11/26/2011 6:19PM

Calder: Attfield runners one-two in McKnight; Musketier likely to race next year at age 10

Jim Lisa
Musketier took advantage of a perfect trip under jockey Luis Saez to win the McKnight Handicap at age 9.

Roger Attfield completed a perfect Thanksgiving weekend at Calder on Saturday by sending out his uncoupled duo of Musketier and Simmard to finish first and second, respectively, in the Grade 2, $150,000, W.L. McKnight Handicap.

The McKnight ended a memorable month for Attfield, which began Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs where Perfect Shirl gave him his first Breeders’ Cup victory in the Filly and Mare Turf and continued here last Thursday when Oregon Lady rallied to capture the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap.

Musketier parlayed a perfect trip under jockey Luis Saez into a half-length decision over his unlucky stablemate Simmard, who was hung wide throughout the 1 1/2-mile McKnight. Musketier saved ground behind the early leaders, then was able to slip through along the hedge when launching his winning bid turning for home.                                

Winchester, the 6-5 favorite in a field of nine long-winded turf specialists, was shuffled to the rear of the pack after six furlongs, swung four wide entering the stretch the final time, altered course briefly near the eighth pole, then rallied belatedly to finish third.

Center Divider, pacesetter Gondorf, Livingston Street, Astral Thunder, Scottish Coast, and Trust the Deputy rounded out the complete order of finish.

Musketier, a 9-year-old German-bred son of Acatenango, covered the distance in 2:28.25 seconds over a firm course. He paid $11.60 and keyed an all Attfield exacta worth $49.60.

“He’s just been a lovely horse to have,” Affield said of Musketier. “I’ve had some perform at this level up to maybe 8 years old, but not at this age. I’ve talked it over with the owners and they’ve said, ‘If he’s happy with what he’s doing, go on and race him next year at 10.’

“Right now, I’d say he’ll run maybe once at Gulfstream and then go back to Keeneland in the spring and try to win the Elkhorn for a third year in a row.”