Stronach Stables' Shaman Ghost was the 4 1/4-length winner of Saturday's Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old son of Ghostzapper covered 12 furlongs in 2:28.40 for trainer Jimmy Jerkens.
“I thought he was the class of the race, really,” said Jerkens. “Outside of Kid Cruz, I thought he was the most accomplished, really. He ran a fast race the other day and I was just hoping he would rate kind. It looked like he was going to give him a little trouble early, but he settled right down. When I saw him settle right down after the first eighth of a mile, I thought we were in business.”
Shaman Ghost stalked the leaders from third position through the early part of the $400,000 event, biding his time under Joel Rosario. Longshot Waymond Boyd set the pace with Doyouknowsomething just a length behind, marking fractions of :24.41, :40.67, and 1:15.09. Shaman Ghost was along the inside in third, flanked by both Catholic Cowboy and Securitiz to his outside. Approaching the final turn, Doyouknowsomething took over the lead as Waymond Boyd dropped back, leaving a hole for Shaman Ghost to split horses and move into second position.
At the head of the lane, Rosario was pumping away on Shaman Ghost as the colt moved around the outside to take the lead by about a length. Heavily favored Kid Cruz was making a wide bid around the turn from last, but wasn't making up much ground. Rosario wrapped up on Shaman Ghost late, as the colt was never threatened once he took over the lead, crossing the wire 4 1/4 lengths in front of Turco Bravo. Elnaawi was another length back in third, and Samraat nosed out a wall of contenders for fourth.
“Everything pretty much went as planned,” said Rosario. “He came into this from a shorter distance race so I just let him relax and do what he wanted. He was very comfortable and relaxed. He was there for me the whole time during the race. Very easy to manage. When I wanted him to move on he has more and finished strong.”
Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, Shaman Ghost was last year awarded the Sovereign Award 3-year-old of the year honors, highlighted by his victory in the Queen's Plate Stakes. The Brooklyn is his second graded stakes victory, and marks his fifth lifetime win from 10 starts. Shaman Ghost boasts career earnings of over $936,000.
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