Boys At Tosconova Returns In Saturday's First Race
By New York Racing Association
ELMONT, N.Y. – Grade 1 winner Boys At Tosconova makes his first start since finishing second to Uncle Mo in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in Saturday’s first race, a seven-furlong allowance/optional claimer.
Winner of the 2010 Three Chimneys Hopeful, Boys At Tosconova was preparing to step onto the Triple Crown trail early in the year but was sidelined by ankle problems. He returned to the worktab in mid-August at Aqueduct Racetrack and has since had eight published works, including a six-furlong breeze in 1:11.06 on October 2.
“It’s hard to be patient but when you are dealing with a talented horse, you just do it,” said owner Samantha Siegel of Jay Em Ess Stable. “We are excited to have him back, and Rick [Dutrow] says he’s back where he was before the Breeders’ Cup. It’s going to be good for all of us to see where he is, but it is not exactly an easy spot.”
The even-money favorite on the morning line, Boys At Tosconova will be ridden from post position 3 with John Velazquez aboard.
Among the 10 horses entered are Tapizar (7-2), who won the Grade 3 Sham at Santa Anita in January and who has not raced since finishing fifth a month later in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis, and Uptowncharlybrown (9-2), making his first start since being disqualified from fifth in the 2010 Belmont Stakes.
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Elusive Pearl, Ruthenia and Divalarious, the top three finishers from the Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, will reconvene in Monday’s Columbus Day feature, the $100,000 Pebbles at a mile on the turf.
Trained by Michael Trombetta, Elusive Pearl came from just off the pace for a 1 ¾-length victory in the Riskaverse, her first start on the grass. The 3-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly drew post position 5 and was tabbed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Pebbles, for which she will gain the services of Ramon Dominguez.
Ruthenia, winner of the Good Mood overnight stakes on Belmont’s inner turf last year, enters off two second-place finishes: her late charge from last in the Riskaverse and a three-quarter-length loss to My Redbyrd in the Hattie Moseley.
“You know the filly well, she ran two good races in Saratoga, she looks well, she’s trained well,” reported trainer Christophe Clement. “She’s a little bit gone in her coat, we had to clip her yesterday. She looks pretty good, she obviously does not look as well as when she had a summer coat.”
Regular rider Alana Garcia is aboard Ruthenia, 7-2 on the morning line, from post position 4.
Divalarious, trained by Chad Brown, will be making her second straight stakes appearance in the Pebbles, having finished well to gain third, 2 ¾ lengths back, in the Riskaverse. Javier Castellano will ride the Distorted Humor filly, 6-1 on the morning line, from post position 8.
Hessonite, who defeated males in the New York Stallion Series at the Spa on August 11, tries open company for the second time on Monday. Third in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park in June, the Freud filly was scratched out of the September 25 John Hettinger when it came off the turf.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t get to run her in the Hettinger when it came off the grass,” said trainer David Donk. “I would have had to run against Gitchee Goomie, but I looked forward to it.
“The Pebbles will be a good test for her,” he added. “It’s going to give me a little line on her for next year. I don’t have any doubt she’ll be one of the better New York-breds next year. It will give me a little line on how aggressive our thought process can get. She has a pretty decent future, and maybe we’ll see a little more of that on Monday.”
Alex Solis rides Hessonite, 12-1 on the morning line, from post position 9.
Completing the field, from the rail out, are One Last Dance (8-1), Master Shade (20-1), Embarr (30-1), Immaculate Cat (12-1), My Redbyrd (10-1), Shatoosh (15-1), and Arch Support (4-1).
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While Christophe Clement will spend this Saturday at Keeneland, where he will saddle Castleton Lyons’ reigning Eclipse champion turf male Gio Ponti as the horse attempts to defend his title in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, next weekend the trainer will send out runners in a pair of Grade 3, $100,000 turf stakes at Belmont.
For next Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Knickerbocker, Clement has Brushwood Stable’s Mr. Ryder, a son of Giant’s Causeway who racked up three consecutive wins this spring and summer, most recently taking the Sussex Stakes on July 16 at Delaware Park. Scheduled to prep for the Knickerbocker in the Third Martini overnight stakes on September 23, Clement opted to scratch when the turf course came up soft after rain.
“Mr. Ryder is doing well,” Clement said. “He was supposed to run in a prep race two weeks ago, but I passed on that because I didn’t think he liked soft ground. I don’t mind running on good ground, but I do mind running him on ground that soft. He looks well, so we’ll try it and see what happens.”
Scheduled to run in the 1 1/16-mile Athenia is Mrs. Alec Head’s Denomination, a 5-year-old daughter of Smart Strike who will make her first start since in a victory in the Grade 3 Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park on May 30.
“Denomination, she had a break, and she’s on her way back,” Clement said. “I hope I’ve got her fit enough – I’m not sure. We’ll know next Saturday.”
A multiple Group and Grade 3 winner in the U.S. and her native France, Denomination breezed a half-mile in 49.64 on Wednesday at Belmont Park.
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Strike the Bell, denied a chance to defend her title in the September 18 Grade 3 Noble Damsel by a fever, could reemerge in the October 15 Athenia, trainer David Donk said.
Owned by Rising Star Stables, Strike the Bell is “50/50” for the 1 1/16-mile turf event, according to Donk.
“I missed some time with her. She got sick, so I don’t know,” said Donk. “I need to be able to breeze her early in the week. She’ll have to breeze really well for me to consider it.”
Strike the Bell hasn’t raced since finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course, and the training the 5-year-old missed during her recent illness has Donk concerned.
“I missed a couple of weeks with her,” said Donk. “Too much, so we’ll see.”
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In addition to Mr. Ryder, NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes said the Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker is expected to attract Phipps Stable’s Boisterous, fifth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational last out and third two starts back in the Grade 1 Man o’War behind multiple Grade 1 winners Cape Blanco and Gio Ponti; Boots Ahead, winner of the Third Martini overnight stakes last month and the second- and third-place finishers from that race, Followmyfootsteps and Radical Sabbatical; Center Divider, runner-up in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on September 10; dual Grade 3 winner Yummy With Butter and possibly Jimmy Simms and Stormy Lord.
In addition to Denomination, the Athenia is expected to attract Unbridled Humor and Thai Haku, the top two finishers in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel on September 18, as well as Nefertiti, Senada, and Spring Party. Strike the Bell is also under consideration.