Blacktype fended off a late bid from favored Hi Happy to take the $200,000 Knickerbocker (G2) at Belmont Park on the Columbus Day program Monday, becoming the fourth two-time winner and race history and giving trainer Christophe Clement a record seventh victory in the race.
Sent to the lead from the start by jockey Joel Rosario, Blacktype led by no more than 1 1/2 lengths through fractions of :24, :47.45, and 1:11.27. Hi Happy took a run at the long-time leader in the final furlong, but was repelled by a neck in a time of 1:48.35 for 1 1/8 miles on the good inner turf.
“I was a little bit worried, because to make the lead, I was hoping not to use him too much. But as usual, Rosario rode a great race,” Clement said. “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. We all make it more complicated. We forget about it, but racing needs to be fun, as well.”
Owned by Jump Sucker Stable, Blacktype paid $9.50 as the second choice. Inspector Lynley finished third and was followed by Revved Up, Night Prowler, and Aquaphobia.
Blacktype joins Shady Character (1974-75), Charge d’Affaires (1999-2000), and Boisterous (2011-12) as two-time winners of the Knickerbocker. Clement, who won his first Knickerbocker in 1993, also trained Charge d’Affaires.
The French-bred Blacktype has now earned $971,335 from a record of 36-12-3-8. In addition to his two tallies in the Knickerbocker, the seven-year-old son of Dunkerque also captured the Commonwealth Turf Cup (G2) and Oceanport (G3) in 2016.
Clement also trained Lonely Road to 18-1 upset win, also by a head, in the $150,000 Matron (G3), the historic two-year-old filly race being run on the turf for the first time. David Cohen rode the daughter of Quality Road to score over Monette and 3-2 favorite Entirely in a time of 1:10.88 for owner Robert Evans.