Harvey Clarke and Ron Winchell’s Krypton took over from 3-5 favorite Nordic Truce rounding the turn and held off his rival to win the $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by a neck June 4 at Belmont Park.
It was the first stakes win for the 3-year-old son of Rock Hard Ten, who entered the one-mile turf event after running consecutive races on Keeneland’s Polytrack. Rajiv Maragh rode the dark bay/brown colt for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The final time over the firm ground was 1:34.97.
Krypton raced in stalking position behind Nordic Truce, who set a dawdling pace under Ramon Dominguez. The opening quarter-mile went in :24.94 and the half-mile was :49.77. Lethal Combination and Gold Medallion were next, followed by Noah's Dream in the field of five.
Krypton made his winning move approaching the quarter-pole, swinging past Nordic Truce from the outside to secure a narrow lead entering the lane. But he had no easy task in the final furlong, as Nordic Truce never gave in along the inside. They dueled through the length of the stretch while making contact a couple of times, with Krypton always holding a narrow advantage.
Following a steward's inquiry, there was no change in the order of finish.
Lethal Combination finished third under Alan Garcia.
"It was a race lacking a true speed horse, a true leader," Maragh said. (Nordic Truce) showed speed last time when they went 45 and change (in the grade III Transylvania at Keeneland). I wanted to blow the race open and make it a two-horse race. I made a movie earlier than usual. He was a little tight; the contact was made when (Nordic Truce) came out into me.”
Krypton entered the race off a disappointing ninth-place finish in the grade II Lexington Stakes April 17. Earlier at the Keeneland meet, he scored by more than six lengths in an allowance race with Maragh aboard. The Hill Prince was Krypton’s third race on Belmont’s turf. He broke his maiden over the course last October before finishing well back ninth in the Vision Stakes later that month.
“I thought he’d be better if he was behind a horse or two," McLaughlin said. "Rajiv rode a great race and we had seven pounds, so I think that helped.”
Bred in Florida by Jacks or Better Farm, Krypton is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Freedom Reigns. He improved to 3-1-0 from nine starts and has earned $124,416.
The winner paid $6, $2.60, and $2.10. The exacta (1-5) returned $9 and the trifecta (1-5-6) was $18.60.
Gold Medallion was fourth, followed by Noah's Dream. Avenging Spirit, Remand, and Six Clicks were scratched.