One year and one day after winning the Belmont Stakes, Lemon Drop Kid entered the top ranks of older horses with an authoritative victory yesterday in the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap, a Grade II 1 1/8 -mile stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Racing for the first time with blinkers, Lemon Drop Kid remained focused down the lane and drew away from six overmatched opponents. He won by 7 1/4 lengths, bringing tears to the eyes of his trainer and unrestrained joy to the faces of his owners.
"He ran the way I knew he can run," said Laddie Dance, who with his wife, Jinny Vance, owns the 4-year-old son of Kingmambo.
"They'll never be another Lemon Drop in my lifetime," Vance said.
Vance and Dance own Taylor's Purchase Farm in Sparks in Baltimore County. After their Postponed finished a disappointing seventh the day before in the Belmont, they needed a pick-me-up, and Lemon Drop provided it.
He earned $150,000, swelling his career bankroll to $1,839,970. After running the one-turn 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 49.93 seconds, he paid $6.20 to win. The 23-1 Lager was second and the 17-1 Down the Aisle third. The exacta paid $98, the trifecta $655.
Running his third race in 18 days, Running Stag led early but faded to sixth as the 7-5 favorite.
Edgar Prado, a former Maryland jockey, rode Lemon Drop Kid for his third victory of the day. Trainer Scotty Schulhofer had equipped the colt with blinkers, designed to limit his vision and focus his attention. In earlier races, he had tended to look around instead of concentrating on running.
"He was all horse," Schulhofer said. "I thought this was his best performance. ... I've been around the track a long time, but frankly, this is the first time in my life that tears came to my eyes when he crossed the finish line because he means so much to me."
Lemon Drop Kid's next assignment will come July 4 in the Grade II $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont. His ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Delaware Park: Charvi Stable's Dixie Run swept by his rivals on the far turn and then rolled through the stretch before posting a 3 1/2 -length victory in the $75,600 Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes. The time for the 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf course was 1:45.50.
Delaware Park's leading jockey, Mike McCarthy, was aboard for the win.
Yeowzer, with Robert Colton astride, closed for second. It was a neck farther back to Dog Tags, with Frank Douglas up, in third.
Dixie Run, a 3-year-old son of Dixie Brass, returned $4.80 as the favorite in the field of the eight.
The early fractions were cut by Chancellor M.H., who covered the half-mile in 46.35 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:10.93.
Dixie Run, a Kentucky-bred trained by Steve Klesaris, improved his record to three wins from 11 starts with earnings of $138,263.
Wire reports contributed to this article.