The first two finishers in last month’s Flat Out return for more marathon action on Saturday as they head a field of eight for the Grade 2, $ 400,000 Brooklyn Invitational, which joins the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets at the unique distance of 1 ½ miles around Belmont Park’s main track.
The Chilean-bred Tu Brutus, who had finished second in the Excelsior in his North American debut, cruised under the wire 11 lengths in front of Doyouknowsomething in the Flat Out, going gate-to-wire to complete the 1 3/8 miles in 2:14.87.
“This is a horse that has no bottom, he just keeps getting deeper and deeper,” said Gary Contessa, who trains Tu Brutus for Winning Move Stable. “He takes a deep breath and starts all over again. You never know the competition he’s facing in Chile [finishing third in his other 12-furlong start]. But the best thing about this horse is that he’s won stakes running clockwise and counterclockwise. He does it all. He’s just a cool horse to be around.”
Tu Brutus drew post 5 for the Brooklyn, which will be run as the first of nine graded stakes on Saturday, capped by the 149th running of the Grade 1, $ 1.5 million Belmont. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride.
Doyouknowsomething, sixth in last year’s Brooklyn, has been no worse than third in 11 subsequent starts. He will be ridden by Angel Arroyo from post 6.
Making his first start at 1 ½ miles is Paul Pompa’s Send It In, who defeated Tu Brutus in the 1 ¼ mile Excelsior. The 5-year-old gelding has gradually been stretched out by trainer Todd Pletcher, who feels the New York-bred son of Big Brown is ready for the next step.
“We feel he’s well-suited to the 1 ½ miles,” said Pletcher. “He’s the kind of horse that keeps plugging away, and he continues to improve. He’s got the right kind of disposition for a horse that wants to go a distance of ground; he settles in well and he’s not overly aggressive.”
Pletcher, who won the Brooklyn in 2005 with Limehouse, in 2007 with Any Given Saturday and in 2015 with Coach Inge, will give a leg up to Hall of Famer John Velazquez. The pair will leave from post position 4.
Returning from his fourth-place finish in last year’s Belmont Stakes is the Christophe Clement-trained Governor Malibu. The Jump Sucker Stable color-bearer has one victory in seven subsequent starts, taking a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer in the mud last September at Belmont.
He will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from the rail.
Rounding out the field are the Argentinian-bred Idolo Porteno, seeking his first American victory; Jazil and Stymie winner Sunny Ridge, sixth in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic last time out; War Story, third at Charles Town, and Calumet Farm’s Behest, most recently eighth in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs in his 2017 debut.
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