04/08/2011 2:41PM

Belmont: Brooklyn Handicap next major target for Inherit the Gold

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Inherit the Gold will come back two weeks after winning the Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct for Saturday night's $1 milliion Charles Town Classic.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Jim Hooper would like to keep his streaking New York-bred gelding Inherit the Gold competing on the New York Racing Association circuit, but he would also like to keep him racing around two turns. With the Belmont Park meet about three weeks away, there is only one real opportunity for Inherit the Gold to do both.

Indeed, Hooper is pointing Inherit the Gold to the Grade 2, $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont at 1 1/2 miles on June 10. Hooper would like to get one prep race before then and is tentatively looking at the One Count, an overnight stakes going 1 1/4 miles at Belmont on May 15.

“I’d like to get to the Brooklyn,’’ Hooper said. “He doesn’t show me any indications more ground is going to bother him. The most important thing is to keep him happy and not racing him for a prolonged period of time is not going to keep him happy.’’

Inherit the Gold has won five consecutive races – most recently taking the Grade 3, $100,000 Excelsior Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths on April 2. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.34 and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

Despite Inherit the Gold running arguably the best race of his career, Hooper said it was touch-and-go for a little while in the days leading up to the race. On March 31, Hooper said Inherit the Gold “over-trained a little bit and I thought I might have left my race on the track.’’

Hooper said that on the van ride from Belmont to Aqueduct on race day Inherit the Gold got “unusually hot’’ and he thought he might have to scratch the horse.

“If I couldn’t cool him off I wasn’t going to be able to run him,’’ Hooper said.

Based at Belmont all winter, Inherit the Gold will be leaving next weekend for Saratoga, where he will be based for the foreseeable future. Saratoga opens for training on April 18.