06/01/2013 6:19PM

Belmont Park: King Kreesa sets comfortable pace, powers home in Kingston Stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
King Kreesa scores a front-running, 2 1/4-length victory in the $125,000 Kingston Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The old racing adage pace makes the race was clearly evident in Saturday’s $125,000 Kingston Stakes at Belmont Park as the front-running King Kreesa was able to get away with comfortable early fractions on his way to a 2 1/4-length victory in the race for New York-breds on the turf.

Under Irad Ortiz Jr., King Kreesa maintained a length advantage through a half-mile in 47.71 seconds – two seconds slower than the fractions he set when third in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy – before powering home his final quarter in 22.74 to cover the mile in 1:33.99. He returned $8.60 to win.

Kharafa, who steadied and came off the rail under Rajiv Maragh in deep stretch, finished second by a half-length over Lubash, the 9-5 favorite. Street Game, Abilio, Sneaky Kitten, Lightning Stone, and Minnie Punt completed the order of finish.

“He can carry his speed, even if he goes fast, but today I thought he had some nice breaks,” said Jeremiah Englehart, who trains King Kreesa for Susan and Gerald Kresa . “The fractions were a couple of ticks slower. I think that made a big difference.”

This was the fourth win from 13 career starts for King Kreesa, a gelding by King Cugat. Three of his wins have come at Belmont, and he also finished second in the Grade 1 Jamaica last year, also at Belmont.

On Saturday, King Kreesa was facing New York-breds for the first time since last August, when he was beaten a neck by Sportswriter in a New York Stallion Stakes race at Saratoga.

“I knew all along I wanted to run him in New York-bred races, but I knew it wasn’t like he’s getting a breather from the other races he was in,” Englehart said. “Lubash is a nice horse. Those horses are going to be knocking heads all year long. I’m sure we’re going to give them some wins. Hopefully, they’ll give us one or two more.”