10/02/2009 11:00PM

Brave Tin Soldier turns it on late


Brave Tin Soldier edged Pleasant Strike by a nose Saturday to win the on a yielding turf course at the Meadowlands.

The victory was the second in six starts and the first stakes triumph for Brave Tin Soldier since arriving from Dubai earlier this year.

Owned and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Carlos Marquez Jr., Brave Tin Soldier ($11.60) improved to 4 for 25 as he ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.52.

The Cliff Hanger, the first graded stakes of the meet, unfolded as expected, with Get Serious, the 9-5 favorite, on the lead. A winner of 4 of 5 stakes over the summer at Monmouth Park, Get Serious had early and persistent company from the New Jersey-bred At the Disco.

Whether it was the pressure or a softer course than he prefers, Get Serious lacked his usual stretch determination.

Pleasant Strike had first run at the fading leaders, splitting horses in the lane to grab a clear inside lead. He dug in, but could not hold off Brave Tin Soldier, who rallied relentlessly from the back of the pack.

"I knew there was some pace in here and the turf was very soft," Marquez said. "I didn't think this track would hurt my horse at all. He's a come-from-behinder and I just waited until we turned for home. When I asked him, his turn of foot was very fast."

Kiss the Kid, last year's Cliff Hanger winner, was third, followed by Vanquisher, Get Serious, and At the Disco.

Nergal, third in last year's Cliff Hanger, and Even Raise, the lone main-track-only entrant, were early scratches.