Marconi wins the Flat Out Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park
Coglianese Photos/Elsa Lorieul
Marconi added a second consecutive stakes victory to his résumé in the rescheduled Flat Out Stakes May 9 at Belmont Park.
The Todd Pletcher trainee came into the 1 3/8-mile contest for older horses off a win in the 1 3/16-mile Skip Away Stakes March 29 at Gulfstream Park. The 4-year-old son of Tapit was the youngest of five that made up the Flat Out field.
"Looking at it tactically, we felt like Kendrick (Carmouche, aboard Tour de Force) would be on the lead, and we wanted to make sure to get away from there," Pletcher said. "It's not a long run to the first turn, so we wanted to get out and get position and ended up getting the spot we thought we'd be in.
"The leader opened up a little more than we thought, but the main thing was to get into a good rhythm and not take away anything that came easily to him."
While the favored Rocketry trailed the field, Tour de Force opened a widening lead while clicking off early fractions of :24.68 and :48.97 through a half-mile, ahead by as much as six lengths. But soon after he finished six furlongs in 1:13.37, Marconi, who had been running in second with Monongahela following closely in third, cut that distance to less than two lengths.
Rounding the final turn, jockey Jose Lezcano aboard Marconi bided his time, continuing a length off the leader. Entering the stretch, Lezcano asked Marconi for run and was soon beside the leader, with Monongahela giving chase and Rocketry making up ground.
Marconi pulled clear of the others, finishing 2 3/4 lengths ahead in a final time of 2:15.35.
"We got a very good trip," Lezcano said. "My horse broke good, and we got in a spot where we were second all the way around. When I asked him at the quarter pole, he changed leads and took off."
Rocketry just got up by a nose for second, while Tour de Force outran Monongahela for third by a neck. Twisted Tom rounded out the field.
"(Rocketry) was trying really hard, but the horse in front kept going," jockey Joel Rosario said of his mount. "The track was playing a little quick. I wish it was a longer distance."
Owned by Bridlewood Farm and the Coolmore connections of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor, Marconi is a half brother to grade 1 winner and sire Mucho Macho Man . The owners paid $2 million for the gray colt at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Marconi broke his maiden in his second start as a 2-year-old and returned the next year to finish third in the Withers Stakes (G3). But after off-the-board finishes in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2), he did not race again until his February season debut.
Bred in Kentucky by Brushwood Stable, Marconi is the third stakes winner for his dam, Ponche de Leona, who has two other winners from five foals to race. Marconi brought his record to 3-1-1 from eight starts, and his earnings now total $204,702.