On Short Rest, Willy Beamin Wins Foxwoods King’s Bishop
By John Scheinman | 08/25/2012 06:53 AM ET
Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., has never shied from wheeling horses back into races off short rest, but his performance this week at Saratoga Race Course likely will go down as his best quick turnaround of all.
Three days after sending James Riccio’s Willy Beamin out to win the $150,000 Albany for New York-breds at 1 1/8 miles, Dutrow put the 3-year-old gelding into a far more ambitious spot Saturday – the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop. As a desperate duel between a blur of horses developed in the latter stages of the race, Willy Beamin cut loose a furious burst inside the eighth pole and went from sixth to first to win the seven-furlong race by a half-length.
Fort Loudon, who had been battling on the lead, finished second, a nose in front of Unbridled’s Note. Doctor Chit was just three-quarters of a length back in fourth, a neck in front of Laurie’s Rocket.
The winner, the 11-1 seventh choice in a field of 10, won in a time of 1:22.02 and paid $24.80 for a $2 win bet.
Dutrow did not attend the races Saturday, reportedly at Aqueduct Racetrack with his large string of horses, but a semi-stunned Riccio took the honors in the winners circle.
“Unbelievable,” said Riccio, of Bayonne, N.J., who claimed Willy Beamin for $25,000 in March at Aqueduct. “He started getting good, good, good. The other day he had a lot left in the tank [after winning the Albany], and [jockey Alan Garcia] didn’t even really ask him to run. Dutrow is great at that. They run better the second time.
“This is the best [race] I’ve ever won, and to be at Saratoga in a Grade 1 with a claimer, I never dreamed of this.”
On paper, the race shaped up as another slugfest between the speedy Trinniberg and the favorite, Currency Swap, but neither top sprinter was around at the finish.
At the start, Trinniberg broke sharply and cut out opening fractions of 22.28 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 45.13 for the half, while hounded by Doctor Chit.
At the top of the lane, Trinniberg gave way and a wild chase ensued, as Unbridled’s Note extricated himself from a boxed position and began to battle with the hard-closing Fort Loudon and Doctor Chit. Willy Beamin, however, swooped down and caught them all.
Laurie’s Rocket finished fifth; Currency Swap, in tight quarters on the inside, was sixth; followed by Ever So Lucky, Spin Out, Trinniberg and Gun Boat.
Willy Beamin, a son of Suave, now has won seven of 10 lifetime starts. The $300,000 winner’s purse increased his earnings to $609,545.
Asked what might be next for Willy Beamin, Riccio sounded unsure, because you never know with Dutrow.
“I would say he’s going to get a couple months off,” Riccio said. “We’ll figure it out. We didn’t look that far down the road, but you never know. Rick might have something up his sleeve. What’s today, Saturday? There’s something Thursday, but they drew already.”