Boys at Tosconova
By Dan Silver | 07/02/2010 03:11 PM ET
With an overwhelming maiden victory Friday at Belmont Park, Boys At Tosconova signaled his presence as an early contender for the juvenile stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
The preliminary 103 Beyer Speed Figure that he registered is the fastest by a 2-year-old this year, and would be tied for eleventh best among 3-year-olds.
Boys At Tosconova also became the second 2-year-old featured on the New York Watch list, located online at http://www.nyra.com/nywatch, the series that profiles up-and-comers that have recently broken their maiden in races at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.
Purchased for $35,000 at the Keeneland September 2009 Yearling Sale, his connections thought so much of the Officer colt that they debuted him in the Grade 3 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs on April 30. He backed up that confidence with a second-place finish, losing by 1½ lengths.
Boys At Tosconova’s debut got the attention of Mace Siegel from Jay Em Ess Stable, who put in a call to trainer Richard Dutrow, Jr.
“Mr. Siegel called me, and said ‘Rick, the horse is at Monmouth. Go check him out. If you like him, we’ll buy him,’” Dutrow said. “I went and checked him out with a couple of my good friends and as soon as I saw him, I called back and said ‘We’ve got to buy him.’”
Dutrow’s keen eye was rewarded on Friday when Boys At Tosconova, sent off as the 2-5 favorite, dismantled an overmatched group of six debuters by 12 lengths, stopping the clock in 56.26, a mere half-second off the Belmont track record for five furlongs.
Leading jockey Ramon Dominguez was effusive in his praise of the winner, whom he rode for the first time.
“So much class, so much ability, he was outstanding,” Dominguez said. “The sky is the limit.”
Dutrow echoed those sentiments, saying that he was “blown away” by his horse’s performance. He mentioned two Saratoga races, the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 16, and the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful on September 6, as possible goals, adding that he will let the horse tell him when he’s ready to race again.
“I’ll give him plenty of time, the big races are next year and we’re going to try to target them, so we’ll try to take as good care of him as we can and give him plenty of time between his races,” Dutrow said. “I’m not the kind of guy who wants to get in a hurry with a good one.”
By 2001 Grade 1 Champagne winner Officer, who currently stands for $10,000 at Taylor Made Stallions in Kentucky, Boys At Tosconova has some pedigree to go with his speed. His dam, Little Bonnet, won three races and finished third in the 2003 Sands Point over the Belmont main track. His second dam, Valid Bonnet, won the 1997 Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park, run at 1 1/16th miles on the dirt.
Boys At Tosconova is the second foal out of Little Bonnet to race. Her first foal, Spooky Hollow (by Forest Danger), has yet to win in six starts. She has an unnamed yearling colt by Tiznow and an unnamed foal born this March by Bluegrass Cat.
Many of the industry’s brightest stars embarked upon their careers at the NYRA tracks, including a number of recent Triple Crown race winners. Super Saver, Big Brown, Jazil, Birdstone, Funny Cide, and Empire Maker are all among the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes victors that kick-started their careers at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, or Saratoga.
The list also includes recent champions Gio Ponti and Indian Blessing; brilliant fillies Flashing, Little Belle, and Music Note; and the current top older male Quality Road, who has won three Grade 1 races so far in his career, including this year’s Metropolitan Handicap.