Charge d'Affaires, coming off a nine-month layoff, won the $100,000 Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct for the second straight year on Saturday. The 5-year-old horse, ridden by Jose Santos, won by three-quarters of a length over Devine Wind. Betting favorite Val's Prince came home fifth.
This was the first win in two starts this year for Charge d'Affaires, who was timed for 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf course in 1:49.01. The winner, carrying 115 pounds, earned $60,000 for the owner, Marquise de Moratalla of France.
"I moved him down toward the inside going on the backstretch, and it turned out to be the best thing," said Santos. "By the three-sixteenths pole, I thought Devine Wind might just draw off, but my horse kept running."
Devine Wind was second in the field of seven, a half-length ahead of Understood. Johnny Dollar, Val's Prince, Valid N Bold, and Yankee Dollar completed the order of finish.
Charge d'Affaires returned $11.60, $6.20 and $4.90. Devine Wind paid $5.30 and $5.00 and Understood showed at $9.40. The winning exacta paid $66.
Trained by Christophe Clement the win improves Charge d'Affaires (Kendor--Lettre de Cachet, by Secreto) lifetime record to five wins from 17 starts. Besides the Knickerbocker wins, Charge d'Affaires also won the 1997 Prix Morny (Fr-I) while trained by Alain De Royer-Dupre. Charge d'Affaires was bred in Great Britain by Marquesa de Moratalla. (Chart, Equibase