Phipps Stable’s homebred Boisterous never stopped charging and finally overtook Sleepless Knight in the final 40 yards to win the $100,000 Knickerbocker Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by a half-length Oct. 15 at Belmont Park.
Entering out of consecutive grade I races, 4-year-old Boisterous notched his first graded stakes victory on the yielding inner turf course, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.42. John Velazquez guided the son of Distorted Humor to victory for trainer Shug McGaughey.
The winner improved to 5-0-1 from 13 lifetime starts and upped his earnings to $275,057. He was bred in Kentucky and is out of the Cox’s Ridge mare Emanating.
Boisterous, the even-money favorite, was kept off the pace by Velazquez while Mata Keranjang led the way through soft splits of :25.60, :50.85, 1:15.72. Sleepless Knight tracked in second under Jeremy Rose, took over rounding the second turn and held a 1 1/2-length lead at the eighth-pole.
Boisterous was in contention when they hit the top of the lane but still had a lot of work to do to get to Sleepless Knight. Mr. Ryder also came with a strong move along the inside. Those three all had legitimate chances to win inside the sixteenth-pole but it was Boisterous from the outside who hit the wire first.
Sleepless Knight, sent off at 11-1, settled for second, a neck in front of Mr. Ryder.
Boisterous won the Three Coins Stakes at Belmont in June and then finished third in the grade I Man o’ War in July. He was fifth in the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) in his most recent start Aug. 13.
"I was pleased with the way he finished, which he hadn’t the last two races," McGaughey said. "I’m glad to get him back on track. I’ve had a lot of confidence in him and John’s had a lot of confidence in him. We were a little disappointed in the last two.
"Today, I know it wasn’t Winchester or Cape Blanco, but at least we’re on the right track again. We’ll probably think about the Red Smith (gr. IIT, Nov. 5 at Aqueduct). Maybe we’ll give him the winter off and bring him back next year; see if he can be competitive in the big races.”
Boisterous paid $4.10, $3.,40, and $2.40.
In the Athenia, Denomination covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.17 on the yielding turf. Owned by Ghislaine Head and trained by Christophe Clement, she won by 2 3/4 lengths over even-money favorite Unbridled Humor one start after taking the Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park May 30. Joe Bravo rode the 5-year-old daughter of Smart Strike.
Countess Lemonade was third.
Denomination was bred in Kentucky by Brookdale Thoroughbreds and is out of the Storm Cat mare Dreamlike. She improved to 7-4-3 from 22 starts and earnings of $489,301. Earlier in the year she tallied the Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs.
“Denomination has won three grade 3s this year; she will probably go to the November Fasig-Tipton sale," Clement said. "You couldn’t do much better advertising than just to win today. She hasn’t got that explosive turn of foot, she’s a galloper, it takes her awhile to get going.”
Sent off as the third choice, Denomination paid $11, $3.90, and $3.30.