Field Pass took the lead in the opening strides of the Grade 3 Knickerbocker and looked poised to take the field gate to wire when Sacred Life powered down the stretch to nip Field Pass at the wire at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Breaking from the rail, Field Pass took the lead at the start, moving out to a one-length advantage around the first turn and into the backstretch. Sacred Life hung out toward the back of the pack, next to last in front of only Corelli early. Around the far turn, Temple moved up on the outside to challenge Field Pass, but the leader dug in, maintaining his one-length lead as the field approached the wire.
Bred in France by Viktor Timoshenko and Andriy Milovanov, Sacred Life is by Siyouni (FR) out of the Montjeu mare Knyazhna (IRE). He is owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Michael Caruso. Consigned by Quesnay, Sacred Life was sold for $55,925 to Chantilly Bloodstock Agency at the 2016 Arqana Deauville August Yearlings Sale. He prepped for his 2021 campaign at the renowned Hidden Brook Florida Training Center and the 6-year-old ridgling now has a lifetime record of seven wins in 21 starts and career earnings of $616,768.
Trapped behind horses on the rail, Jose Ortiz took advantage of an opening at the top of the stretch to move between horses and find an open running lane. Once clear, Sacred Life poured on the speed, boldly moving down the center of the track as the wire approached, catching Field Pass in the final jumps. The final time for the 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf was 1:46.66.
“He’s [Sacred Life] trained well. He’s an honest horse. It just hasn’t worked out for him in some of his races and he clicked with Jose [Ortiz] today and got a great trip. He got some pace to run into and made a late run and was able to get up at the wire. It was an exciting finish. It looked a little more fun for Jose than it did for me,” Dan Stupps, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, said after the race.
“He has no speed early on and I had to ride him from early. At the six furlongs, I started pushing on him and he was coming little by little. I knew sooner or later he would pick it up and he picked up nicely around the half-mile and then I just wanted for Rosario [Joel, aboard No. 2, Breaking the Rules] to go and I followed him,” jockey Jose Ortiz told the NYRA Press Office after the Knickerbocker. “I had a lot of room to work with [moving inside of Manny Franco aboard No. 4, L’Imperator in the stretch run] so I decided to do it. He was flying late. I just had to keep him straight.”
-edited from www.paulickreport.com