Real Solution prevailed in a four-wide drive to the wire on Saturday at Belmont Park to add a second North American Grade 1 to his resume in taking the $1 million Knob Creek Manhattan by 1 ¼ lengths over Kaigun.
Real Solution, who was declared the winner of last year’s Grade 1 Arlington Million via disqualification for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, was content to linger in the midst of a tightly packed bunch as Five Iron opened up a dozen lengths on the field, rolling through an opening quarter-mile in 24.22 seconds, with the half going in 48.00. Although engulfed by his foes on the far turn, Five Iron refused to give way and set up a four-across sweep to the wire with Seek Again, Kaigun and Real Solution, with the latter prevailing in the final jumps.
Real Solution’s time for the 1 ¼ miles over the firm inner turf course was 1:59.27.
“I let him find a place in the race and get in a good position early and sit still,” said winning jockey Javier Castellano. “He gave me a good kick today and I’m very satisfied with the way he did it. I give all the credit to the horse, and [trainer Chad Brown] gave me the confidence to let me ride the horse the way I did today.”
A homebred son of Kitten’s Joy trained by Brown, Real Solution began his career in Italy and made his first North American appearance in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy in May 2013 at Belmont Park. He next finished third in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap before being promoted in the Arlington Million. Saturday’s win was his first in four subsequent starts, most recently a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Man o’ War.
“When Javier got off after the Man ‘o War, he said, ‘This horse is a cinch in the Manhattan’,” said Brown. “I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘I screwed up leaving the gate.’ He said, ‘I told him [Real Solution] to follow Amira’s Prince. I was trying to ride what you said and he missed the break, and I outbroke him. Then I took him behind him and he stopped right in front of me.’ He said, ‘If I just left out of there and didn’t care who I was following, I would have won. Put me back on in the Manhattan and he’ll win.’”
Sent off at 5-1, Real Solution returned $13 for a $2 win bet. Overall, he is 5-2-2- from 13 career starts. The winner’s purse of $535,000 extended his earnings to $1,358,175.
Favored Seek Again was third, another length back, with Grandeur coming on late to gain fourth, Five Iron was fifth, followed by Imagining, Boisterous, Rookie Sensation, Hey Leroy, and Chamois.