Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
South American imports Quick Casablanca and Calidoscopio headline the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap at 1 ½ miles on the main track, one of two graded stakes on Friday, the day before the Belmont Stakes.
The Brooklyn Handicap for 3-year-olds and up is the first leg of the Brooklyn-Belmont Stakes Double, which requires bettors to select the winner of both races.
Quick Casablanca, a Chilean-bred, won Group 1 races on two surfaces in South America in 2012, taking the Grade 1 El Derby on the turf in his native country and the Group 1 Asociacion Latinoamericana on the dirt in Argentina.
In his final start in South America, Quick Casablanca finished third in the Group 1 Gran Premio Hipodromo Chile in May 2012. He was subsequently sent to North America by owner Pablo Gomez and placed with trainer Christophe Clement.
In his lone stateside start to date, Quick Casablanca raced evenly to finish third, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Grade 1 stakes winner Teaks North, in the Good Reward overnight stakes over Belmont’s inner turf course on May 15.
“He came out of the race in good order and has had two breezes since,” said Clement. “I know he stays, so it’s a fun race to see how he runs on dirt. He might be a little one-paced, so he might be better on dirt than on turf. We’ll try. It’s a bit difficult comparing North American form to Southern America. He was second best to a horse named Omayad who has been running in the U.S. but hasn’t had too much success, so it’s a difficult form to assess.”
Joel Rosario has the return assignment aboard Quick Casablanca, who drew post position 3, was assigned 120 pounds, and installed at 4-1 on the morning line.
The Brooklyn will be the third start in the United States for Argentine-bred Calidoscopio, who registered a 17-1 upset in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon in November at Santa Anita in his final start for trainer Guillermo Frankel. Transferred to Mike Puype, Calidoscopio finished a non-threatening fifth in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup on March 23 at Santa Anita, the 10-year-old’s lone start this year.
“He’s a horse who continues to have his little issues, but he’ll be ready to run this week,” said Puype. “The ultimate goal is to have him ready to run a mile and three quarters in the Breeders’ Cup this fall, and we need to find some races out of town with him because there isn’t much [in California] for him.”
Aaron Gryder, aboard Calidoscopio in the Breeders’ Cup and Tokyo City Cup, will ride the Stud Dona Pancha color-bearer once again in the Brooklyn. The 122-pound highweight was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite and drew post 4.
The top three finishers of the Albert the Great overnight stakes – Percussion, Fast Falcon, and Birdrun – have been entered back in the Brooklyn.
In the 1 1/8-mile Albert the Great on May 12 at Belmont, Percussion set the pace and held off Fast Falcon in a lengthy stretch battle to prevail by a nose, with Birdrun, the 2011 Brooklyn Handicap winner, finishing an additional 13 ¾ lengths behind in third. The Brooklyn field also includes recent optional claiming winners Keep Me Informed and Flashy Sunrise, as well as Ruler On Ice, the 2011 Belmont Stakes victor who was second in the Majestic Light Stakes on May 25 at Monmouth Park.