December 6, 2022

Attfield trainees one-two in W.L. McKnight

Last updated: 11/26/11 7:12 PM

The W.L. McKnight was the third graded stakes win of the year for Musketier
(Jim Lisa Photos)

It was an all Roger Attfield-trained exacta in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000
W.L. McKnight
at Calder, as the veteran gray Musketier returned to his best form with
a half-length score over stablemate Simmard. It was another three parts of a
length back to the 6-5 favorite, the multiple Grade 1 Winchester, who had
occupied the same slot in the 2009 McKnight. In covering 1 1/2 miles on the firm
turf in 2:28 1/5, Musketier became the second nine-year-old to win the McKnight
over the past three years, following in the hoofsteps of 2009 winner Cloudy’s

Ridden by Luis Saez, Musketier enjoyed a ground-saving trip in behind the
leading pair of Gondorf and Scottish Coast, who traded leads through splits of
:24 4/5, :49 4/5, 1:14 2/5 and 1:39 2/5. Around the last of three turns, Gondorf
began to come under pressure from Simmard, who had taken the overland route into
contention, with Winchester not far behind that one on the outside. Meanwhile,
Musketier waited for a seam to open inside of Gondorf, who rattled off 1 1/4
miles in 2:03 4/5. At the top of the stretch, Musketier was able to slip through
on the inside of the tiring leader, then held on under pressure as Simmard’s
rally fell short with Winchester close behind.

Musketier, at 9-2, paid $11.60, $5.20 and $2.80.

Following Winchester past the finish were Center Divider, Gondorf, Livingston
Street, Astral Thunder, Scottish Coast and Trust the Deputy. Flatter This and
Mambo Meister were scratched, with the latter running second in the Grade 3 Fred
W. Hooper Handicap earlier in the Calder program.

Winner of the Group 3 Prix de Conde at two, Musketier placed twice at the
Group 3 level but failed to win another stakes during his stay in Europe. Third
in the 2007 Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap in his U.S. debut, the gray was out of
action throughout 2008. Runner-up to stablemate Spice Route in the 2009 Grade 2
Elkhorn Stakes, he captured that season’s Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes at Woodbine
and was second to champion Gio Ponti in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes. In an
abbreviated campaign of two starts in 2010, he captured the Elkhorn and ran
third in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes.

Musketier has had a more active 2011, defending his title in the Elkhorn and
winning the Singspiel for a second time. He placed in the Grade 2 Pan American
Stakes and Grade 3 Mac Diarmida Stakes, but also went unplaced in four outings
including his last three prior to the McKnight. His record now stands at
44-10-6-5, $985,043.

“He’s just been a lovely horse to have,” said Attfield of Musketier. “I’ve
had some perform at this level up to maybe eight years old, but not at this age
(nine). 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.’ Also, the environment
at Payson Park is just wonderful for an older horse to thrive. There’s plenty of
room and it’s quiet. 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.”

Bred in Germany by Gestut Gorlsdorf, Musketier is out of the winning Myth and
Reality, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Miatuschka, stakes winner Master Peace
and the stakes-placed Mille Miglia. She’s also produced the stakes-placed Maisha.
Musketier’s fourth dam produced German champion colt Marduk II and his French
classic-winning full sister Mata Hari.