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ELMONT, N.Y. – Turning in a breakthrough performance, Shaman Ghost sat behind the leaders to the top of the stretch and drew off to win the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Making the second start of his 4-year-old season and his second for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, Shaman Ghost secured the inside position just behind the leaders soon after the start as 59-1 long shot Waymond Boyd showed the way through fractions of 24.41, 49.67 and 1:15.09 seconds.
Shaman Ghost was hemmed in briefly under Joel Rosario approaching the quarter pole, as his stablemate and eventual fifth-place finisher Securitz ranged up three wide alongside Waymond Boyd and Doyouknowsomething. When the latter drifted out slightly turning for home, Shaman Ghost responded with a quick move to split the pacesetters, and the Ghostzapper colt widened steadily under a mild drive to beat wide-rallying Turco Bravo by 4 ¼ lengths.
“Everything pretty much went as planned,” said Rosario, who, like Jerkens, notched his second Brooklyn victory. “He came into this from a shorter distance race, so I just let him relax and do what he wanted. He was very comfortable and relaxed. He was there for me the whole time during the race. Very easy to manage. When I wanted him to move on, he had more and finished strong.”
One of two Queen’s Plate winners on the Belmont Stakes Day program along with Grade 1 Just a Game entrant Lexie Lou, the homebred Shaman Ghost earned $220,000 for Stronach Stables. He paid $9.00 to win as the second choice in the field of 10, and ran 1 ½ miles in 2:28.40 seconds over a fast main track.
Shaman Ghost, third in a high-end optional claimer in his seasonal debut here three weeks earlier, improved to 5-1-1 from 10 starts, and is closing in on $1 million earnings with $916,811.
“I thought he was the class of the race, really,” said Jerkens, who captured the Brooklyn’s 1993 renewal with Iron Deputy. “I thought he was the most accomplished, really. He ran a fast race the other day and I was just hoping he would rate kind. It looked like he was going to give [Rosario] a little trouble early, but he settled right down. When I saw him settle right down after the first eighth of a mile, I thought we were in business. In all his races, it looked like he was gaining at the end. I thought, especially having the mile-and-a-quarter race under his belt, I thought we’d take a shot.”
Elnaawi was up for third over third choice Samraat after racing far back early.
Kid Cruz, the 3-2 favorite, trailed to the far turn, and flattened out after a brief wide rally to wind up seventh.
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