07/31/2009 12:00AM

$15K buy in Utah turns into major bargain

Benoit & Associates
Dewey's Special, purchased privately for $15,000 two years ago, has won more than $223,000.

DEL MAR, Calif. - There is still a bush track circuit in Utah, and occasionally it yields a stakes-worthy horse for the California tracks.

Dewey's Special, bought for a mere $2,200 as a 2-year-old at the 2007 Barretts January mixed sale, was based at Dixie Downs in St. George, Utah, later that year when owner Dustin Moore watched him in a workout. Moore saw enough to pay $15,000 in a private deal.

"They thought they ripped me off," Moore said.

More than two years later, Dewey's Special became a stakes winner in the $100,000 California Dreamin' Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on July 26. Not bad for a cheap horse intended for dusty tracks in Utah.

The only problem was it took Dewey's Special five starts and more than a year before he won his first race.

Since that maiden race win at Santa Anita in February 2008, Dewey's Special has won 3 of 5 starts and has not been worse than third. Trained by Ron Ellis, Dewey's Special was second in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park in April 2008, but missed the next year because of injury.

"That's what I like about Ron, if something comes up we gave him time off," Moore said. "If we hadn't given him time off, who knows what we would have had."

This year, Dewey's Special is unbeaten in three starts. He won an allowance race for statebreds on May 6, an allowance race against open company on June 21, and the California Dreamin' by three-quarters of a length over Nitro Active.

Dewey's Special has won 4 of 10 starts and $223,280, not a bad investment for a $15,000 buy-in. For Moore, it was the right amount at the right time.

"Where I grew up, you don't spend a lot on a horse," Moore said.

Dewey's Special is by Skimming out of the unraced Prized mare Shewalksinbeauty. Dewey's Special was bred by Cardiff Farm and is the dam's only stakes winner.

Moore, 37, is a third-generation horseman. His grandfather, Dewey, ran horses and had cattle in Utah. His father, Gabby, continued the tradition. Dustin Moore has a software background. A few years ago, he sold a company that provided yellow pages software to websites. In recent years, he has avidly followed racing.

This fall, Dewey's Special will be pointed for the $125,000 California Cup Mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 3.

"We think on turf he's stayed a little sounder," Moore said. "He comes back better. I think a mile is right up his alley."

Trail Mix still going strong at 8

Trail Mix, an 8-year-old gelding, shows no signs of slowing with age. Thursday, he won an optional claimer for statebreds over five furlongs on turf, his first win of 2009 and his 11th win in 41 career starts.

Claimed for $10,000 in March 2008, Trail Mix ran for a $25,000 claiming price on Thursday. He rallied wide under apprentice jockey Christian Santiago Reyes to win by a length.

Bred by Patricia Youngman, Trail Mix is with the final stable of his career, said co-owner and trainer Librado Boracio. He would like to retire the horse when he can no longer race.

"I want him to be happy," Boracio said. "He's a joy to have around the barn."

Boracio, 45, has just three horses in training. He says that Trail Mix reminds him of Is It True Mex, a turf sprinter who ran on this circuit earlier in the decade.

"He has so many similarities," Boracio said. "He's a turf sprinter, a big heart, and a class horse."