ELMONT, N.Y. -- After a couple of unsuccessful tries in Grade 1 marathon races, Boisterous drops back in class and distance when he heads the field for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont Park.
Nine were entered in the Knickerbocker, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course, but on Friday trainer Chad Brown said Center Divider, the fourth choice at 5-1 on the morning line, would scratch to run in the Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 20. Trainer Tony Dutrow has expressed concerns over running on soft ground and also is contemplating scratching Jimmy Simms.
The Knickerbocker shares billing on Saturday's 10-race card with the Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia Stakes for fillies and mares over the Widener turf.
Boisterous had won four of five starts from last August through May, capped by the Three Coins Up Stakes over yielding Belmont turf. Trainer Shug McGaughey ran him in the Grade 1 Man o' War here in July, where he finished a respectable third behind Cape Blanco and Gio Ponti.
Sent off the 2-1 favorite in the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga on Aug. 13, Boisterous finished fifth, 6 1/2 lengths behind Winchester.
"He just didn't run as good as I thought he would," said McGaughey, who trains Boisterous for the Phipps Stable. "He had a chance, it opened up for him, he just didn't finish. I freshened him up a little bit, kind of scaled down a little bit; we'll see where we stand."
Boisterous, who breaks from post 3 under John Velazquez, should be able to handle some give in the ground, which figures to be the case if forecasted Friday rains materialize.
Mr. Ryder has won five of his last six starts including three straight, capped by a neck victory in the $100,000 Sussex Stakes at Delaware Park in July.
"He's won five races this year, he keeps improving all the time," trainer Christophe Clement said. "He might be better off on firm turf than soft turf, there's not much I can do about that."
Yummy With Butter, a 7-year-old Canadian-bred gelding, is coming off a pair of Grade 3 victories in the Oceanport and Cliffhanger at Monmouth Park. Those wins broke a nine-race winless streak dating back to Sept. 13, 2009.
Yummy With Butter is the high weight of 124 pounds and will be ridden by Alan Garcia.
Boots Ahead, Mata Keranjang, Followmyfootsteps, and Sleepless Knight complete the field.