05/30/2015 8:09PM

Force the Pass best by a head in Penn Mile

B&D Photography
Force the Pass, under Joel Rosario, outfinishes Night Prowler in the Penn Mile.

GRANTVILLE, Pa. - It wasn't pretty but Force the Pass got the job done in the Grade 3, $500,000 Penn Mile, rallying hard late to overtake Night Prowler in deep stretch and win by a head.

"It was kind of tough for me the whole way," said winning rider Joel Rosario. "Every time I tried to make a move, there was always somebody in the way, but he got the job done. I was between horses the whole time. I wasn't sure where to go."

Rosario finally found a clear path for Force the Pass nearing the sixteenth pole and he accelerated to get up in the nick of time.

Force the Pass, the sixth choice in the 11-horse field, paid $20 to win. The exacta with 9-2 Night Prowler returned $100.60.

Night Prowler made a sharp move towards the leaders nearing the stretch, took the lead in upper stretch, and just failed to last.

Granny's Kitten, making only his third career start, was taken off the rail in the stretch and finished well for third, three-quarters of a length behind Night Prowler.

Eight horses finished within two lengths of Force the Pass. Ocho Ocho Ocho, the second choice at 4-1, was fourth. The 3-1 favorite, Papacoolpapacool, was taken well out in the track in upper stretch and finished willingly to be beaten 1 1/4 lengths.

Woodwin W, who was undefeated in four starts coming into the race, finished 10th at 5-1 after dropping farther back than usual early.

Force the Pass, a son of Speightstown, is trained by Alan Goldberg. Force the Pass is owned and was bred by Richard Santulli, who raced Force the Pass's dam, Social Queen, a graded winner on turf.

Force the pass completed a mile in 1:34.03. The early splits were 22.89 seconds, 46.42, 1:10.27, and 1:22.13.

Force the Pass finished second in the $100,000 James Murphy on Preakness Day at Pimlico despite a tricky inside trip and having to check momentarily entering the stretch.

"We thought highly of him from Day 1," Goldberg said. "He ran hard in the Pimlico race and that was the first time he ever  really ran hard."

Goldberg said Force the Pass would be considered for the $1.25 million Belmont Derby at 1 1/4 miles on turf July 4.

"He doesn’t train like he just wants to go a mile," Goldberg said. "He trains like he wants to go all day. He’s kind of a big, long horse with a big, long stride."