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Boisterous Gets Class Relief in Knickerbocker

Boisterous, having made two straight starts in Grade 1 races, will cut back in distance and drop in class for Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park.


The Phipps Stable homebred’s last five starts all came at successively longer distances, but that trend will come to an end when he competes in the 1 1/8-mile Knickbocker on the inner turf course, which precedes the Grade 3 Athenia for fillies and mares on Saturday’s card.


Fifth in a one-mile optional claimer in March at Gulfstream Park to begin his 2011 campaign, Boisterous subsequently posted consecutive three-quarter-length victories, taking a 1 1/16-mile allowance event in March at Keeneland and the one-mile Three Coins Up overnight stakes in May at Belmont. The son of Distorted Humor held his own when third in the Grade 1 Man o’ War over 1 3/8 miles in July at Belmont, but disappointed his connections when fifth as the favorite in the Grade 1, 1 ½-mile Sword Dancer Invitational in August at Saratoga Race Course.


“I thought his race in the Man o’ War was a good race, and both [jockey] Johnny [Velazquez] and I were happy with the way he was coming into the Sword Dancer,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “I think he’ll run that distance once he gets it all together, but we were both disappointed with his performance in the Sword Dancer.”


McGaughey decided to regroup with the 4-year-old following the Sword Dancer.


“I decided to back off on him and freshen him up,” said McGaughey. “He’s doing well, feeling good, and looking good.”


Velazquez retains the mount aboard Boisterous, who drew post position 3 and was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Knickerbocker.


Brushwood Stable’s Mr. Ryder enters the Knickerbocker on a three-race winning streak, having followed a pair of optional claimer victories with a neck triumph in his most recent start, the Sussex in July at Delaware Park.


The four-year-old was slated to compete in the Third Martini overnight stakes on September 23 at Belmont but was withdrawn after the turf came up soft.


“He was supposed to run in a prep race two weeks ago, but I passed on that because I didn’t think he liked soft ground,” said Clement. “I don’t mind running on good ground, but I do mind running him on ground that soft. He looks well, so we’ll try [the Knickerbocker] and see what happens.”


Joe Bravo, who rode Mr. Ryder to an allowance win in March at Gulfstream, will be reacquainted with the 4-year-old, who drew the rail and was tabbed as the 7-2 morning-line second choice.


The Knickerbocker will be the first start at Belmont Park for Yummy With Butter, who is based at Monmouth Park with trainer Yvon Belsoeur. In four starts at Monmouth this year, the 7-year-old gelding was second in the Skip Away in May and the Battlefield in July and was a clear winner of the Grade 3 Oceanport in July and the Grade 3 Cliffhanger in September.


The change in venues does not concern Belsoeur, who trains Yummy With Butter for Bruno Schickedanz.


“He’s versatile, and [jockey] Alan Garcia knows the course and will get him in a good position,” said Belsoeur.


Yummy With Butter, the 4-1 morning-line third choice, drew post 2 for the Knickerbocker.


The Knickerbocker field also includes Boots Ahead and Followmyfootsteps, the top two finishers in the Third Martini; Jimmy Simms, second in the Presque Isle Mile; Center Divider, runner-up in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap; and Sleepless Knight and Mata Keranjang, third and fourth in the Cliff Hanger.


The field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker:








Mr. Ryder (KY)

J Bravo


C Clement



Yummy With Butter (ON)

A Garcia


Y Belsoeur



Boisterous (KY)

J R Velazquez


C R McGaughey III



Boots Ahead (KY)

E Castro


G Weaver



Jimmy Simms (KY)

D Cohen


A W Dutrow



Center Divider (KY)

J Lezcano


C C Brown



Mata Keranjang (KY)

R Curatolo


K P McLaughlin



Followmyfootsteps (KY)

A O Solis


T H Voss



Sleepless Knight (KY)

J Rose


K J Breen





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