Live Oak Plantation's 9-year-old gelding Revved Up, who prevailed in the Nov. 10 Bonnie Heath by a desperate nose over Soldier's Dancer, is the 120-pound high weight in the 1 1/2-mile grass test. A full field of 12 plus four also eligibles passed the entry box.
Revved Up has won two of his past three starts for trainer Christophe Clement and has posted three consecutive wins in the Bonnie Heath, which was part of the Florida Million Day program. The state bred son of Sultry Song has won 19 times in a career spanning 41 starts with earnings of $1,500,573. He owns four wins and two seconds in nine starts at the 12-furlong distance. Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard Revved Up when he won Saratoga's John's Call Aug. 19, has the mount.
In the 1 1/8-mile Bonnie Heath, Revved Up cleared his rivals in the stretch but was all out to hold off the late charge of the 3-year-old Soldier's Dancer, who proved to be a trooper in his first try against older horses for trainer David Vivian and owner Herman Heinlein. A Florida-bred Lost Soldier gelding, Soldier's Dancer previously won the Calder Derby (gr. IIIT) in a six-length grass romp Oct. 13.
Soldier's Dancer (116) gained a two-pound swing in his rematch with Revved Up and drew the rail. Cornelio Velasquez is aboard once more.
There are a number of other prospects in the big field, including a past winner of the McKnight -- Trillium Stable’s 7-year-old gelding Dreadnaught, who won it in 2004. Dreadnaught, winless in the last two years, however, will be ridden by Edgar Prado for trainer Thomas Voss.
Dreadnaught is coming off a seventh-place finish in Aqueduct's 11-furlong Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) over a sloppy track Nov. 10. The 14-1 upset winner of that race, the New York-bred Dave, shows up in the McKnight with two victories in his past three starts for trainer Barclay Tagg and owner David M. Stack.
Though a disappointing 11th after setting the pace in the Red Smith, the Marty Wolfson trainee Golden Strategy has won consecutive stakes on the Calder turf by a combined 22 lengths. Those efforts were sandwiched around a third-place showing in the 12-furlong Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs in September.
Another notable challenger in the McKnight is Zabeel Racing International’s Irish-bred 6-year-old gelding Stream of Gold, a close-up fourth last out in the Canadian International (Can-I) at Woodbine on Oct. 21 after a strong runner-up effort behind English Channel in the Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Belmont Park for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
$200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 11, 4:45 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Soldier's Dancer (FL), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Royal Challenger (ON), 117, Javier Castellano
3. Crown Point (KY), 115, Rene R. Douglas
4. Golden Strategy (KY), 114, Julio A. Garcia
5. Dreadnaught (KY), 116, Edgar S. Prado
6. Revved Up (FL), 120, Kent J. Desormeaux
7. Dave (NY), 116, Joe Bravo
8. Presious Passion (FL), 116, Elvis Trujillo
9. Interpatation (KY), 115, Eduardo O. Nunez
10. Bee Charmer (IRE), 115, Jose Lezcano
11. Stream of Gold (IRE), 118, Eddie Castro
12. Kiss the Kid (KY), 114, Mario Madrid
13. Imawildandcrazyguy (FL), 113, Manoel R. Cruz
14. Rehoboth (FL), 112, Edgar S. Prado
15. Bob's Proud Moment (FL), 113, Constantino Hernandez
16. Dancing Forever (KY), 112, Rene R. Douglas
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