06/03/2010 11:00PM

Krypton wins duel in Hill Prince


ELMONT, N.Y. - Under a heady ride from Rajiv Maragh, Krypton upset previously undefeated Nordic Truce by a neck in Friday's Grade 3, $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.

Nordic Truce, the 3-5 favorite who surprisingly set the pace under Ramon Dominguez, finished second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Lethal Combination. Gold Medallion and Noah's Dream completed the order of finish. Avenging Spirit scratched.

Krypton had to withstand a steward's inquiry and objection from Dominguez, who claimed interference in the stretch, to maintain the victory.

Under Maragh, Krypton stalked Nordic Truce - who had won his first three starts from off the pace - through pedestrian fractions of 24.94 seconds for the quarter and 49.77 for the half-mile. Approaching the five-sixteenths pole, Maragh asked Krypton to go after Nordic Truce and the two came into the stretch ready for an all-out sprint.

"I wanted to blow the race open there, make it a two-horse race," Maragh said.

With Krypton on the outside of Nordic Truce, the two battled down to the wire with Krypton, carrying seven pounds less than Nordic Truce, outfinishing that rival through a final quarter of 22.45. The two did bump late, but the stewards did not hold Maragh accountable for it. Dominguez did go left-handed at one point on Nordic Truce, and the horse appeared to come out on Krypton, who then came back in on Nordic Truce right at the wire.

"I didn't cross the line of fouling him; actually the contact that we made was when he came out into me," Maragh said. "I didn't take away his spot."

Christophe Clement, trainer of Nordic Truce, thought his horse was intimidated by being on the inside of the bigger Krypton. Dominguez disagreed.

"It wasn't so much intimidation, it was plain-old bumping," said Dominguez, who added that he was disappointed the result was not reversed.

Krypton, a son of Rock Hard Ten owned by Harvey Clarke and Ron Winchell and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, covered the mile in 1:34.97 over firm turf and returned $6.

On paper, it looked like Krypton could be the pacesetter, but McLaughlin did not want his horse to be in front early.

"I wanted to be off the pace, I told him I thought he was better if he could get in behind one or two," said McLaughlin, who also trained third-place finisher Lethal Combination. "I did not expect the favorite to be there."