07/13/2013 6:54PM

Belmont Park: Boisterous gets his Grade 1 win in Man o' War

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Michael Amoruso
Boisterous, under John Velazquez, got his first Grade 1 victory in his fifth attempt when he took the Man o' War on Saturday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – As he headed toward the Belmont Park winner’s circle following Saturday’s Grade 1 Man o’ War, someone yelled to Shug McGaughey, the trainer of the victorious Boisterous, to smile.

“I said, ‘You know what? I am going to smile on this one because this horse deserved a Grade 1,’ ” McGaughey said.

Pinch hitting for his more celebrated but injured stablemate, Point of Entry, Boisterous finally got his first Grade 1 victory by running past Twilight Eclipse in the final furlong en route to a 2 1/4-length win in the $600,000 Man o’ War at Belmont.

Twilight Eclipse, who wrested a short lead from Speaking of Which in upper stretch, finished second, a half-length in front of Exclusive Strike. Finnegans Wake, Optimizer, Al Khali, Speaking of Which, and Folk Singer completed the order of finish.

It was the 11th win from 25 starts for Boisterous, a 6-year-old son of Distorted Humor who has won eight stakes, seven of which are graded. However, he had been winless in four prior Grade 1 tries. The $360,000 first-place prize pushed his earnings to $1,297,910.

“I’m tickled to death, not for me, but for the horse,” McGaughey said.

John Velazquez, who won his first Man o’ War, gave Boisterous a patient ride, sitting fifth early, while Folk Singer set the pace, chased by Speaking of Which and Twilight Eclipse.

Around the far turn, Velazquez moved inside of Optimizer, and those two ran in tandem to the quarter pole. While Optimizer failed to go on, Boisterous did, overtaking Twilight Eclipse, who had overtaken Speaking of Which in upper stretch.

Boisterous covered the 1 3/8 miles over good turf in 2:14.11 and returned $5.10 as the favorite.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better trip,” said Velazquez, who also won Saturday’s $100,000 Solar Splendor Stakes with Notacatbutallama. “When I asked him to run, he was there instantly. It was very nice. I was anticipating [the pace] was going to be a little quicker, but I didn’t think three horses would go, so it worked out perfect.”

Owner Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps said he was happy for Boisterous to get his first Grade 1 win but expressed a tinge of sadness that Point of Entry, who won last year’s Man o’ War for the Phipps-McGaughey team, couldn’t run in this race due to injury. Point of Entry, who won last month’s Grade 1 Manhattan here, could be back in the fall.

“It makes up for some, but I’d like to have Point of Entry back,” Phipps said. “I think he’s the best horse in the country this year, and I hope he gets to prove it.”

As for Boisterous, options for his next race include the Sword Dancer at Saratoga, the Arlington Million in Chicago, and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, according to McGaughey.