Yoshida (inside) wins the Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park

Yoshida (inside) wins the Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park

Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Yoshida Captures Hill Prince in Final Strides

Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry earned first graded win.

With a final drive between horses in the Belmont Park stretch, Yoshida got up in the last few strides to nab a win in the $500,000 Hill Prince Stakes (G3T) by a neck Oct. 7.  

The win was the first graded score for the Japanese-bred son of Heart's Cry (JPN), who is owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, SF Racing, and Head of Plains Partners.

"I thought the two that were in front (Secretary At War and Frostmourne) would be in front of us, and I was hoping we might be laying third and we were," said winning trainer Bill Mott. "We got the benefit of saving the ground today and that didn't hurt him.

"The horse and rider both showed good courage. The rider showed good patience and when he asked him, he had enough horse to get in there."

Racing third in the field of nine 3-year-olds Saturday, Yoshida and jockey Manny Franco stalked the pace set by Secretary At War and Frostmourne through the early stages of the 1 1/8-mile turf event. The field moved through fractions of :24.21, :49.11, and 1:13.07 for six furlongs. 

Heading into the stretch, Frostmourne still had a slight advantage and Secretary at War was close behind. Franco pushed Yoshida forward and the colt moved up in a tight spot between rivals, as Lucullan was closing from fourth. At the wire it was Yoshida by a neck over Lucullan, with Bricks and Mortar another half-length back in third. The final time was 1:47.07 over the firm inner turf. 

Frostmourne, Secretary At War, Rocketry, Small Bear, Ticonderoga, and Hieroglyphics completed the order of finish. 

"I rode with a lot of confidence, as Bill told me," Franco said. "I expected to be third or fourth, saving ground, covering the horse up, like I did, and just waiting for the hole. 

"By the eighth pole, (Joel Rosario aboard Bricks and Mortar and I) were going for the same spot, but I had a lot of horse and my horse took off and went through. We were going to the same spot, but I had more horse than him, so I got his spot."

Yoshida returned $10.40, $5.30, and $3.30 across the board. He entered off of two close runner-up finishes, in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2T) and the Saranac Stakes (G3T), both at Saratoga Race Course

Bred by Northern Farm, Yoshida is out of multiple graded stakes winner Hilda's Passion (Canadian Frontier), who was a $1.225 million purchase by Katsumi Yoshida at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale. 

Video: Hill Prince S. (G3T)