Host Comes From Fog to Win Knickerbocker

(from Aqueduct report)
Evening Attire emerged from the foggy turn for home to take the lead in the stretch, but the Chilean-bred Host finished better to take the $150,000 Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIT) on Breeders' Cup Saturday at Aqueduct.

Host, who was ridden by Christopher DeCarlo, overcame a slow start by storming down the middle of the stretch to win the 1 1/8-mile turf race for older horses in 1:49 4/5 over the firm turf. He paid $10, $4.6o and $3.80 while winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Evening Attire, the 3-1 choice in a field of nine. Sailaway, with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, missed the place spot by a head.

"He showed he is the good horse we all think he is," said Tristan Barry, the assistant for trainer Todd Pletcher, who, 25 minutes later, won the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (Gr. 1) at Lone Star Park with Ashado.

Host -- a 4-year-old colt by Hussonet, out of Colonna Traiana*Chi (Roy) -- earned $90,000 for owners Eugene and Laura Melnyk. He is now 6-2-3 from 11 starts with earnings of $195,119.

L'Oiseau d'Argent, under Aaron Gryder, took the lead out of the gate and set fractions of :24 3/5, :49 2/5 and 1:13 4/5 before the field disappeared in the Jamaica Bay fog. As the field straightened for home and returned to view, Evening Attire, the grade I winner who has banked more than $2.3 million, appeared to be in a perfect position to rack up his 12th career victory. Instead, DeCarlo had Host motoring down the outside of the stretch.

"He wasn't really aggressive leaving there like I thought he might be," DeCarlo said. "Once I found myself back there I just sat and waited. When we hit the quarter pole I had to wait for Bridgmohan (on Sailaway) to clear me. Once I got him out he went as fast as any horse I have ever been on for the last quarter mile."

Added Barry: "It didn't look like he was enjoying the trip on the inside. Once the horse on the outside cleared him he got out and absolutely exploded."

Evening Attire, under Jose Espinoza, raced closely from the outset.

"He was a little bit fresh from the beginning," Espinoza said about Evening Attire. "He got a little bit tired, but he handled it well."

The runner-up returned $4.80 and $3.80 while Sailaway's show was $5.70.

Denon, who would have been favored, was scratched.

L'Oiseau d'Argent finished fourth followed by Mr. Light, Dr. Kashnikow, Caesarion, Hotstufanthensome and Balestrini,

(Chart, Equibase)