King of the Roxy wins the Futurity Stakes.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

King of the Roxy wins the Futurity Stakes.
Order This Photo

Coglianese Photos

King of the Roxy Earns Belmont Futurity Crown

(from Belmont Park report)
Team Valor Stable's King of the Roxy, getting better with experience, notched his first graded stakes victory on Saturday when he held C P West safe for a three-quarter-length victory in the 117th running of Belmont Park's $250,000 Futurity (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs.

In his last start, a narrow loss to Chace City in Saratoga's Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup (gr. II) Aug. 17, the Ohio-bred King of the Roxy seemed more interested in his competition than in actually winning.

That changed Saturday. The 13-10 favorite kicked in and won in 1:24.09 for his second win in four lifetime starts. He will likely go right on to the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.

King of the Roxy and jockey John Velazquez stalked front-running Incriminate, who got the first quarter of a mile in :23.11 and the half in :46.75 on the fast main track. The son of Littleexpectations--Marrakesh (Bold Forbes) advanced four wide on the turn and responded to urging from a confident Velazquez to get the lead and maintained his advantage as C P West proved best of the rest under Edgar Prado.

"I thought he got some good experience out of his last race," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "He is still learning a little bit. He is still looking around a little bit. Each race and each work, he gets a little more focused. He's a very easy horse to train. He's not quirky, he's just a little bit curious.

"Last time, he got up to the leader and eye-balled him and it seemed like he was more focused on the horse than on running by. The only thing we talked about today, was that, if you get to that position again, go ahead and try to put him away."

Velazquez sees unlimited potential in King of the Roxy, who went for $8,000 at Keeneland's September yearling sale last year. The colt broke his maiden at Hollywood Park by nearly three lengths for Richard Matlow July 2 before resurfacing for Team Valor at Saratoga.

"He just kind of waits," Velazquez said of the winner. "Today, I got him going, and as soon as I passed that horse in front, I spanked him. He went on and opened up. He got to the front, and he started waiting. Even on the gallop out, he went the same way. I think he can be better if he puts it all together."

C P West, a Came Home colt making only his second career start after winning at Saratoga on Aug. 12, put in a strong performance to get the place. It was three lengths back to Kong's Revenge in third, followed by Incriminate, Sam P., and Fernando Po.

"Luck is a big factor," said Nick Zito of C P West. "If we drew outside and the other horse drew inside...he had to wait and make his move. I'm proud of him, he's a wonderful horse.

"The winner had more experience and had a good post," Zito added. "I've got to be happy with our horse's performance. It's been frustrating all year with all these seconds. I can't even count them all. I don't know what we'll do. If he comes back well, we might give him another race. If not, we might give him some time."

The winner paid $4.60, $2.90, and $2.50. C P West returned $3.90 and $2.80. Kong's Revenge, who broke his maiden in his debut at Saratoga by 6 1/2 lengths Sept. 2, was $3.70 to show with Cornelio Velasquez aboard.

(Chart, Equibase)