At long last, Drosselmeyer returned to the winner's circle, taking yesterday's One Count Stakes at Belmont Park by a determined neck. It was his first win since scoring by three-quarters of a length over Fly Down in last year's Belmont Stakes at odds of 13-1.
To be fair, Drosselmeyer has only had a few chances to win since his career making win. Ankle issues forced the WinStar charge to miss the remainder of the 2010 season, and he had only started twice this year before the One Count, finishing 4th in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs March 5 and 5th in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park one month later.
In a race that on paper had the more the look of a graded stakes rather than a $60,000 overnight affair, Drosselmeyer, the second choice, stalked slow fractions from the rail. As the field dawdled through six furlongs 1:14.21 and a mile in 1:39.59, three horses would mount a challenge to the leader, Birdrun. Drosselmeyer on the rail, Alma d’Oro in the middle, and favored Inherit the Gold on the far outside, all moved to even terms with the leader in early stretch. The four would battle for a bit before Drosselmeyer and pacesetter Birdrun began to inch away. The defending Belmont winner stuck his neck in front inside the eighth pole and despite a resurgent battle from Birdrun, was able to gamely get to the wire first under rider Jose Lezcano.
The win was the Bill Mott trained colt’s second career stakes win, and his 4th overall victory in 12 lifetime starts. He paid $6.90 for the win, as he pushed his career earnings just a shade below $850,000. Final time for the 1 ¼ miles over the dead-playing Belmont main strip was a rather pedestrian 2:06.07.
Slow time or no, it seems only fitting that Drosselmeyer returned to the winner’s circle at the site of his biggest win. The son of Distorted Humor could keep his roll at Belmont Park going next month with an expected start in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap on June 10. Run at the same 12 furlong marathon distance as the Belmont, the Brooklyn just happens to be the day before this year’s Belmont Stakes … Things may be finally coming together for the attractive chestnut.
Here's last year's Belmont ...