Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes goes down on the Belmont Park undercard in Elmont, New York this Saturday, June 6. Horses four years old and upward will be featured as they take to Belmont Park's turf track and go 1 1/4 miles in search of the winner's share of the $1 million purse.
11 older entries have been confirmed for the Manhattan Stakes - race 10 in Belmont Park's busy Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:46 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 11 combatants for this lucrative Grade 1 stakes.
Twilight Eclipse 7-2 - is the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf when he won the Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap December 28, 2013 in wire-to-wire fashion by seven lengths. He went on to win the 2014 Mac Diarmida Stakes after that. He then took his show to Dubai where he finished a disappointing twelfth in a Group 1 stakes and returned to North America June 6 and finished a fourth in the minor Belmont Gold Cup Invitational. He's placed in seven straight ahead of this race however losing by a total of 2 1/2 lengths in the first four. Last time out was Twilight Eclipse's first win in 15 months - the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes on this track May 9 which followed a third in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes March 28, a second in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes February 21, a third behind Main Sequence in the Breeders' Cup Turf, second behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Classic at Belmont Park September 27, a third behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17 and a decent second as favorite behind Main Sequence in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes July 6. He has 25 career starts with seven wins, five seconds and four third place finishes and off a win last time out will be a confident entry. Javier Castellano will be in the saddle of the lukewarm favorite Saturday from post 2.
Finnegan's Wake 4-1 - Peter Miller trainee has seven wins, four seconds and three third place finishes in 29 career starts and enters in the best form of his career having won four of his last five starts overall - the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs last time out May 2 followed a second in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes and a three straight wins -- in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes February 7, in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes January 3 and in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar November 27. He also had a forgettable tenth at 58-1 odds in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Other good results include a win in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap in July and a second in September in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship September 28. He has been terrific lately and is definitely one of the ones to catch Saturday. Victor Espinoza rides the second betting choice from post 3.
War Dancer 5-1 - Bill Mott trainee has 19 career starts with four wins, four 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. Last time out was a good second behind Twilight Eclipse in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes here May 9 which followed a third in his only other start this year - an Allowance at Keeneland April 4. He ended 2014 with a seventh in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International, a decent third in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup September 13 and an OK fourth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga August 17. He looks for his first win in a year (six starts) with Jose Lezcano in the irons from gate 4.
Big Blue Kitten 5-1 - two-time Grade 1 winner won the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park July 6, 2013 and had some decent results in 2013. In 2014 he won the minor Lure Stakes at Saratoga and followed that with a second in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes August 24, a fourth in the 2014 Grade 1 Hoe Hirsch Turf Classic and consecutive runner up finishes to end his year - the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap last time out in August and the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International in October. Big Blue Kitten has one start this year and one impressive win - in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes on this track May 2. Overall he has 12 wins, six seconds and four third place finishes in 25 career starts and has placed in five of his last six. Joe Bravo gets the mount from post 5 Saturday.
Jack Milton 12-1 - Todd Pletcher trainee has looked good in his last two starts - a second last time out in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 2 followed a great win in the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile April 10. Before that he failed to place in two starts - a fourth in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes February 21 followed a ninth in the Woodbine Mile in September. He also had a two race win streak at this time last year- the Grade 3 Poker Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths in June at Belmont Park and an Allowance Optional Claiming May 1 and had four straight third place finishes in graded stakes action. Jack Milton looks to carry on the momentum he's gained from his last two starts with Corey Nakatani in the irons of the 124 pound highweight from the outside post.
Magic Artist 12-1 - Irish bred colt makes his North American debut after 13 starts in Europe yielded three wins, five seconds and a third place finish. He won the Group 3 Premio Ambrosiano at Milan in April, had a win in a Group 3 race a year ago in Germany and was second last time out in a Group 1 race in Rome in May. Magic Artist has raced in top company all over Europe with some decent results - hopes are she can carry that over to North America. Christian Demuro has been tabbed to ride from post 9.
Slumber 15-1 - Chad Brown pupil had two wins, a second and two third place finishes in eight starts in Great Britain before debuting in North America in November, 2011 with a fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. In 2013 he had three starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Saratoga being the best result. He had five starts in 2014 including an OK second in the minor Bowl Game Stakes in October, a third in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes in March, and a decent third in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes February 15. Slumber started 2015 with consecutive seconds - the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap in February and the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Handicap in March and most recently finished fifth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 2. He has 20 career starts with four wins, four seconds and four third place finishes and will be looking for his first stakes score Saturday. He starts from post 7 with Irad Ortiz aboard.
Biz The Nurse 15-1 - Thomas Albertrani trainee has placed in 11 of 13 career starts - six wins, three seconds and a third place finish. He looked good in Italy before shipping in winning a Group 1 and two Group 2 races and placing in five other stakes and he did win an Allowance Optional Claiming in his first North American start at Gulfstream March 7. He has only one other start on North American soil - a fourth place finish in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland April 18. Biz The Nurse looks for his first graded stakes score in North America Saturday in so-so form when he leaves from gate 8 with Joel Rosario in the irons.
Hyper 20-1 - Chad Brown entry has 22 career starts with 10 wins, six seconds and three third place finishes and enters off a respectable third behind Twilight Eclipse and War Dancer in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes here May 9 his first race in 18 months. Before the layoff was an eighth place finish in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap way back in November, 2013, a good second in the prestigious Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International October 27, a win in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park September 7, a win in the minor John's Call Stakes at Saratoga July 31 and a very nice second in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup in June. Hyper looks to get back to his summer/2013 form and a third place finish last time out appears to have been a good start. Julien Leparoux has been tabbed to ride from the rail.
Legendary 20-1 - British bred Niall Saville trained gelding has 22 career starts with six wins, five seconds and two third place finishes. He has looked OK since shipping to North America - four wins, a second and a third place finish in eight starts but has failed to place in his last three overall. He enters off a fifth in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes May 16, a fourth in the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile and a fifth in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct November 15. Before that was a terrific win in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes in October and a nice win in the minor Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park in September. Legendary will be looking for a strong bounce back this week when he departs from gate 6 with Edgar Prado aboard.
General A Rod 20-1 - Todd Pletcher trainee raced all three legs of last year's Kentucky Derby finishing seventh in the Belmont, an OK fourth in the Preakness and eleventh in the Kentucky Derby. He was third before that in the Grade 1 Florida Derby last March 29 after a second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth February 22 and a win in the minor Gulfstream Park Derby in his third career start. Last time out was a somewhat disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 18 after a win in the minor Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay March 7, a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming and seven months away from the track. General A Rod now has three wins, two seconds and a third place finish in 11 career starts and will be looking for a breakthrough in graded stakes company in his first start on grass with the legendary John Velazquez in the saddle from post 10.
Race 10 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:46 PM.
||Big Blue Kitten
||I. Ortiz, Jr.
||Biz The Nurse (IRE)
||Magic Artist (IRE)
||General a Rod