09/14/2012 2:16PM

Belmont Park: Strong Impact going long


ELMONT, N.Y. – Strong Impact has proven to be the second-best claim owner Thomas La Marca and trainer Bruce Brown made in 2011.

Since being claimed for $35,000 at Saratoga 13 months ago, Strong Impact has 4 wins from 7 starts and earned $168,300 for his new connections. Not quite the $452,800 Compliance Officer has earned since La Marca and Brown took him for $25,000 in May 2011, but not too shabby.

“If you can claim two horses like that every year, you’ll be all right,” Brown said.

While Strong Impact has had all of his success sprinting on turf, Sunday he will try to stretch out to one mile in a $77,000 second-level optional claiming race that serves as Belmont Park’s feature on a 10-race card.

As a 3-year-old, when trained by Richard Schosberg, Strong Impact twice tried a mile, finishing ninth in an overnight stakes at Belmont and eighth in an allowance race at Aqueduct. Last November, in his third start for Brown, Strong Impact finished third, beaten one length in a New York-bred second-level allowance race going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Aqueduct.

This year, Strong Impact has won three of four starts and was beaten a neck in his lone loss. He won going seven furlongs at Belmont in July.

“I was very impressed how he ran last year at Aqueduct, and that was around two turns,” said Brown, who has 3 wins from 8 starts at the Belmont fall meet. “A flat mile here should be easier for him to handle. He couldn’t be doing any better. He’s bounced out of his races unbelievable, so we’ll give it a shot.”

Strong Impact will likely be on the lead under Javier Castellano breaking from post 2. The only other speed in the race is Dynafortwo, who returns from an April layoff. He won a first-level allowance race here last fall and was beaten a nose in an overnight stakes going a mile at Belmont.

Trainer Jason Servis entered both Dominant Jeannes and Best Actor, but said Friday that he plans to run only Dominant Jeannes, who steps up in class after winning for $20,000 at Saratoga by six lengths, his first start off the claim.

“We had done a lot of work on the horse and we thought he’d run lights out,” Servis said. “I told Jose [Lezcano] that we thought he was going to run a big race. He didn’t have a great trip – he was wide the whole way – but that last part he really laid it down.”

Boots Ahead, claimed for $35,000 out of a winning race on Aug. 15 by David Jacobson, steps up into the $50,000 claiming ranks. Boots Ahead has won his last three starts that were not graded stakes, including an overnight stakes here last September.

Voodoo Storm, third in this condition last out at Saratoga, and Percussion, who has yet to try turf in 13 career starts, complete the field.