Calidoscopio may have needed a telescope to see the leaders along the backstretch, but that wasn’t the case at the finish line.
The long-fused 10-year-old erased a 22-length deficit with a dramatic stretch run to win the 125th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap on Friday at Belmont Park.
An Argentine import who won the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon last November, Calidoscopio took his customary spot at the back of the pack as the field ran into the clubhouse turn of the 1 ½-mile race.
Aaron Gryder began to scrub on Calidoscopio at the half-mile pole, and his mount pulled within 5 ½ lengths with a quarter-mile to travel.
Pacesetter Percussion repulsed a bid from Fast Falcon at the head of the stretch as Calidoscopio continued his charge, racing down the center of the track. With 30 yards to travel, Calidoscopio forged to the front en route to a one-length triumph.
“He gallops pretty much for the first mile, mile-and-an-eighth, and then from that point on, we pick it up and he just continues to grow in his stride,” said Gryder. “I felt good at the three-eighths pole. I’m sure, visually, it didn’t look that impressive, but I know he just keeps getting stronger. At the eighth pole, I said, ‘I think I can get there,’ and at the sixteenth pole, I said ‘I’m going to run them down.’ He’s such a character. He’s been racing for eight years and he’s seen it all.”
Calidoscopio, owned by Dona Pancha, completed the distance over the sloppy main track in 2:31.64. Off at 7-1, he returned $17 for a $2 win wager.
In Argentina, Calidoscopio won eight stakes, including the 2009 Group 1 Republica Argentina via disqualification. He came to the United States to win the Breeders’ Cup Marathon in his final start for trainer Guillermo Frankel, then was transferred to Southern California-based conditioner Mike Puype. In his only other start for Puype, the son of Luhuk was fifth in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup on March 23 at Santa Anita.
Calidoscopio improved his record to 11-5-8 in 42 starts. He has now earned $975,154, including $120,000 for his Brooklyn win.
Fast Falcon was third, followed by Keep Me Informed, Ruler On Ice, Flashy Sunrise, Birdrun, and Quick Casablanca.
NYRA Photo by Chelsea Durand