L and N Racing's Tone Broke will add a seventh racetrack to his docket when he breaks from the gate in Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park, the third and final leg of the Turf Trinity.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the dark bay son of Broken Vow, a $40,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland Yearling Sale, has banked $528,600 through 11 career starts thanks to victories in two-thirds of the Canadian Triple Crown.
“We were at the Keeneland sale and saw him back at [consignor] Keith Lancaster's barn and liked the way he looked. He went for what we wanted to spend on him and he fit,” said Michael Levinson, racing manager and co-owner of L and N Racing.
Following a fifth on debut at Indiana Grand, Tone Broke traveled to Remington Park where he won two of four starts culminating in a rallying fourth in the Springboard Mile.
“He was a long, leggy horse and it just took some time for him to grow into his body,” said Levinson. “He started to put everything together at Remington Park.”
Levinson said the ownership group were hopeful the well-related colt, a half-brother to multiple stakes-winner Stallion Heiress, could make the Kentucky Derby and pointed their charge towards the UAE Derby. However, following a pair of off-the-board starts at Meydan, Tone Broke was brought home and freshened for a run at the Canadian Triple Crown instead.
“We were aiming for UAE Derby to try and get into the Kentucky Derby, but he hit a growth spurt and it didn't work out like we wanted it to,” said Levinson. “But, it did work out in the sense that we had a fresh horse coming back for the second part of the year. The Queen's Plate was always our realistic goal.”
Tone Broke, bred in Ontario by Sean Fitzhenry, resurfaced in May at Pimlico when second in the Sir Barton, setting up a solid third in the $1 million Queen's Plate, first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at 1 1/4-miles on Tapeta.
Sent to post at odds of 5-1 in the Prince of Wales, second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at 1 3/16-miles on the Fort Erie dirt, Tone Broke stalked from third position en route to a two-length score over Avie's Flatter.
He completed his Triple Crown run with an impressive effort in the Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile test over a yielding E.P. Taylor Turf Course, that saw the dark bay overcome traffic trouble to secure a 1 1/2-length win in his grass debut.
Levinson said that effort proved Tone Broke can handle the 12-furlong Jockey Club Derby distance.
“He obviously wants to go the distance,” said Levinson. “He got in a lot of traffic trouble on the turn at Woodbine and was able to shift out four or five paths and run everybody down. I thought it was very impressive. I don't know how many horses would have been able to win that race from that position, especially after losing momentum and having to re-rally like that.”
Levinson said the Jockey Club Derby, a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” event offering a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf, is a perfect class test for his improving horse.
“We don't want to cut him back right now and the race on Saturday is such an opportunity with a 'Win and You're In' to the Breeders' Cup and a $1 million purse. We just couldn't pass up this opportunity,” said Levinson. “He has to step up in class here but we'll know tomorrow what we've got. We know he can run on the dirt, but if he can run on the turf course, it opens up a lot of options.”
And should rain on Friday afternoon soften up Belmont's Widener turf course for Saturday, it won't bother Tone Broke's connections.
“We definitely wouldn't be disappointed if the turf course softened up a little bit,” said Levinson.
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