Heavily backed Attila’s Storm, carrying high weight of 120 pounds, ended a six-race losing streak when he put away speedy Kelp and outlasted Wild Jam for a 1 1/4-length victory in the $105,100 Toboggan Handicap (gr. III).
It was his fifth win in 16 career starts for the fifth-place finisher in the last year's TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) who had not been to the winner's circle since the 2005 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct.
The 5-year-old Forest Wildcat horse battled with Kelp, to whom he conceded seven pounds, through wicked early fractions of :21.86 and :44.28 under jockey Ramon Dominguez.
“I committed myself because Coa (jockey Eibar Coa aboard Kelp) was the only other speed in the race,” Dominguez said. “His horse was starting to get out pretty badly, but by that time, it was too late. I wasn’t going to take back and go inside. I was committed to sitting outside, and I knew the fractions were suicidal. I was definitely nervous the last sixteenth. He had run so fast and was getting tired. He showed his class.”
Having survived surgery and tough company as well as the blistering pace of the Toboggan, Attila’s Storm will likely come back here on the main track on Wood Memorial Day April 7 to run in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at seven furlongs. Trainer Richard Schosberg was more concerned with the horse’s grit than by his winning time in the Toboggan, which was 1:10 for the six furlongs.
“I knew the (Kelp) had a lot of speed," Schosberg said. "I was pleased to see our horse break the way he did. (Kelp) was drifting out every step of the way, and we were in the five or six path before we got to the turn. I’m not going to worry about the final time too much. he persevered after a half of (: 44.28). He actually held off a pretty nice horse who likes this track. I’m very pleased with the effort. It’s about time we got back into the winners’ circle with him."
Sent off at odds of 2-5, Attila's Storm paid $2.90, $2.20, and $2.10. Wild Jam, who carried 114 pounds, returned $3.50 and $2.80 for second, with Pavo $3 to show. Introspect and Kelp trailed. Cavallo Pazzo was scratched earlier in the day.
The victory, worth $64,260 for owners Barry K. Schwartz, Wachtel Stable, Double S Stable, and Nils Brouse, increased Attila's Storm's lifetime earnings to $459,983.