Another Track Record for Keeneland September Grad Rocketry

Saturday, November 3, 2018

That's two starts on dirt and two track records for Rocketry. The rocketing colt captured the Grade 2, $200,000 Marathon Stakes on Friday night at Churchill Downs, again etching his name into a historic track's record book.

Rocketry trained by Jimmy Jerkens for Centennial Farm, gained instant notoriety last time out when he won the 1 5/8-mile Temperence Hill Stakes on Sept. 30 at Belmont. His final time of 2:40.18 for the 1 5/8 miles eclipsed the mark of 2:40.80 set by the legendary Man o’ War nearly a century ago, in the 1920 Lawrence Realization Stakes.
In winning the Marathon, Rocketry stopped the clock in 2:57.62 for the 1 3/4 miles. The prior mark was 2:59.62 set by Eldaafer in 2010, when the Breeders' Cup Marathon was an official part of the event's program.

The son of Hard Spun was purchased by Centennial Farm for $450,000 out of the Hidden Brook consignment at the 2015 Keeneland September auction.

Rocketry capped a big day for jockey Joel Rosario, who also won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile aboard Game Winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with Jaywalk, a Hidden Brook Florida Breaking & Training graduate. The duo broke from the outside post in the field of nine for the Marathon, and trailed through the first half-mile. Meanwhile, Dabster, shipping in off two stakes victories in California for Bob Baffert, led early, setting moderate fractions of 49.10 seconds for the half, 1:15.30 for six furlongs, and 1:41.72 for the mile.

Rocketry began passing horses with a moderate middle move the second time down the backstretch, and made a sweeping five-wide run around the final turn to move up into second at the quarter pole, bearing down on Dabster. Dabster fought on gamely, but Rocketry, still well out in the middle of the track, drove on under steady hand urging from Rosario to edge clear to a three-quarter-length victory.

Dabster easily held second, 4 1/4 lengths clear of Big Dollar Bill. It was another 7 3/4 lengths back to Toast of New York, who started in the Marathon after failing to draw in off the also-eligible list for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic.

-edited from, Emily Shields photo