Clement barn closes solid week with victories in G2 Knickerbocker, G3 Matron
by NYRA Press Office
Trainer Christophe Clement ended his successful October Festival of Racing weekend on a high note, saddling a trio of winners on Monday’s holiday card at Belmont Park, capped by Blacktype’s second Grade 2, $200,000 Knickerbocker victory and Lonely Road’s ground-saving run to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Matron.
Jump Sucker Stable’s Blacktype, a 7-year-old gelding making an 11-day turnaround following an allowance win on September 27, took command early in the Knickerbocker for 3-year-olds and up on the grass and never relinquished, holding off the favored Hi Happy to kick off the stakes action on Columbus Day.
Breaking from post 4 with Joel Rosario aboard, Blacktype was sent to the lead in the field of six with Night Prowler and 8-5 favorite Hi Happy closely stalking, setting fractions of 24 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.65 for the half.
Hi Happy made a run to the front, challenging Blacktype at the sixteenth-pole, but Blacktype held off the threat, securing the victory by a neck. He completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in a final time of 1:48.35 on the inner turf course listed as good.
He returned $9.50 for a $2 win wager and earned his second victory in the Knickerbocker, after capturing the race last year. The French-bred son of Dunkerque increased his career earnings to $965,835.
“I was a little bit worried because to make the lead, I was hoping not to use him too much, said Clement. “But as usual, Rosario rode a great race. He said he was doing well on the backstretch. It worked out. He won this race last year and likes Belmont. You know the turf is not firm, it’s good today. It was OK to take a shot.”
Racing back on short rest, Clement was satisfied with the win but look to give Blacktype a bit more rest before targeting the $150,000 Artie Schiller on November 10 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Following Hi Happy in second was Inspector Lynley, Revved Up , Night Prowler and Aquaphobia.
Later on the card, Robert S. Evans’ Lonely Road stalked from an inside position and powered through a tight opening along the hedge to earn her first stakes victory in the Matron for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs on the inner turf.
It was the first try on grass for the homebred Quality Road filly and fourth start overall. She finished eighth last time out in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on July 20 at Saratoga Race Course.
Ridden in the Matron by David Cohen, Lonely Road settled about two lengths behind the pacesetting Egoli, who took the field of 11 through fractions of 21.91 and 45.57. Egoli began to tire at the top of the stretch and Lonely Road slipped through a seam on the inside and took control in the stretch. Entirely, the 3-2 favorite, began to advance at the eighth pole, but Lonely Road dug in, holding off a two-pronged challenge from Entirely and last-to-first closer Monette.
Monette got up for second, a half-length ahead of Entirely. Into the South, Guacamole, Tradeable, Jaded Lady, Malibu Mischief, Egoli, Jazzy J, and Questionoftheday completed the order of finish. Dragic was scratched.
The final time was 1:10.88. Sent off at 18-1, Lonely Road returned $39.40.
It was the fifth victory in 11 starts this week for the Clement barn, which sent out Disco Partner and Have At It to stakes wins on Saturday.
“They've all been running well, so I'm very happy,” said Clement, who also won Race 7, a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance, with Sister Sunday. “We were very much affected by bad weather at the start of the meet in September, which is why we were a bit slow. Now that we can get to run on the grass unfortunately, I have mostly grass horses and I don't have another Tonalist in the barn at the moment, but we'll have to work on that.”