After a ground-saving trip along the inside early, the son of Lemon Drop Kid
bulled his way off the rail to the launch his rally in upper stretch. Kid Cruz stormed down the center of the track with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, nabbing Captain Serious nearing the finish line in a three-quarter-length victory.
, who stumbled badly at the start, checked in third, 4 1/2 lengths back.
Captain Serious, ridden by Jose Ortiz, was quick to the front in the 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds and pursued by Gaining Ground
and maiden winner Tiz Dark
through honest opening fractions of in :23.43 :46.57, and 1:10.50 for six furlongs. Kid Cruz settled into an easy tempo from fourth, then fifth for Ortiz.
Tiz Dark moved up to second at the six furlong mark, still 1 1/2 lengths behind Captain Serious, and Kiz Cruz advanced to third before moving out and bumping Tiz Dark as he took to the two path in early stretch. With a two-length lead at the furlong mark, Captain Serious appeared poised to go on to victory, but Kid Cruz was fully extended for the drive and got the win.
Named for New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, Kid Cruz entered with three stakes wins this season, most recently an impressive 3 1/2-length triumph in the Easy Goer Stakes June 7 at Belmont Park, and broke through for his first graded stakes win in the Dwyer.
He won the Private Terms Stakes in March at Laurel Park and the Federico Tesio at Pimlico Race Course on April 19 before finishing eighth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
"He's a little lazy, but he was closer the whole way [than he was in previous races]," Ortiz said after the Dwyer. "It was positive. I was closer today, and I knew he was going to give me a kick at the end."
Kid Cruz finished the Dwyer's 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.12 on a fast track. His record improved to 5-1-0 from eight career starts with earnings of $363,375.
"We've got Saratoga coming up, and I'm very excited about that," winning trainer Linda Rice said. "Obviously, he's got to meet each goal, and today was a big one. These are tough races at Belmont Park and he got through unscathed. I think he qualifies to go to Saratoga and hopefully point for the Jim Dandy (gr. II, July 26) and the Travers (gr. I, Aug. 23)."
Rice claimed Kid Cruz for $50,000 for co-owner Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds out of a six-length romp at Aqueduct Racetrack
Nov. 22. He was previously campaigned under trainer Bill Mott for Black Swan Stable, which bought him for $80,000 out of the Select Sales consignment at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. Black Swan Stable retained an interest in the colt.
Kid Cruz, a half brother to grade II winner Spellbound
, was bred in Kentucky by Marchmer Hall from the unraced Tale of the Cat
The coupled entry of Kid Cruz and Captain Serious, favored at 7-10 odds, paid $3.40, $2.70, and $2.10. Captain Serious, trained by Mike Hushion, is owned by breeder Barry K. Schwartz, who is a partner in Sean Avery's Black Swan Stable. Ulanbator, off at 6-1 odds, brought $3.20 to show.
finished fourth and Tiz Dark was fifth, followed by Gaining Ground to complete the order of finish.