Messi wins Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont

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.

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