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Kid Cruz edges Captain Serious to capture G3 Dwyer

By Jenny Kellner | 07/05/2014 04:10 PM ET
Kid Cruz
PHOTO/Chelsea Durand

Kid Cruz notched his fourth stakes win and first in a graded event on Saturday's Stars & Stripes Day at Belmont Park, coming from off the pace to reel in entrymate Captain Serious in the final yards and win the 97th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Dwyer by three-quarters of a length.

With Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons, Kid Cruz was content to run in fourth as Captain Serious set pressured fractions of 23.43 and 46.57 seconds. Shaking off Tiz Dark on the turn, Captain Serious swung into the lane with a two-length advantage and seemingly had the race in hand until Ortiz angled Kid Cruz to the outside and powered past in the shadow of the wire.

Kid Cruz's winning time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:41.12.

"He's a little lazy, but he was closer [to the pace] the whole way," said Ortiz, who was aboard for Kid Cruz's victory last month in the Easy Goer on Belmont Stakes Day. "I knew he was going to give me a kick at the end."

Owned by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable, Kid Cruz lifted his record to 4-1-0 from six starts as a 3-year-old, including victories in the Private Terms at Laurel Park, the Federico Tesio at Pimlico Race Course and the Easy Goer. Claimed for $50,000 by Vina del Mar last November from Black Swan Stable, which later bought back a share of the Lemon Drop Kid colt, Kid Cruz has now earned $368,375.

The entry returned $3.40 as the 3-5 choice.

"This horse seems to be getting better all the time - perfecting his trade," said trainer Linda Rice of Kid Cruz, who is named after New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. "We've got Saratoga coming up, and I'm very excited about that. Obviously he's got to meet each goal, and today was a big one. These are tough races at Belmont Park and he got through unscathed. I think he qualifies to go to Saratoga and hopefully point for the Jim Dandy [July 26] and the Travers [August 23]."

Captain Serious, whose three-race undefeated streak facing New York-breds came to an end in his first start beyond seven furlongs, was 4 ½ lengths clear of Ulanbator.

"He certainly didn't get any breaks on the pace; it was a very legitimate pace," said Mike Hushion, who trains Captain Serious for Barry Schwartz. "We'll learn what we can from it and move forward."

Spot checked in fourth, with Tiz Dark and Gaining Ground completing the order of finish.