Odds-on favorite Rock Fall would not be denied victory Saturday at Belmont Park, holding off a pair of rivals to take his seventh straight win in the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes.
It was the second Grade 1 in a row for Rock Fall, a 4-year-old son of Speightstown trained by Todd Pletcher for Stonestreet Stables.
“He's blessed with a lot of natural talent but to go along with that he's got a lot of fight, which is great,” Pletcher said. “There are a lot of similarities between him and his sire and the way they train. You wouldn't necessarily know they're as good as they are. Watching in the mornings, he can be a little idle, but you just have confidence that come game time he'll show up. He takes care of himself well.”
Settling off the early pace with Javier Castellano in the irons, Rock Fall rallied wide on the far turn and took the lead at the top of the stretch, holding a late-closing Salutos Amigos and a tenacious Stallwalkin' Dude at bay. Final time for the six furlongs was 1:08.70 after opening fractions of :22.23 and :45.21.
“The race set up for me perfect today, even though we had an outside post,” Castellano said. “With that kind of position, I had to make my own decision, use my own judgment. The other horses sort of forced me to the outside out of the gate and we went towards the lead and stayed in third but kept track of the other horses. Turning for home, I asked him and he just took off for me, very easily. It was perfect though and a good set up for my horse.
“I want to thank Todd [Pletcher], he did a great job with training the horse, helping me to keep winning Grade 1 races. It was amazing. He's a game horse who likes to be competitive. I think it sets up very well for the Breeders' Cup and I look forward to it.”
The Vosburgh was a “Win and You're In” race for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
“I was a little worried; I didn't quite overdo it with training coming into this race,” Pletcher said. “I wanted to get this one and still have something for the Breeders' Cup, so I was hoping I didn't cut it too close and he pulled it out. It's a fine line between running well in the prep and hoping you have something left for the Breeders' Cup. He's been winning races since March and seven in row so we just want to continue ticking over.”
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