12/22/2012 2:34PM

Aqueduct: Dutrow brothers square off in feature race


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – On Tuesday, brothers Richard and Tony Dutrow will have a little Christmas revelry in New York as they usually do with their families.

On Thursday, the brothers will renew their racetrack rivalry at Aqueduct when Hard Life, trained by Richard, squares off against Twice the Lady, trained by Tony, in a $71,000 second-level allowance/optional claiming feature at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track.

Hard Life, a daughter of Rock Hard Ten, comes off a respectable third-place finish as a 17-1 longshot in the Grade 2 Go for Wand Handicap on Nov. 23. Prior to that, Hard Life finished sixth in this condition on the turf. Her previous four dirt starts, however, were all solid, including a first-level allowance win from off the pace in a one-turn mile race at Belmont in September.

Dutrow claimed Hard Life for $15,000 out of a winning effort over the inner track on March 14, so she has a win over the track. Ramon Dominguez rides Hard Life from post 2.

“We’ve been looking to run her in a two-other-than for quite a while,” Dutrow said. “When we claimed her it was out of a two-turn race over the inner track so we’re confident she’ll show up on the inner.”

Hard Life is a late runner who should have some pace to close into with Touch the Birds and Stephanie Jayne in the field.

Twice the Lady, a 4-year-old daughter of Quiet American, comes out of a fourth-place finish in a swiftly-run optional claiming race at Belmont on Oct. 18. She was beaten 12 lengths, but the winner – the Richard Dutrow-trained Fantasy of Flight – won by 9 3/4 lengths in front-running fashion.

Tony Dutrow said he was disappointed in Twice the Lady’s performance that day, but added she will appreciate stretching out in distance as she has won her last two starts around two turns.

“Two turns is better for her and she’s doing very well,” Dutrow said. “So I have to feel good about her running well. She’s performed good over the inner track before.

Twice the Lady finished second last March over the inner track, a race from which Dutrow claimed her for $62,500 off Dale Romans. Twice the Lady, a five-time winner, is in for the $62,500 claiming price on Thursday. Hot riding apprentice Jose Ortiz will be aboard from post 4.

Touch the Birds, also in for the claiming tag, ships in from Maryland for Christopher Grove. Stephanie Jayne, who went 2 for 3 over the inner track last winter, is now back in the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin after having made her last four starts for Greg Burchell.

Ode to Sami, a first-level allowance winner sprinting, and Score Boyera complete the field.