Dutrow Looking Forward To Saturday's Donn
By Leona Velazquez
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The stars going into Saturday’s $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) are unquestionably Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford and Belmont (G1) winner Ruler On Ice.
But by the time dusk descends on Gulfstream Park Saturday evening, trainer Rick Dutrow could have racing’s newest star in his barn
Dutrow, who’s always enjoyed great success over the years while wintering at Gulfstream, will have a strong hand in Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile feature in the forms of the undefeated Trickmeister and Discovery Handicap (G3) winner Redeemed.
Gulfstream will be rocking Saturday, and not only because of the 4-year-old debuts of Triple Crown event winners Shackleford and Ruler On Ice. Gulfstream’s 11-race program will feature four graded stakes. Along with the Donn, Gulfstream will play host to the $300,000 Turf Handicap (G1), the $150,000 Hutcheson (G2) for 3-year-old colts, and the $150,000 Suwannee River.
But it’s the Donn that will cap a memorable day of racing at Gulfstream, and it’s Dutrow who could play the role of spoiler with Pegasus Holding Group Stables and IEAH Stables’ undefeated Trickmeister or Jay Em Ess Stable’s Redeemed.
“Both are ready to run,” Dutrow said. “Both (horses) are doing so good right now.”
Trickmeister comes into the Donn off a 5 ¼-length victory Dec. 17 in Gulfstream’s Harlan’s Holiday. Not only did Trickmeister cover the 1 1/16-mile in 1:42.63 to remain undefeated in five starts, but he also made it look easy while racing for the first time since August of 2010.
The son of Proud Citizen started his undefeated streak in May of 2010 at Delaware Park. He broke his maiden by a half length when he wired a field in a six-furlong maiden special weight race. He came back a month later to do the same in an allowance event but increased his winning margin to 4 ¾ lengths. The bay colt’s connections then felt he was ready for stakes competition and ran him in the $100,000 Barbaro Stake in July. The track came up sloppy for the 1 1/16-mile event, but once again Trickmeister wired the field and won by an increasing 1 ½ lengths.
Dutrow traveled north to Saratoga Springs, New York where he contemplated on whether to run Trickmeister in the Travers Stakes (G1) or the Pleasant Colony Stakes on the undercard, he opted for the latter. In the Pleasant Colony, Trickmeister led throughout and was an impressive 11 ¾-length winner.
“The race in Saratoga he ran huge,” Dutrow said. “He was not going that good into that race, but when he turned for home I thought, ‘Oh man, we should have run him in the Travers.’ We did the right thing in the end though. (Jockey Garrett) Gomez got off him and said he wasn’t right, but if we got him right, he could be anything.”
After discovering his cannon bones were bothering him, Dutrow gave Trickmeister the time he needed, all of 16 months before returning in the Harlan’s Holiday.
“It took us a year and a half to get him right,” said Dutrow. “But we have him right now. When he came back (on the 17th), he was unbelievable. He’s scary.”
Jay Em Ess Stable’s Redeemed may not be entering the Donn undefeated but the Dutrow trainee has never been off the board in all of his eight starts.
“We are happy every time he runs,” Dutrow commented. “He runs well every time we take him over there.”
After finishing third first time out as a 2-year-old, Redeemed broke his maiden last March in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park. The bay colt then won his next two starts in allowance company at Belmont Park. Dutrow then decided the son of Include was ready to take on stakes company.
While rating off the pace and saving ground, Redeemed ran second by four lengths to eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, Caleb’s Posse, in the Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga. He then stretched out to mile-and-seventy-yards in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx. Redeemed stalked the pace in third, after running a half mile, and finished second to Wilburn by a length-and-three-quarters.
“After the race in Philadelphia, I’m not sure why, but I decided to put blinkers on him,” Dutrow said. “The riders never said he needed them but it just seemed like he wasn’t paying enough attention.”
The son of Include won his next two starts, the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park and the Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct, both run at a 1 1/8-miles with Edgar Prado up.
“Some people think it’s (his last two victories) because of the blinkers,” commented Dutrow. “I know Edgar is glad we put them on. Whatever the reason is, we are so happy with him and hope he keeps winning. His last race was so professional. He’s had plenty of time since that last race and he likes this track.”
Both Trickmeister and Redeemed have been working steadily at Gulfstream Park this past month in preparation for their start in the Donn.