War Bomber looks to go from claim to fame in Hill Prince

October 23, 2021

Cross Island Parkway to be closed Sunday

Belmont Park Week 8 stakes probables, Empire Showcase Day – Saturday, October 30

ELMONT, N.Y. – War Bomber, trained by Norm McKnight for owner Bruno Schickedanz, looms a live longshot in Saturday’s 46th running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds going nine furlongs over the Belmont Park inner turf. 

By War Front, the well-related stakes-winner out of the Indian Ridge mare Sun Shower is a full sibling to Group 1-winner Lancaster Bomber and a half-brother to multiple Group 1-winner Excelebration [by Exceed and Excel].

Initially campaigned by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, War Bomber was off the board on debut in March at Gulfstream and returned in June as a gelding when seventh off a three-month layoff in a seven-furlong turf maiden special weight at Woodbine Racetrack.

War Bomber graduated at third asking in a seven-furlong maiden claiming sprint in July at Woodbine. He was claimed next out for $25,000 on August 21 from a rallying score after being steadied at the start in a one-mile inner turf test versus older company.

“I liked the fact that in the next couple of races after being gelded there was a progression of improvement,” McKnight said. “I thought for $25,000 he would be worth the money. His pedigree is impeccable, and the horse looked like he was improving race to race.”

McKnight said he appreciated War Bomber’s competitive spirit in his August 21 coup.

“He had a bad trip that day but I really liked the way he accelerated home,” McKnight said. “It’s not that he beat a lot, but he accelerated home really well. It was visually impressive to me.”

War Bomber rewarded his new connections first up with a two-length score in the one-mile Toronto Cup over firm footing on Woodbine’s E. P. Taylor Turf Course with regular pilot Shaun Bridgmohan aboard.

“When I got him back to the barn I really liked him and he breezed really well, so I elected to go in the stake and it really worked out,” McKnight said. “He [Bridgmohan] told me the key was trying to get him to relax behind horses and let him run on end. That’s what he did in the Toronto Cup and it looked to me like he had a lot of horse every part of the mile.”

War Bomber breezed back a bullet half-mile in 46.60 out of his stakes win on September 26 over the Woodbine Tapeta but has since had a pair of more tempered four-furlong works.

“He breezed back out of his race in 46 but that’s not what I wanted,” McKnight said. “I wanted a slower work out of that so I slowed him down his next couple breezes and hopefully I’ve done the right thing.”

War Bomber arrived at Belmont on Thursday and will be saddled on Saturday by McKnight’s son and assistant trainer, Brad, as the family seeks their first NYRA circuit win.

Dylan Davis, who traveled to Woodbine last weekend and captured his first Grade 1 aboard Mutamakina in the E.P. Taylor, has the call from post 5.

Cross Island Parkway to be closed Sunday

The stretch of the Cross Island Parkway that runs by Belmont Park will be closed to traffic this Sunday, October 24. The closure is for the installation over the road of steel girders to support platforms for the new Elmont train station.

The Cross Island parkway will close between the Southern State/Belt Parkway to the south and the Grand Central Parkway to the north, starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 23. It is expected to reopen to traffic by 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Local fans may use Plainfield Ave/Elmont Rd to Hempstead Turnpike West or Springfield Blvd to Hempstead Ave East then enter through Gate 5 for Belmont Park.

Fans traveling from Eastern Long Island may use the Meadowbrook Parkway to Hempstead Turnpike West.

Fans traveling from the West may use the Van Wyck/Whitestone Expressway combination to Jamaica Ave East then continue onto Hempstead Ave East.

Sunday’s 10-race card at Belmont is highlighted by the $100,000 Point of Entry in Race 9. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.

Belmont Park Week 8 stakes probables

Friday, October 29

Oyster Bay

Probable: Backtohisroots (John Terranova), Battle Station (Daniel Velazquez), Buy Land and See (Tony Dutrow), Fauci (Phil Antonacci), Guildsman (Robert Falcone, Je.), Made You Look (Phil Bauer), Matta (Mike Trombetta), Value Proposition (Chad Brown),

Possible: Voodoo Zip (Christophe Clement)

Empire Showcase Day – Saturday, October 30

Empire Classic

Probable: Americanrevolution (Todd Pletcher), Captain Bombastic (Steve Asmussen), Danny California (Rudy Rodriguez), Mr. Buff (John Kimmel), Sea Foam (Michelle Giangiulio), Three Jokers (Terranova), Yankee Division (Rodriguez)

Possible: Emperor’s Cause (Matthew Williams), Too Early (Linda Rice)

Empire Distaff

Probable: Byhubbyhellomoney (Bob Dunham), Dancing Kiki (Mike Maker), Ice Princess (Danny Gargan), Maiden Beauty (Falcone, Jr.), Make Mischief (Mark Casse), Mrs. Orb (Mike Miceli), Sharp Starr (Horacio DePaz), Trinni Luck (Rodriguez)

Sleepy Hollow

Probable: Overstep (Pletcher), Shipsational (Edward Barker), Sterling Hill (Michael Bray), Supreme Being (Uriah St. Lewis), Woo Hoo That’s Me (Jorge Abreu)

Possible: I Found It (Rafael Rohena), Sundaeswithsandy (Rodriguez)

Maid of the Mist

Probable: Captainsdaughter (Russell Cash), Classy Edition (Pletcher), Luz (Antonio Arriaga), Sandy’s Garden (John Tebbutt), Sue Ellen Mishkin (Abreu), Velvet Sister (Asmussen), Venti Valentine (Abreu)


Probable: City Man (Clement), Cold Hard Cash (Rice), Cross Border (Maker), Lord Flintshire (Abreu), Regal Speaker (Gargan), Rinaldi (H. James Bond), Sanctuary City (James Ferraro), Therapist (Clement)

Possible: Outrageous Bet (Patrick Reynolds)


Probable: Barkin (Catherine Day Phillips), Cara’s Dreamer (Mitchell Friedman), Chasing Cara (Friedman), Classic Lady (Clement), Giacosa (Bond), Two Cent Tootsie (Tom Albertrani)


Probable: Bank Sting (Terranova), Espresso Shot (Abreu), Fight On Lucy (Patrick Kelly), Hannah Dances (M. Anthony Ferraro), Letmetakethiscall (James Ferraro), Miss Jimmy (Bruce Anderson), The Important One (Asmussen)


Probable: Amundson (DePaz), Chestertown (Asmussen), Foolish Ghost (Ray Handal), Jemography (Mark Hennig), Judge N Jury (Gargan), Ny Traffic (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Our Last Buck (Michelle Nevin)

Possible: Market Alert (Ryerson)

Sunday, October 31

G3 Bold Ruler

Probable: Drafted (David Duggan), Endorsed (Maker), Lil Commissioner (Rob Atras), Plainsman (Brad Cox), Wendell Fong (Chad Summers)

Possible: Mr Phil (Ryerson), Wondrwherecraigis (Brittany Russell)


Probable: Always Shopping (Pletcher), Beautiful Lover (Clement), Hungry Kitten (Shug McGaughey), Orglandes (C. Brown), Sister Otoole (Graham Motion)

Possible: Go Big Blue Nation (Mike McCarthy), Key Biscayne (Maker)


Probable: Artie’s Angel (Douglas Nunn), Daunt (Robert Ribaudo), Dripping Gold (McGaughey), General Ken (C. Brown), Geno (David Donk), Kiss the sky (Maker), Royal Spirit (Pletcher)

Possible: Sundaeswithsandy (Rodriguez)

Chelsey Flower

Probable: Blissful (Cherie DeVaux), Caironi (Miceli), Eminent Victory (C. Brown), Hail To (Albertrani), Kinchen (C. Brown), Lady Milagro (Carlos Martin), Mischievous Kiss (Bill Mott), Ouraika (Motion), Philly Eagles (Casse), Pizza Bianca (Clement), Shad Nation (Clement)

Possible: Yin Yang (Cox)

Pumpkin Pie

Probable: Aunt Kat (Mott), Neven Enough Time (Trombetta), Regal Retort (Asmussen), Truth Hurts (Summers), Victim of Love (Todd Beattie)

Possible: Juror Number Four (B. Russell), Union Maiden (C. Brown)

For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE.

Belmont Park Notes

Photo: War Bomber winning the 2021 edition of the Toronto Cup at Woodbine. (Michael Burns Photo)

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