Toccet Heading For Santa Anita's Strub Series

Dan Borislow, encouraged by Toccet's solid third-place finish behind Congaree and Midas Eyes in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) has decided to send the colt back to Santa Anita and point for the Strub Series, beginning with the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes (gr. I) Dec. 26.

Although Toccet did not fare well in his first excursion to Santa Anita, finishing out of the money in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup (gr. II) and Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), Borislow feels the son of Awesome Again finally is returning to his form of last year.

"I was impressed enough with the way he ran in the Cigar that I feel he would have a good shot in the Malibu, but an even better shot in the longer races. So if we can make it through the first leg, I will be pretty excited," Borislow said.

Among those likely to join Toccet in the Malibu are Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Cajun Beat, Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Buddy Gil, and Riva Ridge (gr. II) winner Posse. Bobby Frankel is pointing three horses for the race – Midas Eyes, Watchem Smokey, winner of the Vernon Underwood (gr. III) in his last start, and Special Rate, who Frankel feels is ready to run a big race.

After returning home following the Breeders' Cup, Toccet finished a gutsy second in the Hail Emperor Stakes at Laurel after being double-teamed by a Mike Gill entry. Despite being cooked early by a rabbit, Toccet battled back gamely to be beaten a nose by the stronger part of the entry.

Toccet's only victory this year came in his return in the restricted Widener Stakes at Philadelphia Park. Nothing seemed to click after that, as he came back in 13 days in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III) in the slop, only to finish off the board. But since his return from California, he's put together two strong efforts. In the Cigar Mile, he was right with the top two at the head of the stretch after a scorching six furlongs in 1:08.79 over a slow racetrack. Although he couldn't keep up after turning for home, he did come on again in the final furlong to make up three lengths on runner-up Midas Eyes.

Last year, Toccet was more successful in his travels to California, winning the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) after a grueling stretch duel with the Bob Baffert-trained Kafwain, coming off a runner-up effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).