Balto Star, Cetewayo Lead Talented Field in W.L. McKnight
Updated: Friday, December 26, 2003 4:27 PM
Posted: Thursday, December 25, 2003 8:36 AM
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Balto Star, winning the Red Smith.
Anstu Stable's Balto Star and Dr. John Chandler's Cetewayo are millionaire grade I winners ranking high in the nation's distance turf division and will be among the favorites in Saturday's $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. II) at Calder.
The two east coast stars face a formidable challenger in the field of 12 entered in the 12-furlong turf test. Prince Saud bin Khaled's Continuously is due to be flown in from California on Tuesday for trainer Bobby Frankel.
Balto Star will have John R. Velazquez aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 5-year-old Glitterman gelding won the United Nations Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park last summer and went wire-to-wire last out to capture the Red Smith Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct on Nov. 22 over a soft course.
Balto Star is a highly versatile campaigner in terms of surface, but is a confirmed front-runner, dangerous on either firm or yielding ground. Winner of the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) as a 3-year-old, the Kentucky homebred has made his last six starts on turf.
Jockey Rene Douglas rides 9-year-old Cetewayo, shipping in from trainer Michael Dickinson's Tapeta training center in northern Maryland. The homebred His Majesty horse rallied from last of 11 in the Red Smith to finish third, beaten a neck for second in a good effort.
Jockey Eibar Coa picks up the mount on 4-year-old Continuously, who finished second last out in the Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. I) by a nose to Frankel-trained stablemate Epicentre on Nov. 22. However, Continuously moved up to first after the stewards disqualified Epicentre to third.
Completing the body of the field for the 32nd running of the W.L. McKnight are Art Variety, Final Prophecy, Gran Cesare, Macaw, Prodigus, Rowans Park, Runaway Dancer, Sir Brian's Sword and Thompson Rouge. In Hand and Father Bryan's Gem are on the also-eligible list.
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