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Bricks and Mortar seals victory to remain perfect in G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame

by Anthony Affrunti for NYRA Publicity

Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s undefeated Bricks and Mortar added his first career graded stakes victory after closing hard to win the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1:39.47 for 1 1/16 miles on a firm Mellon turf course.

The early stages of the race saw Secretary At War take the field of nine through a quarter-mile in 23.94 seconds and a half mile in 48.11, building a two-length advantage as Big Handsome stalked down the backside followed closely by Bricks and Mortar and Yoshida, the 2-1 betting favorite. 

Three-quarters of a mile were run in a solid1:11.51 before Big Handsome, a half-length behind tiring pacesetter Secretary At War, and Yoshida, a half-length behind the stalker, began to make their move. Bricks and Mortar rated in behind was then set down for the stretch drive through a mile in 1:33.96. 

The field then strung out for the run through the last furlong and saw a duel between Big Handsome and Yoshida before Bricks and Mortar closed strong on the outside under jockey Joel Rosario to best Yoshida. Big Handsome held third by 1 ¾ lengths over Snap Decision.

“I got a good trip,” Rosario said. “We were all running together for the first three-quarters trying to get position and he’s a very good horse. I was down inside and had to stay where I was, but I just took my time to take him out. He’s a nice horse and tries very hard. The last race he had, the final quarter-mile was very fast. He tries hard every time so I knew he had the turn of foot to get home. I just waited until I could get him out. He’s very honest and as long as he’s comfortable, he’ll take it from there. You can put him wherever you want.”

The 3-year-old Giant’s Causeway colt was perfect through his first three starts for trainer Chad Brown and was entered off a neck victory in the Manila over Big Handsome and Secretary At War, who ran second and third, respectively.

“I have a lot of respect for this field,” Brown said. “It’s a deep field and this horse keeps improving. For a lightly raced 3-year-old, he’s undefeated, he’s done everything we’ve asked. You can’t ask for better than that. Yoshida is a top-class horse and to kick clear you’re really going to have to run a fast last quarter to catch him.

“He’s everything you want to see in a 3-year-old, whether it’s a dirt horse or a turf horse,” he added. “He’s constantly proving that he has the will to win. With this horse, if you set him down in the clear and give him a target, he gets there. We talked about it in the paddock, Joel and I, and even though he won the Manila Stakes last time, he was far back off a very slow pace and he flew home to get there, which was remarkable, really. Against these horses this time around, we talked about it and if he were that far back, he wasn’t going to get there.” 

The victory was Brown’s fourth in the Hall of Fame and third in a row. The 38-year-old native of nearby Mechanicville won last year’s running with Camelot Kitten after teaming with this year’s owners to capture the 2015 edition with Takeover Target. Brown also saddled winner Big Blue Kitten in 2011.

Makarios, Parlor, Arklow, Secretary At War and Bonus Points rounded out the order of finish.

Bricks and Mortar, now 4-for-4 with earnings of $256,800 was sent off at 4-1 and returned $10.20 for a $2 win bet.

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