10/15/2011 6:10PM

Belmont Park: Boisterous finds another gear late to take Knickerbocker

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Boisterous runs down the leaders late to win the Knickerbocker.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Seemingly one-paced throughout the majority of the race, Boisterous kicked into another gear in the final sixteenth of a mile and was able to run down Sleepless Knight to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker Stakes by a half-length at blustery Belmont Park.

Sleepless Knight, who made the lead above the eighth pole, had to settle for second, a neck in front of the hard-charging Mr. Ryder. Mata Keranjang, Boots Ahead, Followmyfootsteps, and Yummy With Butter completed the order of finish.

The win was the fifth from 13 career starts for Boisterous, a 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor owned by the Phipps Stable and trained by Shug McGaughey. It was his first triumph in a graded stakes after two failed attempts in Grade 1 company.

“I’m just glad to get him back on the right track,” McGaughey said. “For some reason I don’t think he was exactly right for those other two races. He never showed it to us or anything, but that’s why I decided to back off and start over again with him.”

Under John Velazquez, Boisterous raced a close up fifth as Mata Keranjang set modest fractions of 25.60 seconds for the quarter and 50.85 for the opening half-mile and 1:16.82 for six furlongs.

Velazquez said that Boisterous takes a while to get going and is more responsive when he’s relaxed and doesn’t use himself too much early on. That was not the case on Saturday.

“As soon as he saw daylight on the backstretch he was on the bridle; I said ‘Ah, that’s not good,’ ” Velazquez said. “Now I have to be against him trying to slow him down.”

 Boisterous was three wide coming into the stretch, but didn’t seem to be gaining on the two horses in front of him. He did seem to gain interest when Mr. Ryder came up inside of him, but Velazquez said Boisterous was responding to his left-handed whip.

“When I hit him left-handed he picked it up,” McGaughey said. “I was glad I did it at that point.”

Boisterous covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.42 and returned $4.10 as the even-money favorite.

McGaughey said he may run Boisterous in the Red Smith at Aqueduct on Nov. 5 at Aqueduct or simply put him away for the winter and point to a spring 2012 campaign.