After four months on the sidelines but not out of training, Johanna Louise Glen-Teven’s millionaire, Proudinsky , returns to the grass wars Oct. 22 in the $100,000 Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT), a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up at Belmont Park. Originally carded for Oct. 18, the race was moved when inclement weather forced racing off the grass in New York this weekend.
A 6-year-old German-bred son of Silvano, Proudinsky has proven capable in top company on firm or giving ground. He is the Knickerbocker’s 2-1 morning-line favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel in the field of eight plus two main-track-only entries.
Proudinsky has not been in action since opening up a length lead in the stretch before finishing third behind Breeders’ Cup-bound Presious Passion in the Monmouth Stakes in June.
“He’s been working all along,” said Frankel assistant Jose Cuervas. “He’s doing very good right now. We expect him to win. He looks like a million dollars.”
Proudinsky’s principal rivals may wind up being two runners from the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Brave Tin Solider, a 5-year-old son of Storm Cat owned by McLaughlin, enters the Knickerbocker off a photo-finish victory over Pleasant Strike in the Cliff Hanger (gr. IIIT) on Oct. 3 at the Meadowlands. It was the horse’s best performance in 13 starts this year and came over yielding ground.
“He was racing in Dubai last winter with [trainer] Mike De Kock. He has improved quite a bit in New Jersey,” said McLaughlin assistant Artie Magnuson. “He ran on a soft course (in the Cliff Hanger), which he probably likes.”
McLaughlin also will send out Shadwell Stable’s Danak, an Irish-bred 6-year-old son of Pivotal, last seen in August 2008 pulling up in the late stages of the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course. Danak has back class in his corner, however, having missed winning the Arlington Million (gr. IT) in 2007 by 1½ lengths in a six-horse blanket finish. He won the first four races of his career including a group III stakes in Ireland.
Trainer Christophe Clement will run Dion A. Recachina’s popular gelding Operation Red Dawn, who has placed in five of his past six graded stakes runs without winning. The 7-year-old son of Miswaki comes off a half-length loss to Inca King in a $100,000 claiming turf mile event Aug. 24 at Saratoga.
“It’s been very difficult to run that kind of horse this year anywhere because there are very few beaten allowance races,” Clement said. “We didn’t want to run him in graded stakes at Saratoga because graded stakes there are very tough. He should win more often. He’s an older horse that tries.”
Trainer Graham Motion has been shopping for spots for his promising 4-year-old Red Ransom colt Yorktown (8-1), owned by Earle I. Mack. Yorktown was scratched from the grade II Kelso at Belmont when the race came off the turf and then from the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 10 at Keeneland because of soft ground.
Lemon Cream Pie, trained by James Jerkens; Cherokee Speed, trained by James Toner; and Nergal, another Clement runner, complete the field. The Roundhouse, trained by Todd Pletcher, and late supplemental entry Solar Flare, from the barn of Tony Dutrow, will run only if the race comes off the turf.
The Knickerbocker will be run on Belmont's inner turf course.
$100,000 Knickerbocker (gr. IIIT), Oct. 24
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer Odds
1 Proudinsky (GER) J Castellano 124 R J Frankel 2-1
2 Operation Red Dawn (KY) R Maragh 117 C Clement 6-1
3 Brave Tin Soldier (KY) C H Marquez, Jr. 124 K P McLaughlin 3-1
4 Nergal (FR) C Hill 119 C Clement 8-1
5 Cherokee Speed (KY) J Lezcano 117 J J Toner 15-1
6 Yorktown (FR) J R Velazquez 117 H G Motion 8-1
7 Danak (IRE) C H Velasquez 119 K P McLaughlin 6-1
8 Lemon Cream Pie (FL) E Castro 117 J A Jerkens 8-1
AE9 Solar Flare (ARG) (MTO) D Cohen 117 A W Dutrow 8-5
AE10 The Roundhouse (KY) (MTO) J R Velazquez 117 T A Pletcher 5-2