12/10/2011 5:52PM

Aqueduct: Ron the Greek takes Queens County to prove shrewd buy

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NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Ron the Greek makes it two stakes victories in a row by winning the Queens County under Junior Alvarado.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. -  Adam Wachtel had wanted to buy Ron the Greek for more than a year when he finally got his chance in July. Thus far, Ron the Greek has proven worth the wait.

A Kentucky Derby prospect in 2010, Ron the Greek on Saturday recorded his second consecutive stakes victory as a 4-year-old, rolling to a front-running 2 1/4-length victory over odds-on favorite Inherit the Gold in the $65,000 Queens County Stakes at Aqueduct. It was one length back in third to Arson Squad, who finished 3 1/2 lengths clear of stablemate Ea. Fonda Ronda Won finished last in the compact field.

The win was the fifth from 15 starts for Ron the Greek, a Florida-bred son of Full Mandate bred by Jack Hammer, who at first rebuked Wachtel’s offers to buy the colt. In three starts for Wachtel and his partner Nils Brous - and since being transferred to trainer Bill Mott - Ron the Greek has a second and two stakes wins.

In a race void of speed, Ron the Greek took jockey Junior Alvarado to the front in modest fractions of 24.30 seconds, 49.35 and 1:14.17 for six furlongs. Fonda Ronda Won, under Alan Garcia, chased the pace as did Inherit the Gold, who was three wide under Cornelio Velasquez.

Approaching the five-sixteenths pole, Inherit the Gold poked his head in front, but when Alvarado asked Ron the Greek for run, he responded by opening up in and running away from Inherit the Gold. Ron the Greek covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:56.84 and returned $5.20 as the second choice.

Wachtel said he wanted to buy Ron the Greek after the horse, then trained by Tom Amoss, won the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds in January 2010, but Hammer declined to sell. When the horse finished sixth in his next two starts at 3, he was given time off and was transferred to Tom Albertrani and then Peter Walder.

Though he went winless in six starts, Ron the Greek ran a couple of solid races, including a third in an overnight stakes race at Belmont in May and a half-length loss when fourth in an allowance race at Monmouth in early July.

At that point, Wachtel got in touch with Hammer who agreed to sell part-interest in the horse.

"He basically said I think he just needs a change," Wachtel recalled Hammer telling him. "Maybe if you bring him over to Bill Mott we can straighten him out."

After Ron the Greek finished second in an allowance race at Saratoga at the end of July, Mott gave the horse some time off to recover from some physical issues. He has come back with two straight solid efforts.

"Nothing serious, Bill just said he wasn’t perfect," Wachtel said. "Bill, as you see over the years, when he gets them right they run well."

Wachtel said that Ron the Greek will soon join Mott’s south Florida division. He will be pointed to the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28.

Meanwhile, Inherit the Gold had his five-race win streak over the inner track snapped. Racing three wide, Inherit the Gold was forced to make an early move and he was no match for Ron the Greek in the stretch.

Inherit the Gold will likely run back in the $65,000 Alex M. Robb Stakes for New York-breds here on Dec. 31, trainer Jim Hooper said.