Imagining in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes on this track May 11. He is 5-1 on the morning line and departs from an unfavorable post 8 with Javier Castellano in the saddle.
Grandeur - Irish bred gelding made his North American debut with an impressive win in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita November 2, 2012 and followed that up with another good result - a second as favorite in the 2013 Grade 1 Hollywood Derby behind Unbridled Command November 25. He went on to win the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes in December before shipping back to Ireland where he had a fourth and a second in the group II Sky Bet York Stakes behind the talented Mukhadram in July. This after nearly eight months away. Grandeur returned to North America May 11 and finished third in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes behind Imagining and Real Solution. Gary Steven will be aboard the 5-1 morning line co-third choice from gate 4.
Boisterous - was last seen running third in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 3 after an Allowance score April 5 for trainer Todd Pletcher. Before that was an eighth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in February and a sixth in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes on this track in October. He won the 2011 and 2012 Grade 3 Red Smith Stakes at Aqueduct and the 2011 and 2012 Knickerbocker Stakes but he hasn't exactly been terrific as of late. He hopes to return to the form that saw him win two straight races at this time last year - the Grade 1 Man o' War in July and the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes in June when he leaves from post 5 with Corey Nakatani in the saddle. Boisterous has 12 wins, three seconds and four third place finishes in 31 career starts and is 8-1 on the morning line.
Hey Leroy - Manuel Azpurua has 10 starts already in 2014 with four wins and five second place finishes. He won the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes four back at Gulfstream - out of nowhere and followed that with a disappointing tenth in the Grade 3 Miami Mile. Hey Leroy bounced back with an Allowance Optional Claiming score May 3 and was second most recently in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 17. He has won three of his last five starts with a second last time out and proved in the Appleton that he is not out of place in graded stakes company. Alex Solis has the mount from post 2 at 12-1 odds.
Rookie Sensation - John Shirreffs trained colt has nine career starts with three wins, two seconds and a third place finish. He had a stakes debut to remember - a win in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at 8-1 odds at Santa Anita November 1 and followed that with an eighth in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes January 18, a second in an Allowance at Santa Anita March 15 and an OK third last time out in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes also at Santa Anita April 25. He has been OK lately but hopes to return to his 2013 form in the Manhattan. Mike Smith has the call from gate 3 at 12-1 odds.
Five Iron - Impressive Brian Lynch trained colt won two straight stakes races at Woodbine last summer - the Victoria Park Stakes and the Toronto Cup Stakes before a terrific, career defining win in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes September 1 at Saratoga. He has just three starts since - a good third in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby in October, an awful ninth in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream March 29 after five months away and a terrific win last time out in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes on this track May 3. He looks to build on his win here last time out and goes off at 15-1 odds with Luis Saez in the reins from post 7.
Kaigun - Mark Casse trained gelding looked good at the end of 2013 - a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream, a good third in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs November 16 and an Allowance score at Woodbine in August. This after a disappointing ninth in the listed Queen's Plate and a pedestrian seventh in the Plate Trial Stakes. He has four starts in 2014 - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream February 22 followed a fourth in a similar race on that same track January 17. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 3 after a good second in the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland in April. He starts from post 9 looking for his first stakes win with Alan Garcia in the saddle at 15-1 odds.
Chamois - Christophe Clement pupil made his 2014 debut finishing third in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 17 but did have a minor stakes score in November - the Duluth Stakes at Aqueduct November 17. He also had another minor stakes score in September - the Stanton Stakes with a fourth in the minor Basket Wave Stakes sandwiched in between the wins. Chamois has four wins and three third place finishes in 10 career start and will have Joe Bravo in the saddle from the outside post at 15-1 odds.
Race 10 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:45 PM.
||C. McGaughey III