Lemon Drop Kid Best in Brooklyn

Lemon Drop Kid, always prominent while debuting in blinkers, stormed home in the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) a 7 1/4-length winner over Lager Sunday at Belmont Park. Running Stag, last year's 7 1/4-length Brooklyn winner, finished sixth in a blanket finish for the minor placings. At the wire, three heads and a neck separated the horses finishing second to sixth.

Second wagering choice Lemon Drop Kid raced three-wide while pressing the pace set by Running Stag and Early Warning. He moved up to challenge Running Stag after six furlongs run in 1:11.91. As they straightened for home in the one-turn race, Lemon Drop Kid assumed a short lead over Running Stag, with Early Warning beginning to tire on the inside. Jockey Edgar Prado went to the whip briefly before Lemon Drop Kid surged to the wire under a hand ride.

"He broke real sharp. At the half-mile pole, I had a ton of horse and he wanted to go to the lead," said Prado. "All of his other victories were real close. Today, he drew off easily and galloped out good. I think he's focusing more."

Down the Aisle finished third, a head behind Lager. Almutawakel finished a head back in fourth, a neck in front of Ghost Story. The last named finished a head in front of Running Stag. Early Warning faded to last of seven.

1999 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Lemon Drop Kid completed the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:49.93 over a fast track. In his previous races as a 4-year-old, he was disqualified and placed fourth after winning the Widener Handicap (gr. III), was a dead-heat winner of an Aqueduct allowance race, and finished third in the Pimlico Special (gr. I). The win marks his first solo visit to the winner's circle since his 3/4-length Travers victory at Saratoga in August.

"I think he got mad after the Pimlico Special," said trainer Flint (Scotty) Schulhofer. "He should have been second in there, but he looked up and saw the gate in the stretch. He's a powerful horse. He was the kind of horse today that I always thought he could be."

Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo--Charming Lassie, by Seattle Slew) was bred in Kentucky by William Farish and William Kilroy. He earned $150,000 for the win for owner Jeanne Vance, while improving his career mark to seven wins from 19 career starts.

Lemon Drop Kid returned $6.20, $4.00 and $3.40 and led an exacta worth $98.00. (Chart, Equibase)