Bailey Guides Atlando to Knickerbocker Win

(from Belmont Park report)
Jerry Bailey, who guided Saint Liam to victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic, powered by Dodge (gr. I), closed out the 2005 Belmont fall meeting on Sunday afternoon by guiding Irish-bred Atlando to a neck victory over Certifiably Crazy in the $150,000 Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT).

Gary Tanaka's Atlando rallied late in the 1 1/8-mile event and was along just in time, finishing in 1:50 4/5 on a course labeled "good." The Knickerbocker was to have been run on Friday, but rain last week forced its postponement.

Certifiably Crazy set a slow pace – :25; :50 1/5; 1:14 3/5 – while Atlando lingered at the rear of the pack in his American debut. The 4-year-old Hernando gelding, trained by Pascal Bary, then surprised everyone, including Bailey.

"The pace was just far too fast for me," Bailey said. "Even though it was slow on the board, my horse just couldn't keep up. The ground was so dug up on the inside, I just wheeled him out. I didn't think I had a chance to hit the board as we were turning for home. He sure had a last, furious eighth."

That final rally got him up for his fifth win in 13 starts. The $90,000 winning share pushed his career earnings to $203,765.

Atlando, carried 116 pounds, taking 10 pounds off from his previous start, a third-place finish in a group III race at Maisons-Laffitte in France. He paid $12.60, $7.20 and $4.80 to win as the third choice in a field of 10.

Certifiably Crazy, coming off a 4 1/4-length win in the Cole Handicap for New York breds, returned $5.90 and $5.50 with Cornelio Velasquez aboard.

It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Rousing Victory ($6.60) and Javier Castellano in third.

He was followed by 2-1 favorite We All Love Aleyna, Battle Chant, Request for Parole, Cottage, Ecclesiastic, Latino Magic and Sir Walter Rahy.

Evening Attire and Ice Wynnd and Fire were scratched as main-track only entrants. Saint Stephen was scratched by his trainer.

Racing in New York resumes at Aqueduct on Wednesday.

(Chart, Equibase)