Violon Sacre unleashed a powerful late run through the
stretch to take Sunday’s 51st
running of the Grade 3, $100,000
Knickerbocker at Belmont
Park by a length over
Ridden by Pablo Fragoso, Violon Sacre dropped back soon
after the start and raced in sixth as Whatsthescript led the field of seven
through an opening half-mile in 51.94 over the yielding turf course. Maneuvered
to the outside on the far turn, the 5-year-old son of Stravinsky began picking
off his rivals and kicked into high gear once in the lane, speeding through the
final furlong in 11.39 to complete the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.62.
“He has a huge turn of foot,” said Patrick Biancone, who
trains Violon Sacre for Bernard Weill. “He seems to be improving with every
race. In Europe, he was just below the good
horses. Some horses come to the United
States and do not acclimate well; he has.”
The victory was Violon Sacre’s third in five starts and
first in a graded stakes since coming to the United
States from France earlier this year.
“Mr. Biancone told me, ‘You know this horse better than me …
just break and sit, and when you turn for home turn him loose’,” said Fragoso,
who has been aboard for all three of Violon Sacre’s stateside wins including
the Battlefield Stakes at Monmouth Park in July and the PTHA President’s Cup at
Parx Racing in his most recent start.
Sent off as the 4-5 favorite by the crowd of 3,914, Violon
Sacre returned $3.70 for a $2 win bet, and earned $60,000 to increase his
bankroll to $489,392. Overall, he is 10-3-0 from 17 lifetime starts.
Whatsthescript, who returned to racing in July after
spending the first part of the year at stud, held on gamely to finish 1 ½
lengths in front of Baletti.
“The plan today was if nobody else went to the lead, then we
were going, and it turned out to be the best thing to do,” said Marcelo Arenas,
assistant to trainer Gary Contessa, of Whatsthescript. “He ran really well, and
he’s a very nice horse.”
Completing the order of finish were War Hoot, Wesley,
Operation Red Dawn, and Interpatation. Presious Passion, Leading On, Midnight
Mischief were scratched, as were Main Track Only entrants Barrier Reef,
Discreet Treasure and Marilyn’s Guy.