Edward P. Evans’ homebred American Dance, installed as the lukewarm 3-1 morning line favorite for the June 4 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), will face stiff challenges from stablemate Tiger's Rock and 2009 Brooklyn winner Eldaafer in the 1 1/2-mile marathon.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Virginia-bred American Dance was second in an optional claiming event at Belmont Park in his last start, which was also his first outing of 2010. A lightly raced son of A.P. Indy, American Dance has won two of 10 career starts, with earnings of $116,653. Among his four career placings was a third in the 2008 Remsen Stakes (gr. II). American Dance will be ridden by John Velazquez in the Brooklyn, which is the first half of the Brooklyn/Belmont Stakes (gr. I) daily double.
"He’s kind of a one-paced horse," Pletcher said of American Dance, who will likely be prominent early in the race, "but he’s by A.P. Indy and a half brother to Saint Liam, so we think he might be able to carry his speed."
Pletcher will also send out Starlight Partners’ Tiger's Rock, a multiple stakes-winning son of Giant's Causeway . Racing over the inner track during the Aqueduct winter meet, Tiger’s Rock posted consecutive stakes victories in the Gallant Fox Handicap and Coyote Lakes Stakes. Elevated in company in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on synthetic surface at Santa Anita and the Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) on turf at Keeneland, Tiger’s Rock responded with two straight 12th-place finishes.
"He’s proven the marathon distance is his best game," Pletcher said.
The Brooklyn also drew Eldaafer, who took the 2009 renewal at odds of 17-1. Also a son of A.P. Indy, Eldaafer was winless in eight starts following his Brooklyn triumph until he broke through to win a starter allowance at Belmont Park on May 20. Trained by Diane Alvarado for Alghuwayriyah Stable, Eldaafer is the 9-2 morning line third choice in the eight-horse field.
$200,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), 3YO/up, 1 ½ miles (Dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1 Tranquil Manner (KY), F Jara, 113, K P McLaughlin 12-1
2 Gabriel’s Hill (KY), E Coa, 116, S Benzel 6-1
3 Gangbuster (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, T A Ice 5-1
4 Eldaafer (KY), J Valdivia, Jr., 116, D Alvarado 9-2
5 American Dance (VA), JR Velazquez, 114, T A Pletcher
6. Stones River (KY), J Castellano, 115, M D Wolfson 8-1
7 Tiger’s Rock (KY), D Cohen, 121, T A Pletcher 7-2
8 Alcomo (BRZ), C H Velasquez, 115, E Caramori 8-1