NEW YORK (AP) Messi rallied to nail Cage Fighter by a nose Saturday in the $200,000 Knickerbocker Stakes on the turf at Belmont Park.
It was the third win in four U.S. starts for the 5-year-old gelding bred in Germany and trained by Graham Motion.
After dropping back to ninth, Messi surged through the stretch in a rousing rebound from a distant seventh-place finish in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga.
John Velazquez was aboard for the 1 1/8 miles over the firm course in 1:49.70.
Messi paid $10.20, $7 and $4.50.
Cage Fighter, a 34-1 outsider, returned $18.60 and $6.40. Mr Speaker paid $3.60 to show.