Boys At Tosconova , winner of last year's Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) and second to Uncle Mo in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), continues his comeback from an ankle injury in an optional claiming allowance feature at Gulfstream Park Dec. 23.
Owned by Jay Em Ess Stable and partners, Boys at Tosconova was expected to be a major player in the 3-year-old division early this year. He was on the sidelines for 11 months until finishing third in an allowance race at Belmont Park for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. Oct. 8.
After winning a 6 ½-furlong allowance race Nov. 12 at Aqueduct, Boys at Tosconova is set to take his next step on the comeback trail at Gulfstream. He is set to go one mile against five rivals with regular rider Ramon Dominguez in the saddle. The race is the third on the program with a post time of 1:29 p.m. EST.
Boys At Tosconova was entered in the Harlan’s Holiday overnight stakes at 1 1/16 miles Dec. 17, but was scratched by Dutrow. The race was won by the Dutrow-trained 4-year-old Trickmeister, who scored in his first race in 16 months to remain undefeated in five career starts.
“I hate running my horses against each other,” said Dutrow. “If he (Boys At Tosconova) shows up the way we want him to, and the way he’s been training, then we can point him to bigger races.”
The son of Officer has won three of six starts with two seconds and a third.
Other contenders in the race have graded stakes experience including Frank Calabrese’s 4-year-old Where's Sterling, second Oct. 8 by a half-length in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) going 1 ¼ miles. Jockey Paco Lopez will be aboard for trainer Nick Canani.
A son of Northern Afleet purchased for $50,000 at the OBS April 2-year-old sales, Where’s Sterling won the Philip H. Iselin Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park in late August before the Hawthorne race. Where's Sterling showed a liking for the Gulfstream track when he broke his maiden going a mile in January. He also won a nine-furlong allowance in March with a second in between.
Also bidding is Lori and George Hall’s 4-year-old Nacho Friend with Ryan Curatolo to ride for trainer Kelly Breen. The chestnut colt by Friends Lake tired to last of seven last out in the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.
Nacho Friend showed promise as a 3-year-old in the summer of 2010 when second in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park, third in the rich West Virginia Derby (gr. II), and second in the Smarty Jones Stakes that September at Philadelphia Park.