Las Vegas, NV - Belmont Park in Elmont, New York will play host to the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes on Saturday, October 10. Horses three years old and upward will be featured when they take to Belmont Park's turf track and race 1 1/8 miles.
A large field of 10 plus one Main Track Only Entry will line up in the Knickerbocker - race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card. Post time is 5:19 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 11 possible combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.
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2015 Knickerbocker Stakes Race Favorite Entries
Mr Speaker 4-1 - won the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes and Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational at 23-1odds in 2014 for trainer Shug McGaughey but has thrown in come clunkers as well. He has looked good lately - a win last time out in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Cup at Laurel Park September 19 followed a fourth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine in August and an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track in July. He was seventh in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes in May, fourth in an Allowance at Keeneland April 15, sixth in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes in October and fifth in the Grade 1 Travers in August. Mr Speaker has six wins, a second and a third place finish in 16 career starts and is a tad tough to figure out ahead of this weekend. That said he should be in the mix having won two of his last three starts. Jose Ortiz has the mount from post 9.
War Dancer 7-2 - Bill Mott trainee has 22 career starts with four wins, five seconds and four third place finishes. He won the 2013 Grade 2 Virginia Derby and has been up and down since. Last year's good results include a third behind Finnegan's Wake in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap, a nice win in the 1 1/2 mile Grade 3 Louisville Handicap May 24 and a good second in the Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes in April. He has two runner-up finishes and a third place finish in five starts this year and enters off a close fourth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes here August 29 which followed one of his seconds - the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap August 1. That followed a disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes June 6 and a good second behind Twilight Eclipse in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes here May 9. War Dancer has placed in three of his last five starts overall but looks for his first win in 17 months - from post 7 with Jose Lezcano aboard.
Knickerbocker Stakes 2015 | Remaining Contenders
Middleburg 9-2 - Christophe Clement pupil has placed in 15 of 16 career starts - five wins, seven seconds and three third place finishes. He enters off his fist graded stake score - the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park August 23 which followed a pair of good seconds - the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap July 11 and the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes in June. Middleburg has placed in all four graded stakes starts and has improved every time out. Joe Bravo has been tabbed with keeping that impressive streak going from the rail Saturday.
Messi 5-1 - German bred Graham Motion trained gelding had two wins and five second place finishes in 12 starts at home - failing to place in his last three. Messi has three starts in North America and he won the first two - an Allowance Optional Claiming August 6 and in a similar race at Belmont Park in July. He enters off a disappointing seventh in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga August 29 and hopes for a strong bounce back Saturday. John Velazquez rides from gate 2.
All Included 6-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has four wins and a third place finish in eight career starts. He enters off a respectable third in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga September 7, an Allowance optional Claiming score July 29 and a fourth in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes here in June. Before that was a good three race win streak (no stakes). All Included has been competitive almost every time out the last 18 months but will be after his first stakes score - from gate 10 with Manuel Franco in the reins.
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Legendary 8-1 - defending champion in this race - British bred Niall Saville trained gelding has 25 career starts with six wins, six seconds and three third place finishes. He has looked OK since shipping to North America - four wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 10 starts. He enters off a decent second behind Mr Speaker in the Grade 2 Commonwealth Cup at Laurel Park September 19, a twelfth in the Grade 1 Arlington Millions August 15 and a third in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes in June. He also had a nice win in the minor Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park last September. Legendary will be after his first win since the 2014 edition of this race but has placed in two of his last three starts overall. Sheldon Russell gets the call from gate 8.
V.E. Day 10-1 - James Jerkins trained colt finished second last time out in the minor Temperance Hill Invitational Stakes here September 12 after a fifth in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes August 8 and a good second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational June 6. That followed a disappointing eleventh in the Breeders' Cup Classic and a fifth in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in September. He made his graded stakes debut one to remember however- a win in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga August 23, 2014. That win followed three straight victories including the minor Curlin Stakes July 25 of last year, an Allowance and maiden score. Overall V.E. Day has four wins and three second place finishes in 12 career starts but has placed in just two of his last six starts. He looks for his fist graded stakes score in 14 months Saturday with Angel Arroyo in the saddle from post 5.
Hothersal 15-1 - has two wins and three second place finish in his last five starts overall for trainer Jason Service - four wins, seven seconds and two third place finishes in 16 career races. He enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes - an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out September 6 and in the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park August 2. Hothersal looks for his first stakes score Saturday and enters in good form. Elvis Trujillo has the mount from gate 6.
Cage Fighter 15-1 - has placed in 12 of 15 career starts for trainer James Lawrence. Last time out was his first stakes score - the minor PTHA President's Cup Stakes at Parx September 12 which followed a third in the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes in August, a fourth in the Grade 2 Monmouth Oaks in June and a good stakes debut - a second in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes May 16 at Pimlico. Cage Fighter has been in every race the last two years and hopes for his first ever graded stakes score Saturday. Joshua Navarro gets the call from the outside post 11.
Blingo 30-1 - John Sherreffs trained gelding was last seen running third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, 2014 which followed a good win in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes a month before that and a sixth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes in January, 2014. He has placed in three of his last four starts overall and has four wins and a third place finish in 12 career starts but hits the track for the first time in 20 months Saturday. Jockey Fernando Jara has been tabbed with knocking off all of the rust - from gate 4 Saturday.
Mexikoma 8-5 - Main Track Only Entry has three wins, a second and a third place finish in eight career starts. He finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 2013 and has just five starts since - placing in four of those races. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming score here September 13 after a ninth in the minor Alydar Stakes in August, an Allowance score on this track in June and over a year away from the track. He may line up in post 3 Saturday hoping for his first stakes score.
2015 Knickerbocker Stakes Entries & Odds
Race 9 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:19 PM.
|1||Middleburg||Joe Bravo||Christophe Clement|
|2||Messi (GER)||John Velazquez||H. Motion|
|3||Mexikoma||Jose Lezcano||Michael Dilger|
|4||Blingo||Fernando Jara||John Shirreffs|
|5||V. E. Day||Angel Arroyo||James Jerkens|
|6||Hothersal||Elvis Trujillo||Jason Servis|
|7||War Dancer||Jose Lezcano||William Mott|
|8||Legendary (GB)||Sheldon Russell||Niall Saville|
|9||Mr Speaker||Jose Ortiz||Claude McGaughey III|
|10||All Included||Manuel Franco||Todd Pletcher|
|11||Cage Fighter||Joshua Navarro||James Lawrence, II|