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Crupi & Next Clash in Brooklyn Stakes Showdown in Belmont At The Big Apple Meet

Jamie Clark
Aqueduct Racetrack is home to the Brooklyn Stakes until 2026

Crupi and last year’s winner Next are the headline acts in the Grade II Brooklyn Stakes on Friday, July 5. Usually part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, this edition of the $200,000 invitational contest switches to a temporary slot at Aqueduct. This is under the Belmont At The Big Apple banner while renovation at Belmont Park continues until 2026.

The Spring / Summer Meet draws to a close on Sunday, July 7 but not before the Belmont Oaks and Belmont Derby, also invitational races, take place at the Queens, NY track. Like so many Belmont Park events moved elsewhere, the Brooklyn Stakes has its race distance altered.

Traditionally contested over 2,400m (a mile-and-a-half or 12 furlongs), this and next year’s editions have the shorter trip of 2,200m (11 furlongs). This means wide-margin Churchill Downs Marathon scorer Next and Suburban Stakes victor Crupi faceoff at an intermediate distance between their notable wins.

Both carry penalties for their wins in this grade. Next, an inmate of the William Doug Cowans barn, completely reinvented himself as a stayer after leaving previous trainer Wesley Ward. The six-year-old gelding by Not This Time won on the 2022 Breeders’ Cup undercard over 2,600m and has since scored on four and his next five starts.

Next romped home in the 2,800m Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga, then the Greenwood Cup around Parx both under penalties before his reappearance victory during the Kentucky Derby meet. It was surprising he didn’t switch to turf for a tilt at the Belmont Gold Cup last month.

Crupi a Threat to Next in Brooklyn Stakes

As Next now goes down in distance, that wouldn’t be certain to suit him after winning so well in marathon races. Crupi, meanwhile, brings strong form tested outside America to the table. His trainer, Todd Pletcher, has five victories in the Brooklyn Stakes including two of the last three editions. The four-year-old Curlin colt is in good hands for this test.

Crupi made the show in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in January. As the winner, National Treasure, landed the Metropolitan Handicap during the Belmont Festival and second, Senor Buscador, took the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup next time out, handicappers know the value of that form.

On that day over an inadequate 1,800m, Crupi stayed on well in-behind the front two, pulling six lengths of the fourth. This Brooklyn Stakes showdown makes for a fascinating duel at Aqueduct between two high-profile horses.

Irad Ortiz keeps the ride on Crupi, who has Rob Atras’ re-opposing Suburban third Masqueparade taking him on again off 4lb better terms with less than a length between the pair on the Saratoga run. There’s another last time out winner in the lineup, however, in Commentator Stakes winner Drake’s Passage for the Christophe Clement barn.

Brooklyn Stakes 2024 Post Position Draw

A field of seven run in the race that acts an appetizer to the $750,000 Belmont Derby the following day. Here are the post positions following the draw:

  1. Lure Him In (118lbs)
  2. Dai Vernon (118lbs)
  3. Crupi (122lbs)
  4. Masqueparade (118lbs)
  5. Drake’s Passage (118lbs)
  6. Next (122lbs)
  7. Spencer’s Boy Luna (118lbs)

Crupi is just off the fence in gate 3, while his main market rival on Belmont Stakes betting sites, Next, has a wider draw. Lining up in-between the pair are a couple of horses that will fancy their chances of making the show alongside the favorites.

Completing the Brooklyn Stakes field are three longshots. Lure Him in is the oldest lining up aged seven, who missed the show in the Steve Sexton Mile last time out. He did win the Sunshine Classic over the winter at Gulfstream Park, though.

Splitting Next and Masqueparade at Churchill Downs was Dai Vernon. Bill Mott’s four-year-old Good Magic colt only has a couple of minor race wins under his belt, but put in a career-best run last time out. There’s 11 lengths to somehow find with Next on that run, though. Mott is a three-time winner of the Brooklyn Stakes, but the last of those came in 2011.

Spencer’s Boy Luna is the biggest underdog in this line-up. Eric Reed’s four-year-old son of Alternation is a four-time winner across Mountaineer Park and Mahoning Valley Race Course, but graded company is a huge step up in class.

Jamie Clark

After more than a decade of picking winners for the biggest races on the planet, pro handicapper Jamie Clark has been involved with our Belmont Stakes project right from the start. A thoroughbred pedigree expert, he has the knowledge of all the horses taking part in this and other major events across the USA and beyond.