The lure of grade 2 status and a $400,000 purse lured some talented marathoners from as far afield as Kentucky and California to the Brooklyn Stakes Presented by Northwell Health June 5 at Belmont Park.
The invaders will face a strong local contingent, including two saddled by Todd Pletcher.
None of the nine entrants in the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn contested the Belmont Stakes earlier in their careers. But most of them have done quite well aging into the longer distances often abandoned by the 3-year-old stars after the completion of the Triple Crown.
Pletcher’s two approach the race on very different paths. Shadwell Stable’s Ajaaweed , a 4-year-old Curlin colt, struggled at shorter distances in his first two starts of 2021 but picked things up dramatically when sent 1 3/8 miles in his last start, closing to finish second in the Flat Out Stakes April 30. The “other Pletcher,” Moretti , is proven at marathon distances and won the 1 3/4-mile Birdstone Stakes last August at Saratoga Race Course. The Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners runner has not raced since.
“He gave us that impression he would do well with some added distance,” Pletcher said of Ajaaweed. “He just keeps galloping. He was coming on strong there in the end. He just got up there a little too late. Hopefully, we identified what he really wants to do.”
Of Moretti, a 5-year-old by Medaglia d’Oro , the trainer admitted, “It’s a tall order to run a mile and a half off a long layoff. I hope we have him fit enough.”
The invaders include two from California—MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm’s Tizamagician , the romping winner of the Tokyo City Cup Stakes (G3) in his last start for trainer Richard Mandella, and Woodford Racing’s Campaign , a 6-year-old Curlin son who shows three wins, a second, and a third from nine tries at 1 1/2 miles.
Campaign hasn’t done much winning in the past two years but did finish fourth, beaten less than a length, in the 2019 Brooklyn and trainer John Sadler said he looks for a return to form with a change of scenery and an equipment adjustment.
“We’re adding the blinkers for this race,” Sadler said. “He’s trained well with them on at Santa Anita. Two years ago, he was right there and just got beat, so we’re going back. The big wide turns and the distance should suit him.”
Flying P Stable’s Lone Rock , a 6-year-old Majestic Warrior gelding, is in from Louisville, Ky. He’s posted two victories and a second in three 1 1/2-mile races at Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park in his last three starts for trainer Robertino Diodoro, who claimed him for $40,000 last November.
Belmont Park, Saturday, June 05, 2021, Race 4
- Grade II
- 1 1/2m
- 4 yo’s & up
- 1:22 PM (local)