Making his first start of year, Mike Repole’s Stay Thirsty was beaten 1 3/4 lengths while conceding six pounds to his five rivals as the 124-pound topweight (VIDEO).
Away sharply under Ramon Dominguez, Trickmeister led the field through an opening quarter-mile in 23:23 and a half in 45:72. Stay Thirsty, who had pressed the pacesetter though the first half-mile, dropped back briefly to third before rallying through the stretch. Trickmeister completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:39.86, just .48 seconds off the track record of 1:39.38 set by Birdrun in 2009.
“You figure in a race like this you wouldn’t have to set a track record in order to win, but (Trickmeister) ran an awfully good race and you have to give him credit for that,” said Todd Pletcher, Stay Thirsty’s traine. “Coming off a six-month layoff and giving a horse like (Trickmeister) six pounds is a tall order. Alan (Garcia aboard fourth-place finisher Joan's Choice) was holding him in, so (Stay Thirsty) had no place to go. He got shuffled back, and we were giving the entire field six pounds and hadn’t run in six months. You wouldn’t expect to have to run 1:39 3/5 to win, but that’s what we would have had to do. For where we were and where we wanted to be, this is a good start.”
“That was a tough customer he faced today, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Rick Dutrow, who trains Trickmeister for IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holding Group Stables. “He ran big today. He had pressure on him the whole way, and Ramon said every time he asked him and needed him, the horse responded the right way. So, we’re very excited.”
According to their respective trainers, the $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I), run at 1 1/8 miles Aug. 4 at Saratoga Race Course, is a major target for both horses.
Five-year-old Trickmeister (Proud Citizen—Afternoon Trick, by Afternoon Deelites) improved his record to six wins from seven starts, The victory was his fourth in a stakes and the $54,000 from the Vanlandingham upped his earnings to $251,200.
Trickmeister was bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones and Tim Thornton, the respective owner and farm manager of Airdrie Stud, located near Midway, Ky.