Fearless Gives Pletcher Fifth Brooklyn Triumph; Lone Rock Third As Favorite - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Fearless Gives Pletcher Fifth Brooklyn Triumph; Lone Rock Third As Favorite

2021 Fasig-Tipton Horses of All Ages graduate Fearless and Luis Saez winning the Brooklyn

Repole Stable's Fearless made his New York debut a winning one on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., coming from just off the pace under Luis Saez to capture the historic $400,000 Brooklyn Stakes, a mile and a half race that was first run at Gravesend racetrack in 1887.

Now a Grade 2 event, the Brooklyn's roster of winners reads like a Who's Who of the turf, ranging from Grey Lag and Exterminator in the 1920s to Discovery and Seabiscuit in the '30s, Whirlaway, Stymie, Gallorette and Assault in the '40s, Tom Fool in the '50s, Kelso, Buckpasser, Damascus and Nodouble in the '60s, and Riva Ridge and three-time winner Forego in the '70s. As speed replaced stamina as the apple of a Thoroughbred breeder's eyes beginning in the 1980s, the Brooklyn slipped in stature but remains one of the most important marathon races in North America. It has found a home on the undercard of the G1 Belmont Stakes, run at the same 12-furlong distance as the Triple Crown's final leg.

In this year's running, Fearless – a 6-year-old gelding by Ghostzapper out of the Street Cry mare, And Why Not – covered the demanding distance on a fast track in 2:30.45, winning by 2 3/4 lengths and paying $9.30 to win. Warrant finished second by a neck ahead of 7-5 favorite Lone Rock, who won the 2021 Brooklyn by 11 1/4 lengths. Portos finished fourth, with pacesetter First Constitution fifth in the field of seven.

Fearless, Portos and First Constitution are all trained by Todd Pletcher, who was winning the Brooklyn for the fifth time. Repole Stable was winning the Brooklyn for the second time after Pletcher-trained Coach Inge's victory in 2015.

Fearless began his career racing for the partnership of WinStar Farm and China Horse Club after being purchased as a yearling for $725,000. Trained by Pletcher he won 4-of-9 starts including the G2 Gulfstream Park Mile. Repole Stables purchased the horse from Fasig-Tipton's July Horses of Racing Age Sale for $205,000 in 2021, and he's never finished worse than second in seven subsequent starts, including victories in the G3 Harlan's Holiday and G3 Ghostzapper, both at Gulfstream Park.

Despite being in New York-based Pletcher's barn since his winning debut going six furlongs in December 2019, Fearless has never raced in the Empire State, his starts coming at Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds, Oaklawn and Pimlico. He exited a runner-up performance April 23 in the G2 Oaklawn Handicap in Arkansas. The Brooklyn was also the longest he's competed, his previous races never going beyond 1 3/16 miles when third in the G3 Pimlico Special in 2021.

 “We anticipated he'd handle the distance,” said Pletcher. “Of course, you never know until you try it, but he's always given us that impression that he would keep grinding it out

“The track appears to be inside-speed favoring, but they've only run three dirt races all around one turn, so you don't want to get ahead of yourself. We drew post 7 with Fearless and we wanted to be in good tactical position and sacrificed some ground to do so.”

Saez had Fearless in the clear while three wide throughout the Brooklyn while just off the pace set by First Constitution and jockey Jose Lezcano. Lone Rock and Ramon Vazquez raced in between those two as First Constitution set fractions of :24.94, :50.06, 1:15.15 and 1:39.41 for the opening mile.

Those same three horses raced as a team rounding the far turn through 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.29. Turning into the stretch while still on the outside, Fearless edged to the front, increasing his margin in the final furlong.

“That was the plan to try to sit third behind the speed and he ran his race and got the job done,” said Saez. “He's way better going longer. We always thought he would like more distance. Today was perfect and he kept running.”

“The horse can go six furlongs to a mile and a half,” said owner Mike Repole. “He's a gelding, so as long as he's healthy he's going to be around awhile. He's a fun horse to own.

“What we do is we look at all our horses, put them in their spots, and whatever spots are left over, we throw Fearless in there and he fits in competitively,” Repole added.

“I owned Caixa Eletronica years ago, one of my favorites. He was a son of the most obscure stallion. He went six furlongs, he went longer distances, he did it all. This horse reminds me a lot of that horse.”

Pletcher said the G2 Suburban at 1 1/4 miles at Belmont Park on July 9 “could be in play” for Fearless' next start.


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