Video: Brooklyn Invitational S. (G2)
Odds-on favorite Tu Brutus , an 11-length winner of the Flat Out Stakes May 7 at Belmont, set out for the lead immediately and was kept well out from the rail by rider Irad Ortiz Jr. Tu Brutus opened up by four lengths going into the first turn and covered a quarter-mile in :24.69 and a half in :50.06.
He maintained that advantage up the backstretch, while he was chased by War Story and Sunny Ridge. After six furlongs in 1:15.85, Tu Brutus saw his lead cut to a length, as War Story was urged to go up to him. But it was Sunny Ridge who passed the favorite as they turned for home. Out wider on the course, jockey Javier Castellano guided War Story to the outside of Sunny Ridge and he ran past that one to score by 2 1/2 lengths in 2:31.02.
"When he was just galloping along like that, I wasn't all confident that he was in the right position," trainer Jorge Navarro said of War Story. "This is a fast track. I told Javier, 'You can do anything you want, but keep him in the clear. Do not let a horse come outside of you. He doesn't like that.' As that horse came outside of him, he kind of stopped and I was thinking, 'What are you doing?' Then Javier said he remembered what I told him and we won the race. He kicked it into another gear."
"It was beautiful," Castellano added. "There wasn't much speed; there was only one target and I didn't want to wait because this is a mile and a half and they're not used to these type of races. I put him in the game, but at the same time, I took up a little and gave him a break all the way down the backside. At the top of the stretch, when I asked him again, he took off."
Sunny Ridge held second with Tu Brutus checking in third, followed by Doyouknowsomething and Behesht . Idolo Porteno and morning-line favorite Send It In were scratched. War Story returned $10, $5.60, and $2.80. Sunny Ridge was good for $7.90 and $3.30, while Tu Brutus paid $2.10 for the show.
War Story is owned by Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis, and Imaginary Stables. He was bred in Kentucky by Jack Swain III. War Story, who ran off the board in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) and last won in the Queens County Stakes in December, is a gelded son of Northern Afleet out of the Pulpit mare Belle Watling. He won for the fifth time in 21 starts and the Brooklyn victory pushed him over the $1 million mark in career purse earnings.
"I've had this horse for about six months," Navarro said. "I haven't done anything special with him, but he had a little bit of mental issues, so I worked with him. He lets you know what he doesn't want you to do with him. Today he ran hard; really dug in and showed a lot of heart. I wasn't impressed with the way he won today because he's been training like that. But I am very happy with the way he won today. I don't know what is next for him. We'll get him back to the barn and I'll talk with the owner and we'll see."