A compact field of five will go 9 furlongs on the Belmont Park inner turf in Sunday’s $150,000 Knickerbocker (G2).
The pace will be dawdling, with #5 Breaking the Rules taking a small lead over #4 En Wye Cee in the early stages.
#1 OLYMPICO — Gelded 5-year-old was a strong runner-up in the race in 2019 and gets the rail for his third run off the shelf. Chad Brown pupil is a Grade 3 winner over soft turf at Belmont, and he moves up if there is moisture in the ground on Sunday. Irad will pilot the late runner.
#2 SEISMIC WAVE — Tapit chestnut registered a fine second-place result on the course in the Poker (G3) three back. Kentucky-bred from the Mott shedrow comes in fresh with a steady string of morning moves, and his best will give him a chance late beneath Castellano.
#3 DEVAMANI — Second from the Brown barn is winless from five tries in 2020, but he did record a fine second in the Fort Marcy (G3) here in June. Dubawi gelding takes the blinkers off after a one-race experiment with the hood, and the 6-year-old will be tough to deny with his top performance in the Knickerbocker. Rosario will be in the silks.
#4 EN WYE CEE — Wildcard from the Pletcher barn was a neck third in a Saratoga allowance tilt two prior in his lone turf outing to date. Declaration of War colt aced an off-the-turf allowance race most recently when posting a lifetime best Brisnet Speed figure, and he has as much room for improvement as any contender in the field as well.
#5 BREAKING THE RULES — War Front 5-year-old draws well outside of the small cast for McGaughey. Phipps homebred is 2-for-3 on the Belmont green, and he is the lone runner in the field with ample tactical speed as well. I expect the dark bay to be forcing the tempo early, and getting the jump on the deep closers turning for home under Johnny V.
- $40 Exacta: 5 with 3 ($40)