Knickerbocker Stakes Odds & Racing Predictions

Keep a close eye on the sky before the G3 Knickerbocker Stakes at Aqueduct (at the Big A) on Friday, as the improving turf runner Pioneering Spirit will not appreciate a rainy day when he takes on last year’s winner King Cause and fellow old-timers Rockemperor and Master Piece.

Breeders Cup Odds

Knickerbocker Stakes

G3, $150,000, 1m 1f turf, 3yo+, 3.16pm ET

The weather forecast is just as important as the form guide when it comes to analysing the Knickerbocker, the big event at Aqueduct on Friday, as one of the main plays wants the rain to stay away.

The progressive Pioneering Spirit (7-2) has won five of his last seven, with those two defeats coming on turf officially considered ‘yielding’. The four-year-old likes to hear his hooves rattle, as they did when he strolled away with a mile-sixteenth stakes at Saratoga, and if it stays dry at the Big A then his chance is considerably enhanced.

Moreover, those defeats came at G1 level, which is just as important a factor, so class relief is in his favour whatever the weather throws at him.

James Toner loads both barrels but is aiming high with Siege Of Boston (3-1), who was third at Ellis Park over ten furlongs on his stakes debut – King Cause (8-1) last of 11 – when beaten a length. It is possible that he could move up, and he is preferred to barnmate Commandeer (8-1), who has never even hit the board in five tries at stakes level and has not found the winner’s circle for almost two years.

The greybeard King Cause led every step of the way to win this race 12 months ago but has been utterly inconsistent since then, and his last two starts have been stinkers. He did win a stakes at Lone Star Park over a mile-eighth in June, but he is not getting any better at his age and is hard to like.

His fellow seniors are in a similar position, with Rockemperor (4-1) drawing a blank in his last six and off the board in five, although those were all in higher grade. He missed by just a half-length in the 2023 G3 Singspiel over ten furlongs at Woodbine last time, but it was a moderate contest and he needs to turn back the clock in a big way.

Master Piece (9-2) owns a similar profile, riding a seven-race losing streak and coming off an absolute shocker in the 2023 G1 Arlington Million at Colonial Downs. Back-class only goes so far and he has very little to recommend him.

This is a rematch for St Anthony (6-1) and Wicked Finn (20-1), who filled the exacta in a mile stakes at Monmouth Park when St Anthony was distinctly superior, pulling two and a quarter lengths clear of the late-running Wicked Finn, who was making his stakes debut after a decent run of performances in claimers and allowances.

A 4lb turnaround at the weights gives Wicked Finn a puncher’s chance of flipping the form and both horses could make a bid for the board.

2023 Knickerbocker Stakes Odds

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds from Jazzsports
Wicked FinnJunior Alvarado+2000
King CauseKendrick Carmouche+800
CommandeerDylan Davis+800
St AnthonyJavier Castellano+600
Rockemperor (IRE)Manuel Franco+400
Master Piece (CHI)Irad Ortiz, Jr.+450
Siege of BostonJorge Ruiz+300
Pioneering SpiritJose L. Ortiz+350

The only thing standing in the way of PIONEERING SPIRIT is a wet track, because class relief and unexciting opposition make him hard to oppose.

Check out the recap 2023 Knickerbocker: Pioneering Spirit to Victory

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