by Karen M. Johnson
Florida-based trainer David Fawkes had good luck shipping Take d’Tour to New York to win grade I races in 2006 and 2007, and now he looks forward to doing well with his first New York-based stable at Aqueduct’s fall and winter meets.
Fawkes, 48, has 18 stalls at Belmont Park. Twelve of those stalls are filled, and six more horses are on their way from his base at Calder Race Course, where Fawkes has a stable of 35.
On Nov. 16, Fawkes saddled his first two runners at Aqueduct. Proud Capote finished fourth as the second choice after a tough trip in the sixth race, a $35,000 claimer. Burning Woman finished seventh in the fifth race, a $14,000 claimer.
Aqueduct’s healthy purses led Fawkes to New York. Earlier this month, purses at the Calder at Tropical meet were cut by 7%. The 45-day fall meet at Aqueduct, which concludes Dec. 30, features a 12% purse increase from last year.
“The purses are not going anywhere in Florida,” Fawkes said Nov. 16. “It’s getting to where Gulfstream purses are in the middle of the road. There are great purses (in New York) that you can’t pass up.”
Fawkes said his New York division will consist of mainly speed horses suited to Aqueduct’s inner track, which is scheduled to open Nov. 28.
“I have some 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds, mostly bread-and-butter horses,” Fawkes said. “I don’t have any stakes winners here, but I’m working on that.”
A stakes runner for Fawkes could be Money to Burn, a 2-year-old with two wins from four starts. Fawkes said he is eyeing the $75,000 Capote, an overnight stakes to be run at Aqueduct Dec. 12, for Money to Burn.
Take d’Tour, who was retired with an injury in October as she was being prepared for the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), provided Fawkes with the first grade I win of his career in 2006 when she won the Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park.
Take d’Tour won the Ogden Phipps again this year. In 2006, Take d’Tour captured the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) in her prep for the Ogden Phipps.