Robby Albarado will be aboard Toccet when the 4-year-old son of Awesome Again goes postward in the $300,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Saturday.The 1 1/8 mile-mile Strub is for 4-year-olds.
"Robby Albarado will be in to ride," trainer John Scanlan said Sunday morning. "My owner (Daniel Borislow) likes Robby Albarado. It's not that he doesn't like Victor (Espinoza) but Robby Albarado committed to ride the horse and that's my boss' choice."Espinoza rode Toccet to a second-place finish behind During in the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II), the second leg of the Strub series. "The horse worked Friday really well (six furlongs in 1:15 2/5). He went easy and he's coming into the race in top form."
Albarado will also receive the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award on Saturday. The 30-year-old native of Lafayette, La. enjoyed one of his best years in 2003, winning 185 races and finishing 11th nationally in purse earnings with just over $11 million. He also rode Horse of the Year Mineshaft to seven wins in nine starts for over $2.2 million in earnings and currently leads all riders at the Fair Grounds with 46 victories and more than $1.2 million in purse earnings.
Toccet, named for National Hockey League star Rick Tocchet, has a 7-2-2 record from 16 starts with earnings of $892,550.
Probable for the 57th running of the Strub Stakes: Buckland Manor, Corey Nakatani; Buddy Gil, Gary Stevens; Domestic Dispute, no rider; During, no rider; Eye of the Tiger, Victor Espinoza; Formal Attire, Mike Smith; Saint Buddy, no rider; Spensive, no rider; and Toccet, Albarado.
Bobby Frankel said he was "thinking about" running Master David, who was third in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) on Jan. 17. Alex Solis would ride.
Spensive (:48 4/5), Buckland Manor (:59 1/5) and Saint Buddy (a bullet :58 3/5) each worked toward the Strub on Sunday morning.