Irish Colonial in Command of Kingston

Irish Colonial took the lead at the start and maintained his advantage throughout to win by four lengths Sunday in the $113,600 Kingston Handicap at Belmont Park.

Carrying 119 in the race for New York-breds with jockey Javier Castellano, the 4-year-old colt covered 1 1/8 mile over the soft turf in 1:52 2/5 to earn $68,160 for Blue Sky Farm and Fred Martin. Randy Schulhofer trains the son of Colonial Affair.

Celtic Sky, last year's Kingston winner, finished second in the nine-horse field, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Whitmore's Conn, also trained by Schulhofer.

"The turf is pretty soft," Castellano said. "The plan was to get to the lead. I was confident when we went :51 to the half; I still had a lot of horse. He won easy. He's definitely one of the best New York-bred turf horses around."

Irish Colonial went to the lead from the start and set moderate fractions of :25 4/5 and :51. Around the far turn, Castellano gave his charge a short breather and the rest of the field caught up. But, as they straightened for home, Irish Colonial pulled away to win by four lengths.

"He slowed [the pace] down," Schulhofer said about the winner. "He was a little anxious early, but Javier did a good job getting him to settle. Anytime you can get the pace slowed down like that, you're going to be dangerous."

Overall, Irish Colonial is now 5-2-2 from 14 starts with earnings of. $248,005.

Irish Colonial returned $7.10, $4.10 and $2.70. Celtic Sky paid $5.10 and $3.10, while Whitmore's Conn paid $3.30.

(Chart, Equibase)