Dutrow Trio Getting Ready For Action at Gulfstream
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – After taking a glance at their respective past performance lines in the Daily Racing Form, Trickmeister, Boys At Tosconova and Redeemed are tough to separate on paper.
For trainer Rick Dutrow, the three horses with a big future in the 2012 handicap ranks will be tougher to separate on the racetrack.
“I hate running my horses against each other; I hate doing that,” Dutrow said. “So, I’m going to do the best I can to separate them until I know we have to do it.”
Although Dutrow entered both Trickmeister and Boys At Tosconova in Saturday’s $60,000 Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream, the former is expected to go it alone in the 1 1/16-mile stakes. Boys At Tosconova, though, signaled his readiness for a start with a sharp six-furlong workout on Wednesday morning.
Trickmeister is undefeated in four lifetime starts, but he’s been a challenge for his trainer due to some physical problems, particularly before and after his most recent start, an 11 ¾ -length victory in the Pleasant Colony Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27.
“His cannon bones were killing him. We just couldn’t make it with him after his race at Saratoga, and we had so much trouble getting him to that race. When he ran such a big race, it kind of took me by surprise because he just wasn’t training good,” Dutrow said.
“We took care of the cannon bone things. We gave him plenty of time. He came back and was training good, but then he cracked his tibia. So we had to regroup with that. Since we brought him back, he’s been training good. He’s a different horse now.”
Trickmeister has had three sharp workouts at Gulfstream in preparation for the Harlan’s Holiday.
“Since he’s come back this time he’s been training real good. He’s come back better,” Dutrow said. “When we got him, we were struggling to keep up with him. Now we’re not struggling.”
The Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 11 is the goal for Trickmeister.
As much as he hates to run more than one of his horses in the same race, Dutrow may well be double represented in the Donn with Trickmeister and Redeemed.
“If they show us they belong, we’re going to run them in there,” he said.
After finishing a distant third in his debut at Belmont Park in the fall of 2010, Redeemed has been first or second in all seven starts at six racetracks.
“Every time that horse has run, we’ve come out of his race with a smile – every time he has run. He’s kind of a stupid guy. After his first race, knowing his mental position, we loved the way he ran his first start,” Dutrow said. “He’s run on every track and has shown up. We are very excited about him. Who knows how good he can be? He doesn’t need to take his track with him.”
Dutrow is still uncertain how he will bring Redeemed into the Donn.
“I’m kind of looking for the right timing going into the Donn with him. The race Saturday (Harlan’s Holiday) is too far away from the Donn for him. The race next month (Hal’s Hope on Jan. 14) is too close to the Donn for him,” he said. “Even if I run him straight into the Donn off the break, it might be a good move. I don’t know, but my goal is the Donn for him.”
Boys At Tosconova, who breezed six furlongs in 1:14.60 Wednesday, isn’t being pointed to the Donn, but Dutrow has high expectations for the winner of the 2010 Hopeful Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
“We just breezed him and he did super again. I can’t tell you that the goal for him is the Donn, but the goal is to try and win another Grade 1 with him in the next few starts. Not the next start, but if he shows up the way we want him to and the way he’s been training, then I think we can start pointing him to bigger races,” Dutrow said.
The 3-year-old son of Officer, who was taken out of training last year due to ankle issues, returned from a long layoff at Belmont on Oct. 8 to finish third behind stakes winners Tapizar and Uptowncharlybrown in an allowance race. He came right back to win his next start at Aqueduct by more than two lengths on Nov. 11.
“I thought he was struggling with the track. The times were very slow. I think he prefers a fast time. That’s why we brought him down here, as opposed to the inner track at Aqueduct. I know he got the job done the right way, but I believe he was struggling with the track that day,” Dutrow said. “He’s a good one; he’s a good horse. Hopefully, next time he really shows that he’s back to his old form. Since he’s come off the bench, I don’t think he’s actually shown it. His next race is big for us.”