10/07/2017 6:56PM

Yoshida maneuvers to Hill Prince Stakes victory

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Barbara D. Livingston
Yoshida paid $10.40 in winning the Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y.  - Yoshida, a runner-up with trouble in each of his last two starts, overcame some traffic issues in the stretch Saturday to record a neck victory in the Grade 3, $500,000 Hill Prince Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf at Belmont Park.

Lucullan rallied down the center of the course to get second by a half-length over Bricks and Mortar, the 3-2 favorite, who bumped with Yoshida in midstretch. There was a stewards’ inquiry and Joel Rosario, Bricks and Mortar's rider, claimed foul against the winner, but the stewards let the result stand.

Frostmourne, who finished fourth, came over on Yoshida, who in turn exchanged bumps with Bricks and Mortar.

“It looked like Frostmourne came over a little bit and crowded both of us a little bit,” said Bill Mott, Yoshida's trainer.

Manny Franco, who rode Yoshida, said: “I had a lot of horse. I just hold my position.”

Rosario felt the bumping caused him to lose his position while Chad Brown, the trainer of Bricks and Mortar, said “My horse got bumped a lot. I’m surprised they didn’t look at it closer to make a change.”

For Yoshida, the win was his first in a graded stakes in his fourth attempt. He finished fifth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby here in July. He was second in both the Grade 2 Hall of Fame and Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga with some trouble in both races.

Breaking from post 2 Saturday, Yoshida attained an inside position while racing in third as Secretary At War set fractions of 24.21 seconds for the quarter, 49.11 for the half and 1:13.07 for six furlongs while maintaining a clear advantage over Frostmourne.

Turning for home, Yoshida came a path off the fence and Bricks and Mortar rallied inside of him. At the three-sixteenths pole, those two were side by side and at the eighth pole both went for the same hole as Frostmourne, who had taken a narrow lead from Secretary At War, came in and tightened things up.

Still, Yoshida outfought Bricks and Mortar to that hole and was able to persevere for the victory.

“Horse and rider both showed good courage,” said Mott, who trains Yoshida for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, and SF Racing.

"The rider showed good patience and when he asked him he had enough horse to get up in there. It looked like Bricks and Mortar went for the same hole and we were just able to get there first.”

Yoshida covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.07 and returned $10.40 as the 4-1 third choice.