05/07/2011 6:11PM

Belmont Park: Straight Story all the way in Fort Marcy

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Straight Story scores a gate-to-wire victory in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Straight Story, who was beaten a head in the Colonial Turf Cup, Virginia Derby, and Jamaica Stakes as a 3-year-old and led between calls in deep stretch of last year’s United Nations Stakes, notched a long overdue graded stakes victory by wiring Saturday’s Grade 3, $98,000 Fort Marcy Stakes.

Making his first start as a 5-year-old, Straight Story broke to the lead under Carlos Marquez Jr. and set early fractions of 24.25 seconds, 48.78, and 1:12.95. Despite drifting out under pressure through the stretch, the 5-year-old New York-bred was able to hold off an inside bid from 7-5 favorite Hudson Steele and prevailed by a neck.

“My instructions were to go to the front and then let him relax and try to save some horse for the end, since he’s fresh” Marquez said. “They let me go a half in 48, and I think that made all the difference . . . when he saw the other horse inside, he kept digging, digging, digging.”

Straight Story ($8.30) improved to 4-4-0 from 8 starts on Belmont turf for trainer Alan Goldberg, after running 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.84 over a Widener course labeled firm.

“He runs well fresh,” Goldberg said. “He’s an honest horse and he is what he is. He caught a good race today – there wasn’t much pace in there and it set up for him.”

Hudson Steele, last year’s Jersey Derby winner, finished gamely inside and had 1 1/2-lengths on third-place finisher Sal the Barber – the 2009 Calder Derby winner who was the only previous graded stakes winner among the field of five.

Mikoshi and Riviera Cocktail completed the order of finish.