Odds-on choice Boys At Tosconova , under a hand ride from jockey Ramon Dominguez, showed his class with a measured win in the $250,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) on closing day at Saratoga Sept. 6 (VIDEO).
Just four 2-year-old colts contested the seven-furlong Hopeful after three scratches, and the presence of Boys At Tosconova could have had something to do with that. The son of Officer--Little Bonnet, by Coronado's Quest, rated in third early, glided up on the outside effortlessly as they reached the head of the stretch, and outran pacesetter Stay Thirsty and Wine Police to the wire without ever being asked. The final time was a smart 1:23.27 over a fast track.
Boys At Tosconova is unbeaten in two starts for trainer Rick Dutrow since being purchased privately by Jay Em Ess Stable following a second-place finish in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes (gr. III) in his debut at Churchill Downs April 30. He broke his maiden at five furlongs in his last start July 2 at Belmont Park by an eye-popping 12 lengths.
In his first race in more than two months, Boys At Tosconova had little difficulty negotiating the extra quarter mile of the Hopeful as the 1-2 choice. Stay Thirsty ran second in a game effort with Wine Police third. Settle for Medal trailed throughout.
Dutrow said Boys At Tosconova would be pointed directly to the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at 1 1/16 miles Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
"It’s a matter of two turns with him," he said, "and we certainly are not going to be afraid of it.”
Wine Police broke on top from the outside for Shaun Bridgmohan before settling into second behind Stay Thirsty, who hustled to the lead after stumbling at the break. Stay Thirsty, ridden by leading Saratoga jockey John Velazquez, clipped off fractions of :23.15 and :46.38 to lead Wine Police and an unhurried Boys At Tosconova, who was in the three path about three lengths behind the leader.
Boys At Tosconova began to move early on the turn and ranged up on the outside to get the lead mid-stretch. Dominguez gave Boys At Tosconova ($3.20, $2.20) one tap on the shoulder and then rode him smoothly the rest of the way as they edged clear of Stay Thirsty ($3.10), who was under energetic urging from Velazquez. Stay Thirsty finished 1 3/4 lengths clear of Wine Police. The $2 exacta was $11.40. There was no show wagering.
“He was good enough to get this job done, the right way," Dutrow said. "The first time we ran him, he didn’t break on the lead, and he was OK behind horses. The first time he had run, he came from dead last. It’s not like he needs the lead, as anyone can see. But if he ever does wind up on the lead, it’s going to be tough to pass him. It seems to us he has no limit. He’ll just keep running and running and running.
“We’re just excited to have him.," Dutrow added "He’s very exciting to be around. I was confident. I thought we had the best horse in the race. I told Ramon, 'If he breaks on the lead, let them just follow you around there; if not, that will work to our advantage because he loves a target.' I knew it was better to come from off the pace."
Dominguez, who also rode Boys At Tosconova in his Belmont win, said he was impressed with the way he handled a pair of speedy rivals.
"When he broke, I just decided to put him where he was comfortable, so I just eased him to the outside," he said. "He did it so easy and he even galloped out strong past the seven-eighths pole. It's really exciting for me because it's hard to come across a two-year-old this nice. Like every time you give him a chance he will take a deep breath, relax, and look around. He's very, very professional. I didn't have to hit him today and hopefully I won't have to. It was that easy."
The $150,000 winning share for the Hopeful brought Boys At Tosconova's career earnings to $202,060.
Bred in Kentucky by Hertrich/McCarthy Livestock, the dark bay or brown colt began his career with trainer Bob Hess Jr. after selling for $35,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Trainer Todd Pletcher noted that his colt, Stay Thirsty, was coming back on three weeks' rest after a 5 1/2-length maiden victory Aug. 14 at Saratoga.
"He stumbled pretty badly at the start, got up, recovered pretty well, it was a good effort,” he said.
Nacho Saint, Chipshot and Printing Press were scratched.