Kid Cruz runs away from the competition in the Federico Tesio Stakes.

Kid Cruz runs away from the competition in the Federico Tesio Stakes.

Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

Kid Cruz Wins Tesio, Enters Preakness Picture

Triple Crown nominee missed Wood with sore shoulder but scores at Pimlico April 19.

Former claimer Kid Cruz cemented his classic credentials April 19 when posting a dominant victory in the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico Race Course (VIDEO). 

The Lemon Drop Kid  colt unleashed a strong outside rally in the stretch as the 6-5 choice and drew off to a 3 1/2-length win. He stamped himself at horse to watch for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the second jewel of the Triple Crown, May 17 at the Baltimore track.

Kid Cruz was timed in 1:47.38 for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track and improved his record to 3-1-0 from five career starts. 

Matuszak was second best after rallying from last in field of six 3-year-olds, finishing a head in front of Joint Custody.

Kid Cruz was making only his third start for trainer Linda Rice, who claimed him for $50,000 for co-owner Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds out of a six-length romp at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 22. He entered the Tesio off a victory in his stakes debut in the Private Terms Stakes March 8 at Laurel Park, where he rallied from nearly 20 lengths back to win going away in his second start of the year. 

"We were able to sit much closer today," said winning jockey Julian Pimentel. "He was running very easy and very comfortable. He asked me to run a little early on the backstretch, so I had to hold him a little bit. He got up really well, really strong. I think I could have won by more but I just bided my time. Once I asked him he was ready."

Oliver Zip and Mr. Rover dueled through slow early fractions (:24.76, :50.44, 1:16.39) with Kid Cruz stalking from fifth while three to four paths wide. Mr. Rover led Oliver Zip by just a head around the turn, where Kid Cruz picked up the pace for Pimentel. He was roused past the three-eighths pole and easily took charge past midstretch.  

"I was a little worried that they were going to take this race from wire-to-wire, but there was enough pressure to weaken the leader late," said assistant trainer Marsha Barrs. "This horse really ran a terrific race even though we had to miss a work." 

Kid Cruz was slated to run in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) April 15 at Aqueduct but was withdrawn a day before the race due to a sore shoulder. 
"We got knocked off the (Kentucky) Derby trail after the Private Terms, but after some time off he's back to his old self and our long range options include the Preakness, pending how he comes out of this race today," Barrs said.
Bred by Machmer Hall out of the unraced Tale of the Cat  mare Layreebelle, Kid Cruz is a half brother to 2014 La Canada Stakes (gr. II) winner Spellbound. He was an $80,000 purchase by Black Swan Stable out of the Select Sales consignment at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. Black Swan Stable now co-owns the colt with Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds.
Deputed Testamony in 1983 was the last Tesio winner to capture the Preakness, but five runners have finished in the money in the last 28 runnings: Broad Brush (1986), Rock Point (1989), Oliver's Twist (1995), Magic Weisner (2002), and Icabad Crane (2008). Ruler On Ice, the 2011 Tesio runner-up, came back to win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Kid Cruz returned mutuels of $4.40, $3.40 and $2.10 while Matuszak brought $6.40 and $4.60. Joint Custody paid $3.30. 
Sassicaia was fourth, followed by Mr. Rover and Oliver Zip to complete the order of finish. Elevated, Ground Control, and Undertaker scratched.