Toccet's Connections Want Vindication

(From track report)
Toccet, the leading 2-year-old colt on the East Coast, will be flown from Baltimore to run in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) Dec. 21, trainer John Scanlan confirmed Friday from his base at Laurel, Md.

"He's doing really well and should be able to adjust to anything," said Scanlan. "He's handled everything we've asked." Jorge Chavez has the call back in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Toccet won the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Saturday after annexing the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont in October. Victorious in four of six starts, the son of Awesome Again has run only one disappointing race, a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Arlington Park Oct. 26.

Seeking redemption for that race, owner Daniel Borislow took out a full-page advertisement in the Daily Racing Form challenging the connections of Vindication, the unbeaten Breeders' Cup winner and overwhelming favorite for an Eclipse Award, to face Toccet in the Futurity.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Futurity three of the last five years, has indicated that Padua Stable's Vindication – winner of all four 2002 starts – would not race again this year. Baffert, however, plans to run Kafwain, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup and winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita, and Domestic Dispute in the Futurity.

Other probable starters include Roll Hennessy Roll, Outta Here and possibly Ghostzapper or Empire Maker from the Bobby Frankel stable.

Scanlan, who was stabled at Hollywood Park for two winters, said Toccet could remain in California for the winter.

Scanlan, 52, and Borislow, 41, have been affiliated since 1991. Borislow, who makes his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., made a fortune as an internet entrepreneur, retiring in 1999 after selling his Tev-Save Holdings for a nine-figure price.

Toccet seeks to become the first Futurity winner to have raced exclusively in the East since Stephan's Odyssey scored in 1984 for trainer Woody Stephens and jockey Eddie Maple.