10/24/2009 11:00PM

Banrock completes NY-bred turf sweep


Even with a new jockey, Banrock was his same old reliable self, winning Sunday's at Belmont Park and completing a sweep of this circuit's four traditional turf stakes for New York-breds.

With regular rider Kent Desormeaux in California Sunday to work leading 3-year-old Summer Bird for the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Classic, Javier Castellano climbed aboard Banrock and gave the gelding a perfect stalking trip before taking control inside the eighth pole. He cruised to a one-length victory over longshot Gimme Credit, who slid through along the rail to get second by a head over Solvent. It was three-quarters of a length back to the pacesetting Pennington.

Castellano had Banrock three wide and about four lengths off the pace after a pedestrian six furlongs in1 1:15.61. He maintained his wide position into the stretch and struck the front inside the eighth pole en route to victory. Banrock covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.66 over soft turf and returned $3.80 to win.

"I watched his last couple of races very closely, the way Kent Desormeaux rode him," said Castellano. "I wanted to ride him exactly the same way today and that's what I did. I know in his past performances he handled the soft turf very well. I had the best horse in the race, and I just wanted to ride him right."

Banrock added the Mohawk to victories in the Kingston, West Point, and Ashley T. Cole earlier in the year. Those are the four traditional turf stakes the New York Racing Association has for New York-bred male turf horses. Banrock had won the other two races twice, but this was his first Mohawk in three tries.

"That was fantastic," winning trainer Tom Bush said. "Today he really did get a dream trip. He had the great outside stalking trip and he got his soft course. He's just a wonderful horse. You know he's going to show up, he just needs a little racing luck and usually gets it done. . . . I really, really did want to win this race this year."

Bush said he may run Banrock one more time but ruled out the Grade 3 Red Smith at Aqueduct on Nov. 7 because it comes in only two weeks.

Banrock, owned by Ruth Bedford's Nyala Farm, has now won 12 races from 30 starts and has earned $708,013.