The Shug McGaughey trained Boisterous seeks his third consecutive win in the $200,000 Knickerbocker (G3) at Belmont Park on Saturday, taking on 10 foes that will go 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course.
He won the 2011 running paying $4.10 and last year returned the exact same amount to his backers.
With rain in the forecast for Thursday through Saturday, there is a good chance the turf course will be yielding, which will be no problem for the son of Distorted Humor, who won the Man o’ War (G1) over turf labeled as good at Belmont Park in July.
Yielding or soft turf will not suit the morning line favorite Za Approval, who will likely scratch according to his trainer Christophe Clement. The gelding was scratched out of the Fourstardave (G2) and Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga due to the condition of the turf.
The co-feature on Saturday’s card at Belmont Park is the $200,000 Athenia (G3) for fillies and mares that will go 1 1/16 miles on the turf. A field of seven will go on turf (there are three main track only entrants) led by the Chad Brown trained Samitar, who is coming off a win in the restricted Speed Boat at Saratoga. The filly is perfect in two trips over the Belmont Park turf.
Clement entered the Grade 3 turf winner Ruthenia, but stated the fill may also scratch if the turf comes up yielding.
There is turf action coming up at Keeneland on Saturday as well, with a field of nine lining up in the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (G1) at 1 1/8 miles.
The race drew a tough field that includes Garden City (G1) winner Alerite, Lake George (G2) winner Kitten’s Dumplings and I’m Already Sexy, who ships in from Arlington Park where she won the Pucker Up (G3) in her last outing.
All of the stakes action will be included in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 7 The Knickerbocker (G3) Post time 4:02 ET
11 Boisterous 7-2
9 Paris Vegas 10-1
6 Howe Great 6-1
2 Mr. Commons 6-1
Boisterous is looking to win this race for the third year in a row and he does his best running over the Belmont Park turf, winning six of 10 in his career. Last out the Shug McGaughey trainee checked in third in the Bowling Green Handicap (G2) as the beaten chalk and had a tough trip. He tracked the early pace, had to check hard while cutting the corner on the far turn while down along the inside and hit the hedge, angled back out to the outside but could not get to the top pair late. This guy has done some of his best running on ground with some give to it and won the Man o’ War (G1) over ground labeled as good three back over the grass here. With the likely scratch of Za Approval if the turf comes up yielding, our top pick is going to be less than the 7-2 morning line.
Paris Vegas is coming into the race off a close up third in the Whos to Pay over good turf here, beaten a couple of heads for the top spot. Two back the gelding ran a good second to Silver Max in the Bernard Baruch (G2) over yielding turf, the winner coming back to win the off the turf Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), beating reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan. The Tom Voss trainee does not hit the winner’s circle often, just twice in 19 starts on turf, but this guy has shown he can handle off turf and is going to be a decent price in this spot.
Howe Great is coming off a third place finish in the Cliff Hanger (G3) at Monmouth Park. Two back he was no match for Silver Max in the Oceanport (G3), settling for the runner up spot. The stretch out to nine furlongs will suit this guy but he has done most of his best work on turf on firmer footing. He has landed in the exacta in nine of his 14 starts on grass.
WIN: Boisterous to win at 2-1 or better.
EXACTA: 9,11 / 18.104.22.168
TRIFECTA: 9,11 / 2,6,9,11 / 2,6,9,10,11
Michael Dempsey’s Breeders’ Cup Report $34.95 (Fri-Sat)
Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the Friday and Saturday card from Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2.
The Breeders’ Cup offers 15 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Santa Anita Park.