BELMONT, N.Y. – Flying P Stable’s Lone Rock drew off to an impressive score in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn presented by Northwell Health, a 12-furlong test for older horses at Belmont Park.
The 132nd renewal of the Brooklyn was the second stakes event on the Belmont Stakes Day card featuring nine graded stakes, including eight Grade 1s, capped by the 153rd running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.
With regular rider Ramon Vazquez up for trainer Robertino Diodoro, Lone Rock broke sharply from the outside post and established a stalking position in second to the outside of Musical Heart, piloted by Kendrick Carmouche, who led the nine-horse field into the first turn.
Musical Heart dictated terms down the backstretch with Lone Rock content to stalk from the leader’s flank, while Ry’s the Guy, Moretti and Tizamagician, who hopped at the start, jostled for position through splits of 23.91 seconds, 47.85 and 1:12.65 on the fast main track.
Lone Rock loomed large as Musical Heart led the field into the final turn and once asked by Vazquez was quickly in command approaching the quarter pole with Tizamagician and Moretti lining up their wide bids.
While the rivals tried in vain, there was no reeling in a runaway Lone Rock, who continued to find more en route to an 11 1/4-length score, stopping the clock in a final time of 2:28.97. Tizamagician completed the exacta, a length ahead of Moretti.
Rounding out the order of finish were Campaign, You’re to Blame, Ry’s the Guy, Ajaaweed, Rocketry and Musical Heart.
Vazquez, who was making his first start at Belmont Park, said he was content to stalk the early speed.
“When I saw the other horse that has a lot of speed stumble out of the gate, I just put my horse in the best position that I could,” said Vazquez. “I just waited until the end to ask my horse and you can see what happened. It feels awesome.”
Claimed for $40,000 out of a winning effort in November at Churchill Downs, Lone Rock has won 3-of-4 starts for his new connections, including a last-out score in the 12-furlong Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight on April 27 at Oaklawn Park.
“He was meant to be a good horse. He’s a horse that is just getting better,” said Diodoro. “We just have to keep him healthy and happy as long as we can. He loves his job. When you have a horse trying to run these distances, you need one who loves to train, and he definitely enjoys training.”
Prat, aboard the runner-up Tizamagician, said he was pleased with the effort given the unfortunate start.
“He broke bad; he went straight in the air when it opened,” said Prat. “But after that, we regrouped and we had a pretty decent trip after that. He was traveling well. The other horse was just too good today. It was a nice effort. You rarely see horses finish when they break like that. I was really pleased.”
A $55,000 purchase at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale, Diodoro said Lone Rock will likely target the $120,000 Birdstone, a 1 3/4-mile test for older horses on August 5 at Saratoga Race Course.
Bred in Kentucky by Town and Country Horse Farms and Pollock Farms, the 6-year-old son of Majestic Warrior banked $220,000 in victory. He returned $8.90 for a $2 win ticket.
The Brooklyn Replay
Live racing continues Sunday at Belmont Park with a nine-race card featuring the $150,000 Jersey Girl. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
By Keith McCalmont
Photo: Lone Rock (NYRA/Chelsea Durand)