ELMONT, NY – Rocketry launched from last to first to win Sunday’s $200,000 Temperence Hill Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park. This was the first career stakes win for the four-year-old son of Hard Spun who finished with a final time of 2:40.18, breaking the 1 5/8 mile Belmont track record that was previously held by the legendary Man o’ War.
The 4-5 post time favorite War Story broke best and quickly jumped to the front for the early lead. Archanova wasted no time getting up to pressure the leader and sat just off the pace with You’re to Blame not far behind. Meanwhile, G Zap and Rocketry were content to sit back and wait as the leaders set fractions of :24.93, :49.58, 1:13.73, and 1:37.90. As they continued down the backstretch, War Story and Archanova extended their lead to nearly 5-lengths over the rest of the field. That 5-length lead quickly disappeared as Rocketry, with jockey Joel Rosario aboard, moved up to the front by the top of the stretch. You’re to Blame also made a strong stretch run to finish second but it was not enough to catch the speedy Rocketry. War Story finished third followed by Archanova.
“I was glad to see he was a lot more on the bridle than he is on the turf, so I felt good going into the backside that he wasn’t pumping on him just to keep him close like you do on the turf,” said trainer James Jerkens. “He can fall way back on the turf even when the pace was slow. The way he was galloping into the backstretch, I felt good.”
Rocketry returned $9.30 to win, $3.70 to place, and $2.30 to show. You’re to Blame brought back $3.30 to place and $2.10 to show, while War Story paid $2.10 to show.