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Colizeo, Rodman Headline Suburban

Colizeo top story.
When 6-year-old Gen Monroe took the first running of the Suburban Handicap in 1884, he became the first of only 13 horses his age or better to have won one of the most venerable stakes in American racing.

 

Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, a pair of 6-year-olds squares off in the 126th edition of the Grade 2, $300,000 Suburban Handicap, which drew a solid field of six as graded stakes action commences for the three-day Independence Day weekend.

 

Rodman, most recently seen finishing an eye-catching second to Tizway in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, and Icabad Crane, a close-up third in the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer Memorial at Pimlico on Preakness Day, will cross paths for the first time in the 1 1/8-mile Suburban, which is joined by the Grade 2 Dwyer on the 11-race card.

 

Unraced at age 5 due to a foot injury, followed by a bout of colic, Rodman returned to action in February, finishing second in a six-furlong optional claimer at Aqueduct Racetrack. A front-running winner of the Irish Tower overnight stakes on April 14, the son of Malibu Moon went off at 36-1 in the Met Mile and closed stoutly to finish 2 ¾ lengths behind Tizway, earning a career-best 108 Beyer speed figure in the process.

 

“We were thrilled with his race,” said Mike Hushion, who trains the winner of the 2009 Grade 3 Queens County for Barry Schwartz. “It was a very good effort, and he seems to have come out of the race well. We’re hoping for another good performance.”

 

Javier Castellano rides Rodman, 2-1 on the morning line, from the rail.

 

Icabad Crane spent most of 2010 facing fellow New York-breds, including a second to Friend Or Foe in the Empire Classic at Belmont and a victory in the Alex M. Robb on New Year’s Eve. He followed that with a 2 ¼-length win in the restricted G’Day Mate overnight stakes at the Big A in February to open his 2011 campaign, then was a hard-closing third to Apart and Colizeo in the 1 1/16-mile Schaefer.

 

“He ran a pretty good race at Pimlico,” said trainer Graham Motion. “This is a logical step for him – the timing of this race is very good, and it’s the same distance and at the same track as the Empire Classic, where he jumped up at the start and had to close from last. He’s mellowed a bit with age, and he’s just a neat horse to be around.”

 

Rajiv Maragh rides the Earle Mack color-bearer, 9-2 on the morning line, from post position 4.

 

Colizeo, trained by Todd Pletcher for the Wertheimer brothers, Gerard and Alain, will be making only his second career start at Belmont Park in the Suburban, having won the Star of Cozzene overnight stakes here last October 2.

 

“I’m hoping the race he won at Belmont indicates he likes Belmont,” said Pletcher of the well-traveled colt, who has compiled a 5-3-3 mark from 15 starts at eight different tracks, including a victory in the Grade 3 Northern Dancer at Churchill Downs last June. “We’re stepping up a notch here, but it’s a logical step given what he’s shown.”

 

Cornelio Velasquez rides the 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt, 4-1 on the morning line, from post 2.

 

Hymn Book has made a number of appearances at Belmont Park, but Saturday will mark just his second start on the main track, having won the off-the-turf Three Coins Up in 1:47 on May 19.

 

“He’s doing well and his last race was good; the numbers were supposedly really good on him,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey of the Arch gelding, who earned a 104 Beyer speed figure in the Three Coins Up. “It might be an ambitious place, but we’ll see.”

 

The second choice at 5-2 on the morning line, Hymn Book will leave from the outside under John Velazquez.

 

Rounding out the Suburban field are Convocation, who was second behind Haynesfield in the 2010 Suburban and most recently finished third to Friend Or Foe in the Easy Goer overnight stakes, and Flat Out, sixth behind Pool Play in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 18.

 

The field for the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Rodman (KY)

J Castellano

115

M E Hushion

 2-1

2

Colizeo (KY)

C H Velasquez

115

T A Pletcher

 4-1

3

Convocation (KY)

R A Dominguez

115

J A Jerkens

 6-1

4

Icabad Crane (NY)

R Maragh

115

H G Motion

 9-2

5

Flat Out (FL)

A O Solis

115

C L Dickey

 8-1

6

Hymn Book (KY)

J R Velazquez

115

C R McGaughey III

 5-1


 

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