08/04/2017 7:11PM

Undefeated Bricks and Mortar gives Brown third straight Hall of Fame Stakes

Debra A. Roma
Bricks and Mortar ran his record to 4 for 4 in Friday's Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – He’s fast, he’s versatile and after Friday, he’s still undefeated.

Bricks and Mortar, who rallied from last behind a modest pace to win the Manila Stakes last month at Belmont Park, sat close to a slower pace on Friday, but still unleashed a similar explosive turn of foot under Joel Rosario to win the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes by three-quarters of a length at Saratoga.

Yoshida, the 2-1 favorite, finished second, a head in front of Big Handsome. It was 1 3/4 lengths back to Snap Decision, who was followed, in order, by Makarios, Parlor, Arklow, Secretary At War and Bonus Points.

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The win was the fourth in as many starts for Bricks and Mortar, a son of Giant’s Causeway trained by Chad Brown for owners Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence.

“He’s everything you want to see in a lightly-raced 3-year-old whether a dirt horse or a turf horse – constant improvement and the will to win,” said Brown, who won his third straight Hall of Fame Stakes and fourth in seven years. “If you set him out in the clear and give him a target, he gets there.”

Brown said he told Rosario in the paddock that he wanted Bricks and Mortar closer to the pace than he was in the Manila, believing this was a better field and attempting to come from too far back wouldn’t work.

Rosario had Bricks and Mortar in a ground-saving position, alternating between third and fourth, but never more than 2 1/2 lengths off the pace established by Secretary At War, who ran a half-mile in 48.11 seconds.

Rosario kept Bricks and Mortar inside as Big Handsome and Yoshida moved in tandem toward Secretary At War approaching the top of the stretch. By midstretch, Big Handsome and Yoshida were head and head for the lead.

Rosario let those two get clear of him, tipped Bricks and Mortar to the three-path and the duo motored home, really turning it on in the last sixteenth of a mile to get the victory.

“You can put him wherever you want, you can be up close, you see what he’s able to do,” Rosario said.

Bricks and Mortar covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:39.47 – the fastest by a full second of nine Hall of Fames run at the distance – and returned $10.20 to win.

“I thought Joel really did good to get him out of the gate and get a pocket trip, forwardly placed is what we talked about,” Brown said. “From there, it’s turf racing, either he’s going to get there or he’s not. I knew that if he was able to save that ground and not be too far away he was good enough.”

Brown said he’s unsure what would be next, though he said Bricks and Mortar was unlikely to run back at this meet.