Silver Knott Dominates in G2 Man o’ War

May 11, 2024

Silver Knott takes the Man o’ War (Joe Labozzetta)

By Lynne Snierson – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Carrying the famed blue silks of global powerhouse Godolphin, the British-bred Silver Knott displayed his explosive turn of foot as he secured a dominating victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Man o’ War contested at 1 3/8 miles over the inner turf by older horses at Belmont at The Big A.

The Man o’ War, named for one of the greatest racehorses of all time, was part of a lucrative 11-race card which featured four graded stakes, including the Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan won by Antiquarian; the Grade 3, $175,000 Runhappy captured by Joey Freshwater; and the Grade 3, $175,000 Beaugay which saw Neecie Marie take the spoils.

In making his second start as a 4-year-old, the Charlie Appleby-trained Silver Knott notched back-to-back Grade 2 affairs at a marathon distance. The gelded son of Lope de Vega and the Nathaniel mare God Given began his 2024 campaign with a score in the 1 1/2-mile Elkhorn with Flavien Prat in the irons at Keeneland on April 20.

With Prat back aboard for the Man o’ War, Silver Knott was rated patiently on the inner turf course rated “good” behind frontrunning So High and his Godolphin stablemate Nations Pride, who was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of nine, while Ohana Honor followed in fourth position. They raced in that order into the first turn and along the backstretch as comfortable splits of 24.09 seconds 48.09, 1:13.48, 1:38.08, and 2:02.07 were established.

Entering the far turn, the multiple Grade/Group 1-winning and globe-trotting Nations Pride, who had been an uncharacteristic seventh in the Grade 1 Bahrain International Trophy last out on November 17, edged closer to the leader as Silver Knott tracked them in third position.

As the pacesetter faded, the Frankie Dettori-piloted Nations Pride took over the lead near the quarter-pole and was in command in the upper stretch. But he was no match for Silver Knott, who was steadily gaining and assumed the front inside the eighth pole. Silver Knott kicked clear to cross the wire 4 1/2 lengths in front in the final time of 2:13.80. Ohana Honor closed willingly through the lane to overtake Nations Pride, who was a neck behind in third.

“It worked out well. He got himself into the race and I was able to follow Frankie the whole way around and he just poured it on. It seemed like there were one or two horses that could go and make a really strong pace. I was intent on breaking well and getting into a good position, but after that I didn’t know exactly how it would set up,” said Prat. “Around the turn, I was traveling super well and when I called on him, the way he responded I thought I could get home.”

Appleby, one of the premier trainers in Europe and Dubai, has enjoyed a remarkable level of success in North America also in recent years. His assistant Alex Merriam was pleased by the effort of both runners.

“Charlie spoke to Frankie and Flavien and I think Frankie thought So High was going to go forward, and he was keen to stalk behind him, so it made sense for the other fellow [Prat] to get a lead,” Merriam said. “They’ve gone a nice pace which Flavien said suits this fellow. They went steady enough last time and going a stronger gallop probably suits him better. They both traveled around there nicely – Nations had his first run back for a while and Frankie mentioned he was a bit rusty, but he ran his race and just got tired towards the end. I thought the jocks had them in the right place and it worked out well.”

The gelded Silver Knott, who was a $1,035,915 purchase at the 2021 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in the United Kingdom, was stakes placed in his three previous starts, all in America, prior to the Elkhorn. Now with back-to-back Grade 2 scores on his resume, he looks like a horse on the rise and one that relishes the longer distances.

Silver Knott returns a winner (Dom Napolitano)

“I think he [Silver Knott] has [improved]. He’s been gelded and I think the step up in trip has probably helped him. If you look at his pedigree, he’s probably a horse that wants a bit further. He’s done nothing but improve so fingers crossed he keeps going that way,” said Merriam.

Ohana Honor, who is trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, turned in a big effort to earn a Grade 2 stakes placing while taking a major jump in class from the allowance ranks in his last outing. His connections were proud of his performance.

“I had a beautiful trip. He ran his best,” said jockey Kendrick Carmouche. “Those guys had the race set up from the time they left the gate 1 – 2 – 3. I just had to track them and whenever they moved, I had to get my horse out to run. The best horse [Silver Knott] was sitting third and you could see that going around there, but my horse gave me a good kick and run second. I think in a different scenario with a change of tactics in the race, I think I could have won.”

McGaughey added, “I like the way he got ridden. He saved the ground all the way and then he got him out one path. The pace was OK.”

Silver Knott, who was bred by St. Albans Bloodstock in Great Britian, paid $10.20 for a $2 bet. He upped his career earnings to $873,276 with the $220,000 winner’s share of the purse and his record is now 5-2-4 in 14 career efforts.

The complete order of finish was Silver Knott, Ohana Honor, Nations Pride, Tawny Port, Kertez, So High, Greek Order, Harry Hood, and Rocket and Roll.

Both Silver Knott and Nations Pride will remain stateside and could reappear in major stakes races at Saratoga Race Course this summer.

“The plan is for both of them to ship up to Saratoga tomorrow morning and then make a plan from there. We’ll see how they come out of the race,” said Merriam.

Live racing resumes Sunday at Belmont at the Big A with a nine-race card, featuring the Grade 3, $175,000 Soaring Softly in Race 8. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

@jonathanstettin Thank you. This is a truly beautiful tribute to a racing legend. Good to hear the true story of what happened that day.

MargaretR (@RurakMarge) View testimonials

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