Trickmeister Returns and Remains Undefeated
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trickmeister enjoyed a perfect return from a 16-month layoff Saturday at Gulfstream Park to run his undefeated string to five races in the $60,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes.
Showing no rust or ill effects from a serious of injuries that forced him out of action for so long, Trickmeister had a stress-free trip during an impressive front-running performance under jockey Javier Castellano, who also enjoyed a banner day at Gulfstream with five winning rides on the card.
“He showed us what we were hoping to see. We weren’t looking to put on a show, just to go out there and do it the right way,” said trainer Rick Dutrow following the 3-5 favorite’s 5 ¼ -length triumph. “I think he’s come back solid like his issues are behind him. He’s got a ton of talent.”
The son of Proud Citizen, who had gone unraced since winning the Pleasant Colony Stakes at Saratoga by more than 11 lengths on Aug. 27, 2010, is expected to race next in the Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream on Feb. 11.
The 4-year-old colt sprinted to the early lead under a snug hold by Castellano, never to be challenged throughout the running of the 1 1/16-mile stakes. While posting uncontested fractions of :23.81, :47.18, 1:11.01 and 1:35.94, Trickmeister was always at least two lengths clear of his five rivals on his way to a 1:42.64 clocking.
“He was really impressive today. He was coming off a long layoff and this was the first time I’ve ever ridden him. He did everything really professionally,” said Castellano. “He broke sharp and just cruised on the lead. I have to give all the credit to Rick Dutrow. This horse was 100 percent fit to go a mile and a sixteenth off over a year layoff.”
Our Dark Knight, ridden by Elvis Trujillo, finished second a half length ahead of Sky Venture and jockey Juan Leyva. Duke of Mischief, the 5-2 second choice ridden by Joe Bravo, faded to fifth after making a wide move on the far turn.
“I guess the old school saying is a race is like five or 10 workouts. He went for the win today around the far turn but the old guy got a little tired,” Bravo said. “He hasn’t run in a while and he’s such a big animal. I’ll tell you what, though, I can’t wait for his next one.”
Trickmeister’s victory was worth $36,000 for his owners, Pegasus Holding Group and IEAH Stable and capped his jockey’s five-win day. The 34-year-old native of Maracaibo, Venezuela also visited the winner’s circle with Miss Martin ($4.00) in the third, Unbridled Ocean ($4.00) in the fifth, Wayward Sailor ($5.00) in the seventh and Dan and Sheila ($8.40) in the eighth.
“It’s unbelievable. Florida is like my home. This is where I started. It would mean so much to me if I could be leading rider here,” said Castellano, who has a meet-leading 18 trips to the winner’s circle. “ I’ve been getting a lot of support from Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown. Hopefully, there will be more days like this.”