05/23/2004 12:00AM

Favored Quantum Merit takes Kingston


ELMONT, N.Y. - Quantum Merit, the even-money favorite, hung on for a nose win in Sunday's $114,300 Kingston Handicap at Belmont Park.

The late-charging Foreverness finished second, two lengths in front of Golden Commander in the 1 1/8-mile grass race for New York-breds. Celtic Sky, who won the Kingston two years ago, finished fourth in the 10-horse field.

Quantum Merit, with Richard Migliore in the saddle, controlled the pace through fractions of 24.69 seconds, 48.28, 1:11.99, and 1:35.14. Foreverness, who saved ground into the stretch, cut into Quantum Merit's one-length lead in the final furlong, but ran out of ground.

Quantum Merit ($4.20) covered the distance over a firm course in 1:47.00.

Owned by Very Un Stable, Quantum Merit is trained by Del Carroll II. A 5-year-old son of Hansel, Quantum Merit has won five of 11 starts at Belmont. The Kingston is the third stakes win for the gelding, who last year won the Ashley T. Cole at Belmont and the Cormorant at Aqueduct.