11/22/2011 5:11PM

Aqueduct: Dutrow on a roll with 10-year ban on hold

Barbara D. Livingston
Over the first 13 days of the Aqueduct fall meet, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has gone 13 for 25.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. hopes the year-end hot streak for his stable is only the beginning of a resurgence.

While he is on par to have his worst statistical season in almost a decade, Dutrow has enjoyed a stellar November, winning 16 races from 31 starters through Sunday. The bulk of his success has come at Aqueduct – his home track – where he has gone 13 for 25 during the first 13 days of the fall meet, which ends Sunday with the final day of racing over the main track.

The streak coincides with Dutrow’s winning an indefinite stay of a 10-year suspension handed him by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. The board, citing a history of rules violations, deemed his participation in the sport "inconsistent with the best interests of racing." It is unclear when Dutrow’s appeal of the state’s penalty will be heard.

It was a year ago this month that state investigators found hypodermic needles loaded with a banned substance in Dutrow’s office drawer. Also, one of his horses tested positive for a painkiller after winning a race at Aqueduct last Nov. 20.

Dutrow said New York’s effort to suspend his trainer’s license – which cost him owners as well as the ability to run in certain states – combined with injuries to several of his better horses earlier in the season contributed to a subpar year. Dutrow has won 93 races and his horses have earned $3.4 million. The last time Dutrow won less than 100 races in a year was 2000, when he won 64. The last time his stable earned less than $4 million was 2001.

Last weekend, Dutrow went 5 for 5 at Aqueduct including Redeemed’s victory in the Grade 3 Discovery and Groomedforvictory’s score in the Adirondack Holme Stakes for New York-breds. The Discovery was just Dutrow’s second graded stakes win of 2011, the first since Flashpoint – a horse he lost to another trainer – won the Hutcheson at Gulfstream in February.

"Our stable’s been so slow for so long," Dutrow said Tuesday while sitting in his Aqueduct barn office. "Since this happened to us last year plus I had a lot of good horses get hurt in Florida it kind of tore our stable apart, and the pressure we’re getting from the state; it’s bad karma.

"I feel like things have loosened up a little bit," Dutrow added. "This little run we’ve been on, our horses fit the conditions, they get to run in their own backyard now, we get [Ramon] Dominguez; I’ve always been glued into training so why can’t we win like we used to? We’ve had runs like this before, it doesn’t mean anything to me. We’ve done good where we won a whole lot of races in a certain amount of time, this is not something different with us. I just hope it continues."

Dutrow had one horse – Full of Gut – scheduled to run Wednesday and three entered for Thursday though he said he was likely to scratch Bud White from the fourth. Washington’s Rules (sixth) and Alcomatch (seventh) are both running for the first time since Dutrow claimed them. Dutrow has a 30-percent strike rate first off the claim the last two years.

In Friday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Go for Wand Handicap, Dutrow has the uncoupled entry of All Due Respect and C.C.’s Pal. All Due Respect has not run since finishing third behind Blind Luck and Unrivaled Belle in the Grade 2 La Troienne at Churchill Downs on May 6. All Due Respect had a habit of "leaning out," according to Dutrow, but now is "straight as an arrow. . . . We expect her to run huge."

Dutrow said he would prefer to run C.C.’s Pal in an overnight stakes here on Sunday, but loves her outside post draw for the Go for Wand.

Dutrow has big plans for some of his recent winners. Redeemed, who has surprised Dutrow by being successful around two turns, will likely run next in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 17 as a prep for the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 11.

Associate, a horse he claimed for $35,000 in July and who has won two straight, is being pointed to the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. Dutrow believes the horse has found a niche as a dirt sprinter.

Groomedforvictory, a New York-bred Dutrow claimed for $62,500 in February, is likely headed to Gulfstream to compete in one-turn mile races such as the Hal’s Hope on Jan. 14. Boys at Tosconova, who won an allowance race on the same day that Associate won, is also headed to Gulfstream, but Dutrow believes he needs one more start before tackling stakes company.

Dutrow also has several horses on the comeback trail including 2009 Wood Memorial winner I Want Revenge, who worked three furlongs in 37.02 seconds on Monday; the undefeated Trickmeister, who has not run since winning an overnight stakes at Saratoga 15 months ago, but who worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.50 Tuesday morning; and Acting Happy, the 2010 Black-Eyed Susan winner.

Dutrow said he plans to have 35 to 40 horses at Aqueduct this winter and roughly the same at Gulfstream. Since news came out about the indefinite stay of his suspension, Dutrow said he has received calls from owners wanting to send him horses.

"There have been people calling since then and there are people more willing to play along with us since I got an indefinite stay," Dutrow said. "My owners that we have are more involved now that they have confidence I’ll be with them for quite a while. It’s so much better now for us.

"We got some nice horses," Dutrow added. "We’re not dead."

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