by Ryan Martin
In the finale of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, Marconi led at every point of call en route to a half-length victory in the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational at Belmont Park.
Breaking from the rail under jockey Jose Lezcano, Marconi led the field into the first turn of the 1 ½ mile journey over the fast main track with stablemate You’re To Blame tracking in second through an opening quarter-mile in 25.16 seconds. With the half-mile in 50.16 seconds, Marconi maintained his lead and kicked away from his stablemate with one mile of the race covered in 1:16.17.
At the top of the stretch, You’re to Blame gave way with Marconi still in charge by one length. A bevy of challenges lined up to take their shot at the leader, including Rocketry, who made a wide move on the outside, but he was unable to catch Marconi who held on by a half-length in a time of 2:28.97.
Rocketry finished second, a head in front of Realm.
Completing the order of finish were Campaign, You’re to Blame, Sonneteer, Biblical and War Story.
The Brooklyn Invitational was a first graded stakes triumph for Marconi, who racked up his third stakes victory in a row. He previously scored stakes wins in Gulfstream Park’s Skip Away on March 29 and the Flat Out on May 9 at Belmont Park.
Trainer Todd Pletcher stated that the plan was not to be on the lead.
“It seems like he’s really found his niche. He’s gradually improving and been a lot more consistent in not only his races, but also training,” Pletcher said. “I was happy to see him continue moving forward. The plan wasn’t to be on the front but we wanted him to be in the race. Especially from the one-hole, I didn’t want him to be shuffled back and over complicate things for him. Once Jose was able to establish that spot, the fractions were very reasonable. He kept finding a way to get it done.”
Pletcher said the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban on July 6 is a possibility for his next start.
“From here, we’ll consider going a mile and a quarter in the [Grade 2] Suburban [July 6]. A prestigious race like that would mean a lot for him,” Pletcher said.
Lezcano said Marconi kicked into gear when it really mattered.
"He broke a little slow. He was looking around a little bit, but after that, I sent him and let him gallop alone on the lead,” Lezcano said. “When I asked at the three-sixteenths pole, he gave me everything he had and went on to win the race. I wanted to be close. When the other Pletcher horse came to me, I wouldn't give him the lead."
The Brooklyn was a fourth victory in nine career starts for Marconi, who brought up his lifetime earnings to $424,702 after cashing $220,000 from Saturday’s win.
Marconi returned $10.40 for a $2 win wager as the post time third-choice.
Bred in Kentucky by Brushwood Stable, Marconi is by Tapit out of the Ponche broodmare Ponche de Leona who also produced 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. He is owned by Bridlewood Stable, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. He was purchased for $2 million from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016.