Sunday afternoon, before a Mother’s Day crowd of 7,835 at Belmont Park, all the elements came together and favored Banrock strutted away to a 4¾-length victory over front-running longshot Mission Approved to win the 31st running of the $108,500 Kingston Stakes for New York-breds. Originally scheduled for the inner turf course, the race was run at a mile and a sixteenth on the soft Widener (outer) turf course.
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux had an easy trip aboard Banrock,who returned $4.70 to win. Mission Approved and jockey Rajiv Maragh opted for the lead, getting the first quarter of a mile in 24.62 and the half in 50.04, which was legitimate considering the week of rain that finally gave way to Sunday’s sunny afternoon. Desormeaux kept Banrock on the rail, right in behind the leader. When Mission Approved began to wilt at the top of the stretch, Desormeaux moved outside and Banrock brought him to the finish in 1:45.68
“(It was) a dream trip,” Desormeaux said of his second winner of the day. “The horse was full of run; it was an armchair ride. The second-place horse (Mission Approved) leading the field died right when it was time for me to go, so it was a nice filtration to the lead.”
Stormy Success was third, followed by Solvent, Pennington, Icabad Crane and Giant Moon.
It was the first turf try for both Icabad Crane, who was third in last year’s Preakness, and Giant Moon, winner of Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Excelsior on the dirt on April 4.