ELMONT, N.Y. – Rockefeller showed the front-running speed displayed in his debut win in August at Del Mar in his first appearance on the East Coast, leading a six-horse field through every point of call in posting a 2 3/4-length victory in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua for 2-year-olds going a one-turn mile on Belmont Park’s main track.
The 47th edition of the Nashua was the final stakes of the Belmont fall, which saw Sunday’s 10-race card close the curtain on the 31-day meet. Owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables and Robert Masterson, Rockefeller broke from the inside post under jockey Luis Saez and posted fractions of 23.02 for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 46.75 and three quarters in 1:11.61 over a fast track.
Saez kept Rockefeller to task when straightened for home, and the Medaglia d’Oro colt outkicked Cooke Creek and powered to the wire in a 1:36.66 final time for his first stakes score and second win overall in three starts.
Rockefeller, who ran fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 1 American Pharoah on October 1 Santa Anita, was shipped to New York by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and rewarded his 4-5 odds as the mutuel favorite on Sunday. He returned $3.60 on a $2 win wager and more than doubled his career earnings to $142,500.
“I knew the other horses would break from there running, but we have a lot of speed, so Bob told me to break from there and send him and see if they can keep with us,” said Saez, who rode Rockefeller for the first time. “That was the plan, to break from there running. He kept at it. He’s a very talented horse. He’s still learning but he has a lot of talent. I think he’s going to be a nice horse. It was great to get the mount.”
Cooke Creek, trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer and ridden by Manny Franco, finished 3 3/4-lengths clear of Judge Davis for runner-up status. The son of Uncle Mo started his career 2-for-2, winning in September at Delaware Park before capturing the Rocky Run over the same track on October 16.
“He ran well good,” Franco said. “He just got beat by a good horse. I’m just glad that he ran like that and hopefully I can ride him again if he comes back here. It’s a nice mount to have.”
Midnight Worker, Cairama and Speaking completed the order of finish.
With racing concluding at Belmont, action will now shift to Aqueduct Racetrack. Highlighted by the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap on December 4, the 15-day Aqueduct fall meet will begin on Thursday, November 11 and continue through Sunday, December 5.
New York City has established strict vaccine requirements for nearly all indoor settings. Accordingly, and in compliance with New York City law, anyone seeking to enter Aqueduct Racetrack must show proof of vaccination in order to gain admittance.
Admission to Aqueduct, which will be open to the public on live race days only, is free of charge. The gates will open daily at 11 a.m. First post during the Aqueduct fall meet is 12:30 p.m.
Fans visiting Aqueduct should use the Clubhouse Entrance to provide the required proof of vaccination. Preferred parking will be $10 daily in the Clubhouse lot and general parking will be in the Conduit lot. All parking fees must be paid via credit card.
For additional information, visit NYRA.com.
NYRA Belmont Press Release
Photo: Rockerfeller (Benoit Photo)