07/04/2010 11:00PM

Roaring Lion hangs on in Mr. Prospector


The Bruce Levine-trained Roaring Lion just outlasted a closing Wildcat Brief to post a narrow win in the at Monmouth Park on Monday.

Unwritten shook loose in the early stages of the six-furlong Mr. Prospector, racing through an opening quarter-mile of 22 seconds flat and a half-mile in 44.19 seconds. On the turn, Roaring Lion ($10) made a run at the pacesetter, and he went by rather easily, opening a clear lead at the eighth pole. Wildcat Brief still had some run, however, and he made a late bid after being forced to alter course, but he came up a nose short of catching Roaring Lion on the wire. Unwritten held the show, a length behind the top pair.

Eddie Castro rode Roaring Lion, who covered the six furlongs in 1:09.07 over a fast main track. Owned by Repole Stable, Roaring Lion posted his third victory in six starts at Monmouth, and his 10th win overall. The exacta combining Roaring Lion and Wildcat Brief returned $74.20

"The race set up just as we thought," said Castro. "In the stretch, he ran on well and dug in to hold off the other horse."

Choice Stakes: Fantastico Roberto all the way

In the day's co-feature, Fantastico Roberto took full advantage of a lack of speed in the field to win the in gate-to-wire fashion.

The pace scenario of the 1 1/8-mile Choice was changed with the scratch of Two Notch Road, the expected pacesetter in the field, which otherwise featured little in the way of pure speed. That was just fine for Fantastico Roberto, who broke on top and set mild fractions on an extremely firm turf course, racing in hand through an opening quarter-mile of 23.52 seconds and a half in 48.77. Devon Rock made a run at the eventual winner into the turn and at the top of the lane, but Fantastico Roberto just spurted clear again into the lead, winning by 3 1/4 lengths and stopping the timer in 1:47.23. They Call Me Giant closed for the place in his stakes debut, a neck in front of Devon Rock, who saved the show.

"I was trying to get him to relax, and when I asked him down the lane he responded," said winning rider John Velazquez.

Owned by Team Valor International and trained by Todd Pletcher, Fantastico Roberto paid $6.40 to win and keyed a $29.80 exacta with They Call Me Giant. Coming off a second-place finish in the Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth in his last start, today's win was Fantastico Roberto's first victory in five starts in the United States.