Marathon specialist Birdrun, winner of last year’s 12-furlong Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), returns as the 4-1 second choice for this year’s running of the $200,000 race June 8. Jay Em Ess Stable’s Redeemed is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Brooklyn, the time-honored stakes that for the last few years has closed out the Belmont Stakes Eve program.
The Brooklyn, to be run as the last of 10 races (5:44 p.m.), is the first half of the New York Racing Association’s Brooklyn-Belmont double, covering the two 1 1/2-mile stakes. Also on the card is the seven-furlong Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT).
The field also includes recent stakes winner Not Abroad, grade I-placed Arthur's Tale, and Reddam Racing’s Boxeur Des Rues. The Doug O’Neill-trained Boxeur Des Rues will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, giving the California-based rider a chance to ride the Belmont Stakes distance of one lap around “Big Sandy” the day before he’ll pilot I'll Have Another on his quest for the Triple Crown.
“This is a really good opportunity for Mario and I think the horse has a chance to compete and do well,” O’Neill. “We brought this horse with that intent. Three or four days ago, he didn’t train as well as I’d like and we went on a mad dash to have Paul (Reddam) invest in a horse for (the Brooklyn). That didn’t work out too well.”
Boxeur des Rues turned out to have a minor bruise inside his right front foot. O’Neill said the son of Smart Strike now is “looking fantastic.”
In his last two starts Boxeur Des Rues was 10th in both the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) and Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT).
Birdrun wired the Brooklyn field a year ago, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over Drosselmeyer , who went on to capture the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Bred in Florida by Arthur Appleton and owned by Preston Stables, Birdrun loves the local track, sporting a 3-4-0 slate over the strip from eight starts. The 6-year-old son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone prepped for the Brooklyn with a runner-up effort behind Redeemed in the $90,000 Milesius Stakes May 3 in the Belmont slop. Birdrun will tote 119 pounds, two less than Redeemed.
Redeemed won the Milesius by 9 3/4 lengths and also is a Belmont Park specialist with three wins from four starts over the track. He’s yet to travel the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Brooklyn, but the 4-year-old son of Include has proven dangerous at nine furlongs with wins last year in the Oklahoma Derby and Discovery Handicap (gr. III).
Not Abroad, a Maryland-bred 5-year-old by Not For Love won Delaware Park’s Joseph French Memorial Stakes May 19 in his 2012 bow and will make his Belmont debut in the Brooklyn under 117 pounds. While not seasoned against graded stakes foes, he has posted some of the highest speed figures over the last two seasons.
Godolphin Racing’s Arthur’s Tale runs as an entry with Darley Stable’s Balladry in the Brooklyn. A son of Bernardini , Arthur’s Tale has yet to win a stakes but ran a closing second to Toby's Corner in last year’s Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I).
“He’s always been a pretty interesting horse since the time he got beat in the Wood,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “Stretching out, it will be interesting to see if he can handle a mile and a half. He has been an on-and-off horse. He had body soreness at times. After the Wood he had a shin issue, but this is his third time running in a row without a layoff.”
Fourth behind Redeemed in last fall’s Discovery, Arthur’s Tale has made two starts this year: a sixth-place finish in an overnight stakes and a third-place finish behind Trickmeister and Stay Thirsty May 17 in the $88,200 Vanlandingham Stakes. In that race Trickmeister covered 1 1/16 miles in a blazing 1:39.86.
Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), Belmont Park, June 8, $200,000, 1 ½ miles (race 10, approx. post 5:44 p.m.)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, M-L
1, Hailstone, J. Rocco, 115, R. Ribaudo, 15-1
2, Not Abroad, N. Petron, 117, K. Ritvo, 6-1
3, Eye On Jacob, J. Velazquez, 114, T. Pletcher, 5-1
4, Birdrun, R. Maragh, 119, W. Mott, 4-1
5, Eldaafer, P. Lopez, 117, D. Alvarado, 12-1
6, Golden Gulch, J. Lezcano, 115, E. Kenneally, 12-1
7, Praetereo, E. Prado, 115, C. Domino, 20-1
8, Arthur’s Tale, J. Castellano, 115, T. Albertrani, 8-1
9, Balladry, R. Napravnik, 115, E. Harty, 8-1
10, Boxeur Des Rues, M. Gutierrez, 114, D. O’Neill, 12-1
11, Redeemed, R. Dominguez, 121, R. Dutrow, 5-2
12, Kentucky Reign, J. Rosario, 114, R. Dutrow, 30-1
coupled: Arthur’s Tale, Balladry