Real Solution, angled to the far outside for a clear path in the stretch, overpowered his rivals in the $1 million Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes (gr. IT) to post his second grade I victory June 7 on the turf at Belmont Park (VIDEO).
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's 5-year-old homebred son of Kitten's Joy ran the 1 1/4-mile distance on the inner turf course in 1:59.27 over firm turf to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Kaigun was second, with 5-2 favorite Seek Again third.
Real Solution, who became racing's newest millionaire with the $535,000 winner's share, was ridden to victory by Javier Castellano for trainer Chad Brown.
Real Solution was awarded victory in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) via disqualification after finishing second last summer, his only prior United States win in seven previous starts. The bay horse began his career in Italy, where he was a three-time winner in five starts before transferring stateside.
Second in the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) by three-quarters of a length to Manhattan rival Imagining over the same Belmont course at 1 3/8 miles May 11, Real Solution was sent off at odds of 11-2 Saturday. He ran third in last year's Manhattan and had been criticized by some as a horse that is often close but fails to win.
"He might have a little bit of hang in him, but...circumstances might have made him tired in certain races," Brown said. "I might have been running him too far. He might have got a wide trip. All those things may contribute to a horse hanging. They're tired."
Brown said Castellano blamed himself for the defeat in the Man o' War and told the trainer after the race that Real Solution "is a cinch in the Manhattan."
"He left out of the gate today and got a spot," Brown said. "A mile and a quarter probably is his distance. If I run him farther, he might want to hang."
Real Solution raced mid-pack in the field of 10 for most of the journey while placed on the outside of traffic as Five Iron ran away to lead by as many as eight lengths up the backstretch. With Kaigun, Seek Again, Real Solution, and Boisterous all in pursuit, the field drew closer as the leader took them into the far turn.
Kaigun took the lead as Five Iron faded, and Castellano gathered Real Solution seven or eight paths wide for their assault in upper stretch. With Kaigun and Seek Again also in contention down the lane, Real Solution gamely ran down the leaders, collaring Kaigun near the sixteenth pole and keeping to his task to the line.
"I had a beautiful trip," Castellano said. "I think the last time the way I rode the horse, I rode too patient, and he just came up short. I should have put him more in the game last time, and it paid off this time. Mr. Brown gave me the confidence to ride the horse back and make my own decisions in the race.
"I let him find a place in the race and get in a good position early and sit still. He gave me a good kick today and I'm very satisfied with the way he did it. I give all the credit to the horse, and Mr. Brown gave me the confidence to let me ride the horse the way I did today."
Off at 16-1, Kaigun and jockey Alan Garcia held second by one length over Seek Again, runner-up by a head to Wise Dan in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs May 3. Grandeur finished fourth, followed by Five Iron, Imagining, Boisterous, Rookie Sensation, Hey Leroy, and Chamois.
Bred in Pennsylvania out of the Pulpit mare Reachfortheheavens, Real Solution ran his career mark to 5-2-2 with earnings of $1,358,175.
Real Solution paid $13, $6.80, and $4.30 while keying a $185 exacta with Kaigun, who returned $14.20 and $8.20. Seek Again, ridden by Joel Rosario, paid $3.40.
Bill Mott, the trainer of Seek Again, said, "My colt ran well. It was a weird race since it was one horse loose on the front end and we were laying second. It was an odd setup."