07/17/2004 12:00AM

Ellis Park: Knox rallies from last


Brice Blanc, known best for his skill as a turf jockey, rode Knox to victory in the $75,000 Regaey Island Stakes at Ellis Park, a one-mile stakes race that was transferred from a rain-soaked turf course to a fast main track.

Early in the race, Knox appeared an unlikely winner. He trailed as 6-5 favorite Big City Spender raced comfortably on the lead with opening fractions of 24.41 seconds and 48.61.

Big City Spender was joined on the final turn by Rogue Scholar and Cold Water, and the six-furlong fraction was a respectable 1:12.92. At this point, Blanc got Knox in gear, and as the leaders neared the stretch, Knox sat well placed in fourth.

Swung four wide for the drive, he easily ran down the leaders and drew away to win by 1 3/4 lengths. He raced a mile in 1:37.43 and paid $6.40.

Big City Spender bravely held second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Cold Water. Rogue Scholar, Exploited Storm, and Heroic Deed completed the six-horse field, which was reduced by four when the race was moved to the main track.

Knox, a 3-year-old son of Menifee trained by Ken McPeek, won his first stakes. Last year as a juvenile, he was stakes placed on turf at Arlington.

Knox won for the third time in 11 starts. He is owned by Runnymede Farm and Arthur Hancock, who co-bred the colt with Catesby Clay. The $46,250 share of the purse improved his earnings to $128,282.