SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Living up to his name, Bricks and Mortar blasted ahead of the leaders in the final furlong to take Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
After breaking from post 1, jockey Joel Rosario rated the 3-year-old colt along the rail behind Big Handsome and Secretary At War, with the latter leading through early fractions of :23.94, :48.11, and 1:11.51.
On the stretch for home, Rosario had to swing wide in order to find running room. Once in a clear lane, the son of Giant’s Causeway displayed a devastating turn of foot and ran past the leading pair, crossing the wire first in a final time of 1:39.47 for the 1 1/16-mile turf race.
“I got a good trip,” Rosario said. “We were all running together for the first 3/4 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 1/4-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.”
After running outside of Bricks and Mortar for much of the race, Yoshida was able to prevail over Big Handsome for second by a head. Snap Decision, Markarios, Parlor, Arklow, Secretary At War, and Bonus Points completed the order of finish.
In clinching his first graded stakes victory, Bricks and Mortar remained undefeated in four career starts. Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, the winner’s share of $120,000 nearly doubled the colt’s career earnings mark to $256,800.
“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.”
The win was Brown’s fourth in the Hall of Fame and third in a row, after clinching it with Camelot Kitten in 2016, Takeover Target in 2015, and Big Blue Kitten in 2011.
“He’s everything you want to see in a 3-year-old, whether it’s a dirt horse or a turf horse,” Brown said. “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.”
Bricks and Mortar returned $10.20 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.20 to show. Yoshida brought back $3.50 to place and $2.60 to show, while Big Handsome paid $3.10 to show.