10/11/2012 1:10PM

Belmont: Boisterous finds comfortable setting in Knickerbocker


ELMONT, N.Y. – After an unsuccessful summer racing in Chicago, Boisterous is back at Belmont Park – on his favorite turf course – seeking a repeat in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker Stakes.

Boisterous, a 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor, is 4 for 7 over Belmont’s turf and 3 for 12 off of it. Moreover, three of those four wins have come on yielding turf, the type of ground he is likely to encounter on Saturday in the 1 1/8-mile Knickerbocker.

“I think the weather is supposed to clear up, which will make it where it’s not a bog, which I would like better,” Shug McGaughey, who trains Boisterous for Phipps Stable, said.

In his second start this year, Boisterous won the Grade 3 Fort Marcy over yielding Belmont turf, defeating Desert Blanc, who came back to beat Boisterous in the Grade 1 Manhattan at 1 1/4 miles here in June.

On July 14, Boisterous was beaten a neck in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap – a race McGaughey felt his horse should have won. McGaughey was confident Boisterous belonged in the Grade 1 Arlington Million but the horse finished ninth in the race with no apparent excuse.

“He breezed really good before we went out there,” McGaughey said. “I thought he would run good. I thought it was the right kind of bunch and he just didn’t run any good. I don’t know why.”

Boisterous, the 124-pound highweight, will break from post 3 under Jose Lezcano on Saturday.

Stormy Lord ships in from Canada for trainer Ian Black, who will be starting his first horse at Belmont. Stormy Lord is a two-time winner of the PHTA President’s Cup at Parx, with both wins coming on less-than-firm ground. Black eschewed this weekend’s Canadian International at Woodbine with Stormy Lord for the Knickerbocker.

“I decided the distance and probably the going and the company might suit us better there,” Black said from Canada.

Stormy Lord stalked the pace in the President’s Cup and he drew off to win by nearly three lengths.

“That was an excellent race,” Black said. “He relaxed nicely off the two horses in front and he really kicked on the turn. He likes to stalk. He wants to be in the race, but he does not have to be on the lead. If there’s no pace he’ll adjust.”

Junior Alvarado rides Stormy Lord from post 6.

There appears to be speed with Tune Me In and Bombaguia in the field.

Sky Blazer is 2 for 4 at Belmont, though he appears to prefer firm ground to a course that has some give in it.

Sky Blazer is winless in five stakes tries and comes out of a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga, a race in which he got away poorly.

“He’s doing very well,” trainer Barclay Tagg said. “I think he’s a better horse than he’s been showing. He took awhile to mature.”

Barocci, See Tobe, and Freud’s Honor complete the field.