Whitmore's Conn captures the Bowling Green Handicap for the second year in a row.

Whitmore's Conn captures the Bowling Green Handicap for the second year in a row.

AP/NYRA Adam Coglianese

Whitmore's Conn Repeats in Bowling Green

Whitmore's Conn earned his second straight Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) victory and his first win since last year's renewal, rallying from behind a slow pace on Saturday at Belmont Park. Under Jean-Luc Samyn, the 5-year-old son of Kris S. completed the 1 3/8 miles in 2:15.92 on the turf course listed as good.

"This was the race we were pointing for; this is pretty exciting," said winning trainer Randy Schulhofer. "Jean-Luc (Samyn) knows what he's doing -- I just told him to warm the horse up good. I thought his last race was good; they went :23 and change for the last quarter and he made up four or five lengths. I guess a mile and three-eighths at Belmont Park is his thing."

Favored State Shinto set a dawdling pace (:51.28 and 1:15.26) under jockey Richard Migliore, while pressed by Slew Valley, who finished second to King Cugat in the 2001 renewal of the race. Slew Valley gained a slim advantage in the stretch, before Quest Star gained a brief lead. Whitmore's Conn then swept by Quest Star in the stretch to earn the half-length victory. Macaw rallied under Shaun Bridgmohan -- who was aboard Whitmore's Conn for the 2002 Bowling Green -- for third, followed by Slew Valley, State Shinto, Gritty Sandie, Esperence, Thompson Rouge, and Dawn of the Condor.

New York-bred Whitmore's Conn paid $25.60, $11.60 and $6.70. Quest Star returned $7.50 and $4.90 and completed the $129 exacta. Macaw paid $3.80 to show.

Whitmore's Conn earned owners Michael and Lynn Shanley $90,000 for the win plus $9,000 from the New York Breeding and Racing Program for the owners and breeders Bud Wolf and Joe D'Agostino. The win marks the sixth in 26 starts. (Chart, Equibase)