Trainer Velazquez ‘Derby Dreaming’ After Brooklyn Strong’s Remsen Victory

Mark Schwartz’s Brooklyn Strong showed up with a big effort in the final furlong to win the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct in Ozone Park, N.Y., over the 6-5 favorite, Ten for Ten.

Ten for Ten took an early lead, setting the pace through fractions of :23.67, :47.86, 1:12.69, and 1:37.96 on a sloppy track. Sent off at odds of 7-1, Brooklyn Strong challenged the leader in the stretch and pulled ahead to win the 1 1/8 mile race by a neck with Ten for Ten taking second and 8 3/4 lengths separating the two from the third place finisher, Known Agenda, followed by Pickin’ Time and Erawan. Brooklyn Strong returned $16.20 on a $2 win bet.

Final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.80.

“I was very confident going in,” winning trainer Daniel Velazquez said in a post-race interview. “I knew the distance was key and I was confident about the off track. I was happy with his performance. He really dug in. Today was a big showcase for him against tougher competition and I couldn’t be happier.”

This is the first graded stakes win for the NewYork-bred gelding and the first for his sire, Wicked Strong, who has two crops to race. Brooklyn Strong is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare, Riviera Chic. Prior to today’s win, Brooklyn Strong had crossed the finish line first in two of three starts including the Sleepy Hollow Stakes at Belmont. Brooklyn Strong was purchased for $5,000 by Schwartz at the OBS 2-year-old in training sale in April of 2020. He was ridden today by Joel Rosario. This was the first graded stakes win for trainer Daniel Velazquez.

“I broke well and it looked like they were running away from me a little bit,” Rosario. “So I had to ride him to get position. I didn’t want to let him fall back, so I rode him to stay within a couple of lengths. I was happy with how he was progressing and I was confident he was going to have something left for the end.”

Today’s win earned the son of Wicked Strong 10 qualifying points for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

“We’ll come back healthy and then start picking our spots,” Velazquez said on earning the Derby points. “This is a big prep for the Derby moving forward. Now, we’re definitely Derby dreaming.”

 

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