June 24, 2024

Silver Knott takes gold in Man o’ War

Silver Knott wins the Man o'War Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photography / Credit to Joe Labozzetta)

Under a beautifully judged ride by Flavien Prat, Silver Knott blew past odds-on Godolphin stablemate Nations Pride and streaked clear in Saturday’s $400,000 Man o’ War (G2) at Aqueduct.

The Charlie Appleby pupil was reversing the ostensible pecking order for the second straight race, suggesting that next time he deserves top billing. In the April 20 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland, Silver Knott leveraged his superior tactical position to win by daylight, leaving odds-on Bold Act behind in a belated third.

The race shape was different in the Man o’ War, but once again, jockey Flavien Prat had Silver Knott in the best spot. The pace was sure to be more demanding at Aqueduct, with the presence of Naipaul Chatterpaul’s free-wheeling So High. Prat accordingly settled Silver Knott several further lengths back in third, still within handy range.

But Frankie Dettori was more aggressive on Nations Pride, sending the 9-10 shot into a chasing position. Granted, he wanted to ensure that Nations Pride was into the game, and not napping off the layoff. In so doing, however, he found himself nearer than ideal to the 43-1 pacesetter.

As So High reeled off splits of :24.09, :48.09, 1:13.48, and 1:38.08 on the good turf, Nations Pride was all alone in second. He had no difficulty putting away So High turning for home, but the real race was just beginning.

Silver Knott, who was traveling even better, was brimming with momentum at the top of the lane. Nations Pride could offer no resistance as Silver Knott bounded away by 4 1/2 lengths. Nor could Nations Pride salvage a Godolphin exacta, as he succumbed to Ohana Honor late and wound up third.

Ohana Honor stayed on to collar Nations Pride by a neck for second. There was a 4 1/2-length gap back to Tawny Port in fourth, followed by Kertez, So High, a slow-starting Greek Order, Harry Hood, and Rocket and Roll.

Clocking 1 3/8 miles in 2:13.80, Silver Knott rewarded his loyalists with $10.20. The Lope de Vega gelding was earning his fourth stakes victory, following the 2022 Solario (G3) and Autumn (G3) during his juvenile season as well as the Elkhorn.

If not for a checkered passage in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), Silver Knott might well have won that photo instead of missing narrowly to Victoria Road. His 2023 campaign was a tale of minor awards in the Pennine Ridge (G2), Secretariat (G2), Twilight Derby (G2), and Hollywood Derby (G1), where he appeared to be crying out for more distance. Silver Knott finally got it in the Elkhorn, and the Man o’ War ratified that he’s a major player in the U.S. turf division.

Silver Knott’s stamina is no mystery, since his dam, God Given, won the 2018 Park Hill (G2) over the St Leger (G1) distance at Doncaster. The Nathaniel mare also captured the Prix Minerve (G3), Pinnacle (G3), and famously the Premio Lydia Tesio (G1) for retiring trainer Luca Cumani. God Given is herself a half-sister to multiple Group 1-winning highweight Postponed.

Bred by St Albans Bloodstock in Great Britain, Silver Knott commanded a shade over $1 million as a Tattersalls October yearling. The bay is getting close to recouping that figure on the racetrack, bankrolling $873,271 from his 14-5-2-4 line. As a four-year-old gelding, he’s well on course for seven figures, as long as he remains sound and healthy.