11/18/2011 5:53PM

Aqueduct: Groomedforvictory makes first start after claim by Dutrow


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Groomedforvictory, who has a history of running big races on Aqueduct’s main track, makes his first start since claimed by trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. back in February and takes on six rival New York-breds in Sunday’s $60,000 Adirondack Holme overnight stakes.

Four horses that last raced on New York Showcase Day also entered the one-mile Adirondack Holme: Johannesburg Smile and Icabad Crane, who were third and fourth in the Empire Classic; Driven by Success, who was fourth as part of a favored entry in the Hudson; and Writingonthewall, who set the pace to mid-stretch in the Mohawk on turf.

Groomedforvictory made the first of his 26 career starts here in the fall of 2007, finishing second at nearly 12-1. He won twice at Aqueduct’s 2009 fall meet, including an overnight stake, and last year returned from a shorter absence to win an optional claimer against open company. Groomedforvictory then went to Gulfstream Park, where he ran Apriority to a photo finish on Jan. 6, earning a career best 103 Beyer Figure. That effort prompted a $62,500 claim from Dutrow on Feb. 12, when the 6-year-old gelding again beat open company and recorded a figure of 105.

Johannesburg Smile drew favorably on the outside for Dominic Galluscio and figures to view for favoritism with Groomedforvictory after a good effort in the Empire Classic. The consistent 4-year-old has finished in the money in all 15 dirt starts during the past two seasons – including three editions of the Noble Nashua overnight stakes – while earning dirt Beyers of 90 or better without fail since the 2010 Albany Handicap.

Icabad Crane is on the same schedule as last year, when he followed starts in the West Point and the Empire Classic with a close second in a one-mile overnight stake at the Big A for trainer Graham Motion.

Writingonthewall, claimed by trainer Richard Stoklosa for $25,000 at Saratoga, would take some catching based on his only previous start on this track – a front-running win with a 94 Beyer at the spring meet.

The up-and-comer in the lineup is Beautyinthepulpit, a homebred 3-year-old colt by Pulpit, who makes his stakes debut for trainer Bruce Brown after winning three of his first four starts.

Spa City Fever, idle since a wide trip in the Evan Shipman at Saratoga in July, rounds out the field.