In a race that could have implications for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) later in the day, Stuart S. Janney III's homebred Norumbega closed from well back in the field to win the $500,000 Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (gr. II) at the same 1 1/2 -mile distance as the Belmont. The final time was a catchy 2:27.13 (VIDEO).
The Brooklyn, moved from its standard spot on Belmont Stakes eve to the Belmont undercard this year, is for older horses and in the past few years served as a sort of a preview race for the Breeders' Cup Marathon, a race that was discontinued for this year.
Seven runners lined up for the Brooklyn, but only one, the Argentine-bred Ever Rider, had ever been the 12-furlong distance on dirt, having won two of four going that far.
West Coast invader Cat Burglar left the gate alertly and battled outside a tugging Ground Transport for the early lead. That duo ran the first quarter in :24.16 with Ever Rider and 5-2 favorite Micromanage in close pursuit two lengths back. Around the first turn and onto the backstretch Cat Burglar and Ground Transport were eyeball-to-eyeball after going a half mile in :48.73. Ground Transport assumed a short lead through a testing three-quarters in 1:13.41, and on the turn for home he was still a neck to the good.
But Micromanage came flying at the first pair while running wide on the turn, and by the time they straightened for the long stretch run, Micromanage had grabbed the advantage and looked every bit a winner coming down the lane.
Joel Rosario, aboard Norumbega, had other ideas, however. Splitting Micromanage and Cat Burglar, Norumbega came flying down the stretch, overtook Micromanage with 50 yards to go, and finished a neck to the good. Micromanage held second by a half length from Cat Burglar, with Ever Rider finishing fourth. Ground Transport,Golden Soul, and Eriugena completed the order of finish.
"He had been training well and we expected him to run a big race," winning trainer Shug McGaughey said.
"I had a really good trip and my horse ran great," added Rosario. I was aware they were going too fast in front of me. When I asked him, he had plenty to give."
Norumbega is a 4-year-old gray colt by Tiznow --Meghan's Joy, by A.P. Indy, bred in Kentucky by Janney, who was the co-owner of last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Orb . Norumbega has now won four of 13 starts and earned $501,945.
He returned $22.40, $9, and $4.50. Micromanage paid $4.10 and $2.70 and Cat Burglar paid $3 to show. The 8-3 exacta returned $83.81. Bigger Is Bettor was scratched.