Walter Swinburn's Legendary took the lead at the top of the stretch to pull away convincingly in the Grade 3, $200,000 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Up With the Birds closed from the back of the pack to finish second; Mshawish was third. Final time for the nine furlongs over a yielding turf surface was 1:51.65.
Trained by Niall Saville, Legendary started his career in Great Britain, winning twice in thirteen starts. Since coming to the states, the gelding has now won four of six, including the Japan Racing Association Stakes last time out at Laurel Park.
“This is my first graded stakes; this horse won my first stake a month ago,” said winning trainer Saville. “I'm very, very pleased. I was a little nervous with the long stretch here, but they weren't catching him. It's a huge honor to train for Walter Swinburn, and for them to send me a horse like this it's just been great. I'd won at Saratoga Race Course and at Aqueduct Racetrack, but until this year I hadn't gotten it done at Belmont. This race had been the goal.”
Jockey Sheldon Russell was aboard for the Knickerbocker win.
“It was a perfect set up,” Russell said. “I know the inside horses had a little bit of speed; I was happy that he broke well and put me in a great spot with such a short run into the first turn. After then, well, he's so good. As long as he's on the outside, he comes home real good. Being from England, he'd run on softer courses, so I knew today wasn't going to be a problem for him.”
Bred in Great Britain by Genesis Green Stud, Ltd., Legendary is a 5-year-old son of Darley stallion Exceed and Excel and out of Red Carnation (Polar Falcon).
Pace-setting Plainview finished fourth, followed by Speaking of Which and Winning Cause. Za Approval, Tricky Hat, and Easter Gift were all scratched out of the race.
View the full Equibase chart here.
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