Attila’s Storm, winless in seven starts since taking the 2005 Fall Highweight Handicap, can wake up when he faces five rivals in Saturday's $100,000-added Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
There have been extenuating circumstances for the 5-year-old Forest Wildcat horse during the losing skein, including a condylar fracture and salty company.
This is the first graded stakes race on Aqueduct’s inner track since the Aqueduct Handicap (gr. II) on Jan. 20. After a week of frosty weather and a dusting of snow, forecasts call for temperatures around 50 degrees and a chance of rain on Saturday.
Attila’s Storm made his seasonal debut on Jan. 27 in the Paumonok Handicap, a New York-bred restricted race where he ran second to Bishop Court Hill, the winner of last year’s Carter handicap (gr. I). A win Saturday by Attila’s Storm could lead to the 107th running of the $300,000 Carter Handicap at seven furlongs on Wood Memorial Day April 7.
“I would have no problem with running him in a race like the Carter if he ran a good race in the Toboggan,” said trainer Richard Schosberg, a back-to-back winner of the Toboggan with Affirmed Success (2002-’03). “It’s been my experience that seven furlongs is actually a little easier on these older horses because the pace is not as hot. Attila’s Storm is doing real well – he looks like a Brahma bull – and I’m looking forward to the Toboggan."
One of Attila's Storm's main adversaries is Cavallo Pazzo – his name means “Crazy Horse”-- a 4-year-old Mount Livermore gelding who has won four of his last five starts with one second. Claimed for $75,000 in November of 2005, he did not race again until last September when he started on his current record.
His only loss of late was a runner-up finish in the restricted Don Rickles at a mile and 70 yards at Aqueduct on Dec. 7.
“We claimed him and then he had surgery for a condylar fracture, so we gave him plenty of time," said trainer Anthony Dutrow. "But, you can see that when he came back, he came back running. We always liked him. He’s out of a nice mare, his sire was a good horse and he is a beautiful animal. I am very happy with the way he’s been training and we’re hoping that he keeps being consistent and shows that he is the kind of horse that belongs in races like the Carter down the road. That’s what we’re hoping.”
Trainer Billy Turner has entered Castle Village Farm’s Introspect. The 7-year-old In Case gelding halted a five-race losing streak recently with a head victory over Ferocious Won in the Hollie Hughes Handicap at Aqueduct on Feb. 18.
Kelp comes in from Laurel having won three of his last four. He has carried no less than 120 pounds in each of his last 10 races, twice carrying 124 pounds. He gets in with 113 pounds Saturday and has Aqueduct’s leading jockey, Eibar Coa.
$100,000 Toboggan Handicap (gr. III, Race 7, 3:50 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Wild Jam (KY), 114, Michael J. Luzzi
2. Kelp (KY), 115, Eibar Coa
3. Pavo (KY), 113, Alan Garcia
4. Cavallo Pazzo (KY), 116, Mario G. Pino
5. Attila's Storm (KY), 120, Ramon A. Dominguez
6. Introspect (NY), 115, Eddie M. Martin, Jr.