04/23/2017 5:27PM

Gold for the King overcomes all obstacles to win Times Square

Robert Mauhar/NYRA
Joel Rosario caps a four-win day aboard Gold for the King in the Times Square division of the New York Stallion Series stakes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - He was returning from a four-month layoff, needed a shoe repair in the paddock, and raced widest of all in the stretch.

None of that mattered to Gold for the King, who rallied stoutly in the final three-sixteenths of a mile to win the $100,000 Times Square division of the New York Stallion Series by 1 3/4 lengths over T Loves a Fight on closing day at Aqueduct. It was three lengths back to Reason to Soar in third. He was followed, in order, by Italian Syndicate, Bavaro, Mission Leader, and Jaime’s Angel. Duquesne Whistle scratched.

Jockey Joel Rosario capped a four-win afternoon on Gold for the King. Rosario also won the $100,000 Memories of Silver Stakes aboard Party Boat.

Gold for the King was making his first start since Dec. 17 when he finished second to Bavaro in a division of the Stallion Series. Just before he left the receiving barn on the backside at Aqueduct, Gold for the King sprung his right front shoe. He walked to the paddock, where he had a new shoe put on, but was acting up a bit in the paddock.

“He wanted to rear up,” trainer Charlton Baker said. “He’s still a big baby.”

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In the race, though, Gold for the King was more relaxed. He was fifth, about four lengths off the pace, as Italian Syndicate sped off to a 1 1/2-length lead while running a quarter-mile in 22.78 seconds and a half-mile in 45.27.

Gold for the King rallied five wide around the turn and surprised Rosario by  how quickly he caught up to the two horses in front of him in upper stretch. He took over the lead inside the eighth pole and easily outfinished T Loves a Fight for the victory.

“When we turned for home I was a little surprised how fast he caught those two horses that were in front of me,” Rosario said. “I didn’t even ask him to do something yet. He just takes a little bit of time but he has a nice, long stride.”

Gold for the King, a gelding by Posse owned and bred by Francis Paolangelli, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.53 and returned $5.20 to win.

Baker said he was pleased with the performance that will now lead Gold for the King to the $125,000 Mike Lee for New York breds at Belmont Park on May 29.