Boisterous, a six-time winner on the turf at Belmont Park, on Saturday
will attempt win his third straight Grade 3 Knickerbocker for
3-year-olds and up.
The $200,000 Knickerbocker will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the
inner turf course and will be complemented by the Grade 3 Athenia for
turf fillies and mares.
In 2011, Boisterous earned his first graded stakes win when he captured
that year's edition of the Knickerbocker. Since then, he has won the
2011 and 2012 renewals of the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct
Racetrack, the 2012 Fort Marcy and Knickerbocker at Belmont, the 2013
Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park, and Belmont's 2013 Grade 1 Man
After winning the 1 3/8-mile Man o' War, Boisterous finished eighth in
the Grade 1, 1 ½-mile Sword Dancer Invitational in August at Saratoga
Race Course and was a troubled third in the Grade 2, 1 ¼-mile Bowling
Green Handicap on September 7 at Belmont.
In the Bowling Green, Boisterous loomed boldly at the top of the
stretch before checking sharply and brushing the hedge while racing in
traffic. He finished 2 ½ lengths behind the winner, Hyper.
Boisterous, a Phipps Stable homebred trained by Hall of Famer Shug
McGaughey, has three wins in five starts at 1 1/8 miles on the turf,
with two of those wins coming in 2011 and 2012 runnings of the
Knickerbocker and the third in this year's Monmouth Stakes.
"He ran in the Arlington Million last year and ran fine [in the
Knickerbocker]. He'll be sharp enough," said McGaughey. "We'll see if
he's good enough. His race in the Bowling Green was a good race. He was
unlucky to lose; he came up on the rail and got stopped."
McGaughey considered running Boisterous in the Grade 1, 1 ½-mile Joe
Hirsch Turf Classic on September 28 before deciding the Knickerbocker
would be a better spot for the 6-year-old son of Distorted Humor.
"When [jockey John Velazquez] checked him that jarred him up a little,
which is why he wasn't exactly right for the Joe Hirsch," said
McGaughey. "I was worried about running him a mile and a half, and if he
wasn't 105 percent I didn't think it'd be worth taking the chance."
Javier Castellano takes over aboard Boisterous, who was installed at 7-2 on the morning line and drew post position 10.
Although James Covello and James Dolan's Swift Warrior has been trained
by Belmont Park-based trainer John Terranova since the spring of 2011,
the 5-year-old has made only one start in the New York and has never
competed at Belmont.
A six-time stakes winner, Swift Warrior opened his 2013 campaign with
victories in the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup in January at Sam
Houston Race Park and the Grade 3 Tampa Bay in February at Tampa Bay
Downs, then was seventh in the Grade 2 Dixie in May at Pimlico, a close
third in the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup in June at Colonial Downs, and
sixth in the Grade 3 Oceanport in July at Monmouth Park. He returned to
winning form last time out when he took the PTHA President's Cup on
September 14 at Parx Racing.
"He won stakes during the winter at Tampa Bay Downs and in Texas, and
last year he did win [the restricted Win Stakes] at Saratoga," said
Terranova. "It just so happens that the right spots for him in terms of
timing haven't been here at home. He has a few quirks, but we have them
pretty well in mind now that he's 5. He seems to be in good form coming
off the win last time at Parx."
Irad Ortiz will ride Swift Warrior, 8-1 on the morning line, from post 2.
Wachtel Stable's Tetradrachm, who began his career with trainer Paul
McGee, has made two starts since being transferred to Hall of Famer Bill
Mott during the summer. The 4-year-old gelding won an optional claimer
by three lengths on August 3 at Saratoga, then was third, beaten 8 ¼
lengths, over yielding ground in the Spa's Grade 2 Bernard Baruch
Handicap on August 31. The winner of the Bernard Baruch, Silver Max,
returned to upset reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan on Saturday in the
Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile over Keeneland's Polytrack.
"His biggest problem there was the turf was fairly soft [in the Bernard
Baruch], which is why we scratched him [out of the Who's To Pay
overnight stakes on September 28 at Belmont]," said Leana Willaford,
assistant to Mott. "We didn't want to run him with cut in the ground."
Tetradrachm, 8-1, will depart from post 9 with Jose Lezcano aboard.
Another Knickerbocker entrant who performs better on firm ground is Za
Approval, a Live Oak homebred who won the Grade 3 Appleton in March at
Gulfstream and Grade 3 Red Bank in May at Monmouth. In his two most
recent starts, he was a distant second in both the Shoemaker Mile in
June at Betfair Hollywood Park and in the Woodbine Mile won by Wise Dan
on September 15.
f Za Approval competes in the Knickerbocker, it will be his first start beyond 1 1/16 miles.
"The [distance] won't be a problem," said trainer Christophe Clement.
"He should be efficient from a mile to a mile an eighth on firm turf. If
it isn't firm, he won't run."
Joel Rosario has the call aboard Za Approval, 3-1, from post 6.
The field also includes graded stakes winners Mr. Commons, Howe Great,
and London Lane, as well as Exclusive Strike, Plainview, and Paris
Vegas. Percussion, Praetereo, and Don Dulce were entered for the main