Belmont Park: How to bet the rescheduled Knickerbocker Stakes
It’s tough to know which horse to bet in Sunday’s Knickerbocker (G2) at Belmont Park, because it’s tough to know which horse(s) will show an interest in setting the pace.
Originally slated to be run last Sunday, the Knickerbocker was postponed a week because of inclement weather. Just five horses have been entered in the rescheduled 1 1/8-mile turf event, and none have shown any desire to employ frontrunning tactics.
This leaves the Knickerbocker with an extremely muddled pace scenario. The early tempo figures to be snail-like, which turns the Knickerbocker into a homestretch sprint in which the pacesetter — whoever that winds up being — will have a built-in head start.
#5 Breaking the Rules (9-5) is the morning-line favorite and a logical contender. A beautifully bred son of War Front, out of an A.P. Indy mare, Breaking the Rules won a pair of 1 1/16-mile allowance races during the summer and has at least a little bit of tactical speed. He often employs pace-tracking tactics, most notably when he finished second, by a head, in the 2019 Canadian Turf (G3), so he’ll presumably be positioned closer to the lead than most Sunday.
But the biggest danger to shake loose on an uncontested lead is #4 En Wye Cee (2-1). Trained by Todd Pletcher, the lightly raced 4-year-old has spent the majority of his career racing on dirt, where he has won three times against easier competition. He was particularly impressive in a 1 1/8-mile allowance Aug. 29 at Saratoga, where he pressed the pace over a muddy track and romped by six lengths, over next-out winner Empty Tomb.
Two of En Wye Cee’s victories have come with pace-pressing tactics, which suggests he has the speed to carve out the Knickerbocker pace. Just as importantly, he wasn’t disgraced in his lone run on turf, when he finished third by a neck in a 1-mile allowance at Saratoga. As a son of multiple Group 1-winning turf router Declaration of War, En Wye Cee’s pedigree holds plenty of potential for success on grass.