For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Thursday, May 23, 2013


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, May 23, 2013--The Doctor is the tune of 30-large.

New York Sire Stakes freshman champion Doctor Butch begins his 3-year-old season Saturday night, supplementing into Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace. A dozen sophs—nine colts and three-geldings--entered the Rooney, necessitating a pair of $40,000 eliminations.

Owner Ken Jacobs plunked down $30,000 for the privilege of getting Doctor Butch into the entry box and onto a track where he's enjoyed much success.

"Butch," a originally $55,000 yearling purchase (nee Recent Vintage), was the scourge of the Empire State last season, with eight wins and four seasons in a dozen starts ($344,411). The son of Art Major wired the field in the $225,000 final of the sire stakes here in late September (1:53.1) and has three wins a pair of seconds in five Westchester work nights.

"Honestly, the Rooney wasn't on his schedule," trainer Linda Toscano said. "The plan was to start him in the (May 18) sire stakes at Vernon, but when that was rescheduled (after the equine herpesvirus-1 [EHV-1] outbreak), we went looking for a place to race him.

"We took a look at this race and who was eligible to it, and thought it would be a good fit," Toscano said. "There are some talented horses here, but a lot of others are making their way up to Canada getting ready for the Somebeachsomewhere and North America Cup, so we decided we'd enter him."

Doctor Butch drew post position No. 4 in the first elimination, going as the second race.  Tim Tetrick drives the 6-5 early favorite, who comes in off a trio of Meadowlands qualifiers.

"He's my favorite-size horse," Toscano said. "He filled out, like you'd want a horse to (between 2 and 3), and he look great.:

As far as the upcoming season, Toscano, having had a successful partnership with owner Jacobs for many years, is well aware of his priorities.

"First, Ken is a New Yorker," Toscano said. "He lives in New York, loves the New York program and loves racing in New York. "His goal with every one of his New York-breds is always to try and earn enough points to qualify for the final of the sire stakes. He concentrate on those races, then after the sire stakes season is over, if they continue to race, it's the open stakes."                       

Toscano also trains Swift As a Shadow, who, with George Brennan doing the honors, landed the pylons the second elim (6th race). The  Winbak Farms homebred son of Bettor's Delight was thrice a winner in nine tries at 2, winning more than $109,000.

"He's a tiny horse, but he doesn't know it," Toscano said. "He came charging out of the pocket against Captaintreacherous in a qualifier and raced well. Last week, after he closed very well in an overnight (Meadowlands), he sold us on entering him.

"George (Brennan) drove him last season and liked him, Hopefully, if we make the final, he can drive him again."

The fields for Saturday night's elims for the 23rd Art Rooney Pace...1st elim (2nd race)... 1-Source of Pride (Dave Miller, 4-1), 2-Visa Viper (Eric Goodell, 8-1), 3-Bet the Moon (George Brennan, 6-1), 4-Doctor Butch (Tim Tetrick, 6-5), 5-Mach it So (Brian Sears, 6-1), 6-Just Bettor (Jason Bartlett, 12-1).

2nd elim (6th race)...Swift As a Shadow (Brennan, 8-1), 2-Good Day Mate (Bartlett, 5-1), 3-Sir Cary's Z Tam (Pat Lachance, 8-5), 4-Duel in the Sun (Corey Callahan, 8-1), 5-Sunfire Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras, 10-1), 6-Lonewolf Currier (Sears, 4-1).

The first four finishers in each elim qualify for the Saturday, June 1, final of the Rooney (purse $275,000). That night also includes the $117,060 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old fillies.