10/19/2012 2:33PM

Belmont Park: Hymn Book easy winner of Frank Martin Stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Hymn Book gallops home under Joel Rosario in Friday's Frank Martin Stakes. Hymn Book is now 5 for 7 over wet tracks.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Rebounding in a big way from an uncharacteristically dull effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Hymn Book ($3.50) responded to a drop in class with an easy victory in Friday’s Frank “Pancho” Martin stakes, an overnight stakes worth $80,750 after two late scratches whittled the field to four.

Hymn Book took his customary spot at the back soon after the start, as the import Xin Xu Lin set early fractions of 22.67 and 45.56 seconds over the sloppy track, while pressed by Rule and Small Town.

Rule wrested the lead around the turn, but Hymn Book swung to the middle of the track while quickly gathering momentum, and surged past his three rivals easily through the upper stretch under Joel Rosario.

Hymn Book widened the lead with every stride under a hand ride, winning by 5 3/4 lengths after 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.31 in a sea of slop.

Hymn Book, who has never won on a fast track, was notching his first victory for trainer Shug McGaughey since the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 11. He improved to 5-0-1 from seven starts on wet tracks overall, and earned $51,000 for owner-breeder Stuart S. Janney III.

Small Town Talk was second best by better than a dozen lengths. Rule was third by over 17 lengths. Xin Xu Lin completed the order of finish in a strung-out field.

Ponzi Scheme and Isn’t He Perfect were scratched.