Ridden by Jon Court, Polonius completed the one-mile test on firm going in 1:34.95 while earning his first graded stakes win for owner B.J. Wright and trainer Michael Pender.
Stewards reviewed a claim of foul from Corey Nakatani, the rider of third-place finisher Ez Dreamer, against Polonius for an incident in the stretch run, but decided to take no action.
Pender returned Polonius, a Florida-bred son of Broken Vow --Word o' Ransom by Red Ransom, to the turf after the bay colt faded in his last start, the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 5, finishing ninth after pressing the pace. In front-running style, Polonius began his career by winning two of three starts on the lawn, including the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita in March.
“I think he kind of redeemed himself today," Pender said. "He doesn’t really appreciate the synthetic surface, nothing against synthetic surfaces, but some horses handle it better than others. He’s one that definitely likes the grass. Our horse has never had to work that hard to get it, but I do believe if they had gone around again they still wouldn’t have got him.”
His early speed was much in evidence once again in the Will Rogers, opening a clear advantage early for Court while pacing the field through fractions of :23.73, :47.51 and 1:11.17. Tiz West, who pressed the leader, jumped shadows twice on the final turn and continued to drift out in the stretch to lose all chance. Indian Sun, a contender in several West Coast Triple Crown preps and the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) this spring, sat fourth into the final turn for jockey Richard Migliore and made a bold run at the outside of Polonius in the lane. But could not get past the winner, who edged away in the final strides.
Indian Sun finished second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Ez Dreamer.
Nakatani claimed foul on Ez Dreamer after steadying behind the winner in upper stretch when Polonius drifted to the inside.
"I was clear of (Ez Dreamer) when I came over, that's all there was to it," Court said. "He likes to be in front. I don't think he necessarily has to be in front, but that's his preference. I thought the pace would be a little bit more contested, but he inherited the lead pretty good."
Tiz West and Robscarvic completed the order.
Polonius earned $64,080 for his third win in five lifetime starts, kicking his bankroll to $143,100. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel H. Rogers bred Polonius, a $150,000 Barretts sale in March 2007.
Sent off at odds of 17-10, the winner paid $5.40, $3 and $2.10, topping a $2 exacta worth $18 with Indian Sun, who returned $3.20 and $2.20 in his return to the lawn for trainer Dan Hendricks. The Arizona invader Ez Dreamer was $3 to show.
Red Sky Dubai, expected to be a pace factor, was scratched by Molly Pearson.