Stroll wins the NMR Hall of Fame Stakes Monday at Saratoga.

Stroll wins the NMR Hall of Fame Stakes Monday at Saratoga.

AP/NYRA Adam Coglianese

Stroll Strolls His Way to Hall of Fame Stakes Win

It was a stroll in the park for Stroll as he easily won the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. II) Monday at Saratoga.

The race is held on the day in which the newest inductees -- Mike Smith, Sonny Hine, Dance Smartly, and Precisionist -- become members of racing's Hall of Fame.

Under Jerry Bailey, Stroll bided his time near the front, then exploded at the eighth pole to easily win the nine-furlong grade II race over the inner turf course labeled yielding.

Stroll was a slight favorite over Urban King, who closed to get second, with Saint Stephen third.

Stroll is owned by Claiborne Farm and is by Pulpit out of the Prince Sabo mare Maid for Walking.

Stroll has now won four of nine starts for trainer Bill Mott. He covered the distance in 1:49.34 and paid $7.30, $3.70, and $2.90. Urban King returned $5.90 and $4.10 and Saint Stephen, who was coupled with Kissin Saint, was worth.$3.80.

Favored by the crowd of 16,261, Stroll was never worse than second behind Sharp Impact, who got the quarter mile in :23 2/5; the half in :48 1/5 and three-quarters in 1:12 4/5 with the rail out nine feet. On queue from Bailey, the Pulpit colt surged to the lead and won easily in 1:49 1/5 for the nine furlongs over a yielding turf course.

"He still stays a little revved up," said Mott. "That's his nature: to be a little keyed up. In the paddock, he is always on his toes; always anxious. He's finally gotten the messages that when he leaves the gate, not just to sell out and do it all going into the first turn and down the backside. (Jockey) Mike Luzzi had ridden him down at Belmont and got him back. That was probably his first big race that he rated well and really punched on at the end. I've got to thank Mike for that. He did a great job with him. The way things worked out, Jerry (Bailey) rode him down at Monmouth and rode him again today. By nature, the horse is a little bit like his half-brother, Patrol. They both want to show a lot of speed, but it looks like this one is getting it down a lot quicker than his brother. I think this was incredibly impressive, knowing the horses that were in here. He was leveled off and going away from them in the stretch. There was a little give in the ground, and that's good. So now he doesn't need a rock-hard turf. We'll probably run in the Jamaica (on Sept. 21); the Secretariat comes up a little quick."

Added Bailey: "The biggest thing was getting him to turn it off around the first turn; but if he relaxes too much, it's trouble. But he turned it right back on today."

The rest of the field consisted of Hypnotist (who raced with one aluminum pad), Kissin Saint, G P Fleet, Sharp Impact, Supervisor, Hidden Truth, Saint Liam and Coalition. Main-track only horses Colita, Awesome Time and Christine's Outlaw.

"It was a real special day today," Bailey said. "Mike Smith and I are real good friends, and today was just real special."

(Chart, Equibase)