BROOKLYN HANDICAP | PURSE: $150,000 | GRADE 2 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | 1 1/2 MILES
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Like all horses when they are 3, Drosselmeyer only got one chance to run in the Belmont Stakes, and he made the most of it. But one year later, he still has the opportunity to run 1 1/2 miles at Belmont Park, and trainer Bill Mott has seized the moment.
Drosselmeyer, back at his favorite track and at a distance at which he is certainly proven, heads the field Friday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap, a race for older horses that serves as a dress rehearsal for riders, and television crews, who will be back Saturday for the Belmont Stakes.
The Brooklyn is the 10th and final race on Friday's card and is preceded by the Poker Stakes for turf milers. Both races will be shown live from 5-6 p.m. Eastern on Versus. The Brooklyn also is the first half of the Brooklyn-Belmont double wager.
Drosselmeyer has raced just three times since last year's Belmont, in which he scored a 13-1 surprise. He was off for nine months before running two below-par races in Florida, but in his last start, he captured the One Count Stakes going 1 1/4 miles at Belmont, a track at which he owns two wins and a second in three starts.
"It looks like it took a couple of races to get back in the swing of things," Mott said Wednesday morning. "I think a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half helps him. And he likes Belmont."
Only five horses are in the Brooklyn, three of whom chased Drosselmeyer home in the One Count. That includes Birdrun, whom Mott also trains. Birdrun appears to be the controlling speed in the Brooklyn, as he was in the One Count, which he lost by a neck. He will carry six fewer pounds (124-118) this time, while Drosselmeyer loses just one pound (120-119), a swing of five pounds.
"Both horses are doing very well," Mott said. "I'd prefer not to run them against each other, but when you look at it, both deserve to run in that race."
Alma d'Oro was fourth in the One Count and carries eight fewer pounds (124-116) this time. The One Count was his first race in seven weeks.
"I'm hoping he's a little tighter for this race," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He hung in there the other day, and if condition came into play last time, I think we can improve on that."
Afleet Again was fifth of six in the One Count.
Eldaafer, who won this race in 2009 and was third last year, is coming off a win against far softer on turf at Atlantic City.