War Story and Javier Castellano win the Brooklyn Invitational (Gr II) at Belmont Park
Jorge Navarro-trained War Story picked up his first career graded stakes win on Belmont Saturday, drawing clear by 2 1/2 lengths in the stretch to take the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational. Javier Castellano rode the 5-year-old gelding on a stalking trip throughout, tucking in behind early leader and favorite Tu Brutus (CHI). War Story made an outside move at the top of the turn and continued to extend his lead through the long Belmont stretch.
Sunny Ridge finished second, followed by Tu Brutus (CHI).
“That’s what I was looking for today,” said Castellano, who this year was elected to racing’s Hall of Fame. “There wasn’t much speed; there was only one target and I didn’t want to wait because this is a mile and a half and they’re not used to these types of races. I put him in the game, but at the same time, I took up a little and gave him a break all the way down the backside. At the top of the stretch, when I asked him again, he took off.”
The race is the fifth win for the gelding in 21 starts, which also included a victory in the Queens County in late 2016. Navarro is the ninth trainer to saddle the horse, who has changed barns routinely since breaking his maiden on his first try as a 2-year-old.
War Story was bred in Kentucky by Jack Swain III and is owned by Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis, and Imaginary Stables. He is by Northern Afleet out of Pulpit mare Belle Waiting and has passed through the sales ring twice. As a yearling, he was purchased for $ 90,000 by Nick de Meric, who sold him at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale for $ 51,000.
“I’ve had this horse for about six months,” said Navarro of War Story, who most recently finished third in the G2 Charles Town Classic. “I haven’t done anything special with him, but he had a little bit of mental issues, so I worked with him. He lets you know what he doesn’t want you to do with him. Today he ran hard; really dug in and showed a lot of heart … I am very happy with the way he won today. I don’t know what is next for him. We’ll get him back to the barn and I’ll talk with the owner and we’ll see.”
The final time for the mile and a half was 2:31.02.
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