Girolamo is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Vosburgh.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Girolamo is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Vosburgh.
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Nine Try For First Grade I Win in Vosburgh

Girolamo is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the six-furlong race.

Led by Godolphin Stable’s Girolamo, a talented field of nine sprinters will all vie for their first grade I win in the $350,000 Vosburgh Invitational Oct. 2 at Belmont Park.

Girolamo, a 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt, will be making just his second start of the year in the six-furlong Vosburgh, having finished fifth in his 2010 debut, the Forego (gr. I) Sept. 4 at Saratoga.

“It took a long time getting him back to the races this year,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “He didn’t really run that badly considering it was a grade I and a tough race off the layoff. That race should have helped him a lot and he should be fit enough for this race.”

One of several Vosburgh starters with grade I experience, Girolamo has proven successful at Belmont, going two-for-two last fall, including a one-length victory in the Jerome Handicap (gr. II). The lightly raced colt, who has four wins from eight lifetime starts, will be shortening up to six furlongs for the first time in the Vosburgh.

“I think the distance will be fine,” said Mettee. “He’s got a high cruising speed and he shouldn’t really have any excuses in here, if he’s good enough.”

Girolamo will break from post 2, carrying rider Alan Garcia as the 2-1 morning-line favorite.

Another horse with multiple grade I starts is Driven by Success, winner of three of his last four races, including the Vic Ziegel Memorial at Saratoga.

“Even though he’s never won a graded stakes, he’s run races that are good enough to win graded stakes,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of his charge, who in 2009 posted a pair of third-place finishes in the Carter and Metropolitan Handicap (both gr. I). 

The 5-year-old gelding drew the rail under jockey John Velazquez at 4-1 on the morning line.

“He’s historically not a horse that is great on his first step, so breaking from the rail could potentially be a problem, but we’ll see,” Pletcher said.

The most experienced horse in the field is Riley Tucker, who makes his 28th lifetime start in the Vosburgh. The Steve Asmussen-trained son of Harlan's Holiday is coming off an allowance victory at Parx Racing, his third win of the year.

“He ran a good race last time,” said assistant trainer Toby Sheets. “He’s got good closing speed but he can go from either direction. I think he’s better from coming off of the pace but we’ll wait and see where they all end up.”

The 5-year-old Zayat Stable color-bearer will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez.

The most senior member of the field is 6-year-old Temecula Creek, who was claimed for $7,500 in 2009 by trainer Rudy Rodriguez and who won four straight starter allowance races before finishing fifth in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (gr. I) at Saratoga and second in the Icecapade at Monmouth Park.

“Hopefully he runs well,” said Rodriguez. “He’s been doing real well since the Icecapade. The Vosburgh is a very tough race and a grade I, but we’re enjoying everything with him. We’ve been very, very blessed.”

Wildcat Brief came from last to win the Icecapade by 1 1/4 lengths and trainer Ben Perkins is looking for a similar run Saturday from the 4-year-old son of Forest Wildcat.

“There should be good early speed Saturday,” Perkins said. “He’s one of those horses who need a good setup. In his races where he’s come off the pace he’s run a little better.”

The race will be broadcast on the Horse Racing Radio Network, which is providing three hours of coverage from Belmont on Oct. 2. The broadcast can be heard on the flagship station, WLXO 96.1 FM in Lexington, and will be streamed live on both the HRRN website and Breeders’ Cup site. Mike Penna will anchor the HRRN coverage, along with analyst and former trainer Jude Feld.

$350,000 Vosburgh (gr. I, Race 6, 3:23 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Driven by Success (NY), J R Velazquez, 124, T A Pletcher
2. Girolamo (KY), A Garcia, 124, S bin Suroor
3. Golden Spikes (KY), J Lezcano, 124, R E Dutrow Jr.
4. Latigo Shore (KY), J Castellano, 122, N P Zito
5. Temecula Creek (FL), C H Velasquez, 124, R R Rodriguez
6. Snapshot (KY), K J Desormeaux, 124, W I Mott
7. Wall Street Wonder (FL), C Hill,, 124 J P Terranova II
8. Riley Tucker (KY)   5/H L R A Dominguez,, 124 S M Asmussen
9. Wildcat Brief (KY), G K Gomez, 124, B W Perkins Jr.