It’s a Close Call in The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker Handicap – Grade II
BEL   Race #6   1 1/8m   InTurf   Graded Stake
Purse $200.000  For Three Year Olds And Upward.

1  Cannon                  Maxmillion Farm    Castellano J J   118

The turf king sends this one here without much chance on known form but when you look at his 1.34 and 2 recent work and his trainers record with obscure turf horses in stakes races you must take him very seriously off the ace draw. He has looked weak at the end of his races recently but had proven before that he can see out this trip so all is not lost on that front. I can’t see him being good enough but i am pretty sure he will out run his form.

2  Sweeping Dragonville   Drabfantasy    Ortiz I Jr   119

Like many from this stable he is pretty lightly raced and sent very quickly from maidens to stakes races with very little education between. He ran very close in the Dania Beach and the American Turf before a good sixth in the Queens Plate and after his on pace win in the ungraded Regent Stakes last time he looks to be well placed in this race. My biggest negative for him is that he is much worse off that he would be at weight for age so for that reason despite a competitive draw i cannot see him winning.

3  Stormy Bello    Joshua Stables    Bravo J   120

Bought as an eight year old at auction after seemingly coming to the end of his career he has been completely reinvigorated by coming back to the turf where he has had most of his success. He ran huge in the Fourstardave Handicap to be a neck second and was pretty competitive in the WO Mile last time before weakening out of it late on. You can never say never at HRP something his former trainer would’ve been thinking after they sold him and there are plenty f good reason this old war horse can win this race.

4  Winter Solstice    Maxmillion Farm    Lezcano J   120

Another from the turf king he is a three year old with plenty of upside but with 120Lbs is way worse off than he would be at weight for age. Bought for just ten dollars the wizard of the turf did something even his very successful former trainer couldnt do and turned him into a stakes horse that is working as well as most of the BC turf entrants.His win in the Saranac last time was very game and this gate will suit his style of racing perfectly. He may be worse off at the weights but that may not be enough ti stop him winning.

5  Condo                  Diablo Diablo    Ortiz J L   118

A fair sort he has improved this year running third in the Louisville Handicap and running a decent sixth in the Arlington Million. His works are good and he gets in light with a decent draw so is sure to be competitive. This trip looks ideal and he is a good each way prospect.

6  Grounded In Reality   Mb Stables    Saez L                 118

On his half length fourth in the Showmaker Mile he would be very competitive with bottom weight. As usual i struggle to see how he can be rated the same as Condo but Mb knows the handicapping system very well and always gets good horses in these races with light weights. His works are very sharp and this may be just the race for him to break through into Graded stakes winning form.

7  Kamala                  Mb Stables    Carmouche K   118

Bought for a hundred dollars as a seven year old it is clear that Mb Stables thought there was something left in this consistent veteran. He ran well in open allowance company at WO before running a little flat in the DMR Handicap and though he obviously still retains the ability to be competitive in races like this i cannot see him winning.

8  Rebel Force    Wolfs Den    Rosario J   118

He had a good year as a three year old but has struggled a little as so many do to build on that form as a four year old. His best three year old form would see him go well and his works are pretty good so he gets a chance with a light weight.

9  General White    Eastern Equine    Cancel E   118
This six year old was very poor last time out but that may be more about his hatred of an off track than any decline in his form. He ran a close fifth in the Whittingham in the early part of the year and has had a short campaign so far which may see him advantaged as a fresher horse than most. Like every man and his dog at the moment he is working well and it wouldnt be a complete shock if he ran a good race.

10  Expressly    Nakamura Stables   Franco M   121

Lumped with top weight he is looking to make up 13 lengths on Stormy Bello on Fourstardave form but as we know that means zilch at HRP and there certainly wont be that between them again today. A game win in the AP Handicap prior to that was pretty good and like everything with a pulse he is working like a BC winner so he may run well but the top weight and not exactly dominant form will make it very hard for him.

11  Moms Guy    Mb Stables    Alvarado J   118

The third entry from the stable this seven year old has run 42 races for 9 wins and although admirably consistent i wonder if he still has a big enough turn of speed to beat the best of these. He won an optional claimer at GG last time by open air but the significance in that was that he made the running so we may see him rabbitting from the wide gate for his stable companions today.

12  Devilish Luck    D J C Racing Stables   Velazquez J R   121

The joint top weight, the difference being this one probably deserves it with some great form this year. His best races have come in defeat most notably in the Manhattan where he was a neck second and the Sword Dancer where he was also second. Both those efforts are a class above his rivals but he has to cope with top weight and the car park draw two things that will really make it hard for him.


I like Devilish Luck but i fear the handicapper and draw lottery have put paid to his chances so it is to Mb Stables i must go for the winner in the shape of Grounded In Reality. The turf kings runners are sure to go well and i rather expect the three year old to go very close despite being worse off at the weights.

Categories: Grade II, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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