December 1, 2023

Pennine Ridge a rebound opportunity for Silver Knott

Victoria Road (left) denies Silver Knott in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

Several horses expected to run well in England’s first classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas (G1) on May 6, instead turned in poor efforts over a rain-saturated course at Newmarket. Among them was Silver Knott, who will look to rebound on Saturday in the $200,000 Pennine Ridge (G2) at Belmont Park.

A two-time Group 3 winner last season for Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby, Silver Knott was a narrowly beaten second to Victoria Road in his lone prior trip to the U.S. for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Keeneland in November. He started at 14-1 for the Guineas, his season debut, but wound up 11th in the field of 14, beaten 17 lengths by Chaldean.

“His Breeders’ Cup run was huge. You could say he was a little unlucky in that race,” said Appleby’s traveling assistant Chris Connett. “It was just a bob of the head of two nice horses.

“His race in the Guineas was not what we expected but he came out of it really well. He might have been a bit rusty with the time off.”

Todd Pletcher, who saddled Sainthood and Emmanuel to victories in the last two editions of the about nine-furlong Pennine Ridge, has two contenders. Far Bridge won his first two outings at Gulfstream over the winter while under the care of Christophe Clement, and then missed by a nose to longshot Webslinger in the American Turf (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day.

“He was able to get through on the inside and couldn’t quite see that horse coming from the outside, but it was a good effort,” Pletcher said.

The other Pletcher trainee is Sharar, a Gun Runner half-brother to champion turf mare Lady Eli. Sharar has raced exclusively in Dubai to this point, but has won two of three prior grass appearances.

Chad Brown relies on Woodhaven S. winner Belouni, recent allowance winner Kalik, and John Battaglia Memorial winner Congruent. Freedom Trail has gone unplaced three times since winning the Awad S. at Aqueduct in October, while Lachaise makes his first appearance since running third to Major Dude in the Pilgrim (G2) last fall.