01/02/2013 2:54PM

Aqueduct: Private Tale back in allowance company


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The purse may be about a third less than what he ran for in his last start, but the drop-off in competition isn’t nearly as steep for Private Tale, who heads Aqueduct’s $71,000 allowance/optional claiming feature Friday.

Private Tale returns to the Northeast after finishing fourth as the 9-5 favorite in the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 1. Friday, he runs in a multi-tiered conditioned race in which five of the seven entrants are being offered for the optional claiming tag of $100,000. Regal Warrior, however, is expected to scratch, according to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

Gallant Fields, who won here Monday, and Indy Scent are in for the third-level allowance condition.

Private Tale, a Virginia-bred son of Tale of the Cat, won a third-level allowance at Laurel on Sept. 27. He then finished fourth behind Buffum in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler at Aqueduct on Oct. 27 before running fourth in the Claiming Crown Jewel at 1 1/8 miles.

Private Tale had the lead turning for home in the Jewel, but breaking from an inside post he chased a fast early pace, which cost him in the stretch, according to trainer Michael Trombetta.

“In that position at Gulfstream, it was a bigger field, there was a whole lot going on down inside there, and he had to fight his way because it was such a big crowd,” Trombetta said. “The front horses were moving along pretty good, none of which were around at the end.”

Private Tale has the rail Friday, but there appears to be more pace off which Private Tale could settle. Trombetta will need a jockey to replace Rajiv Maragh, who is named but will miss the next few weeks due to injury. Cornelio Velasquez is a candidate.

Velasquez is named to ride Regal Warrior, but he finished seventh in a second-level allowance Monday and Dutrow said Wednesday he would not run him back. Dutrow will run Gallant Fields back after winning that same second-level allowance, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 97. Dutrow has twice run Gallant Fields back on two days’ rest, including last month where he finished second to the odds-on favorite San Pablo in the Queens County Stakes.

“I didn’t know he was going to like two turns on the inner track. Obviously, he does and that’s a plus for him,” Dutrow said.

Spa City Fever is 1 for 9 on the inner track, but the win came in front-running fashion in the 2011 Alex M. Robb. Spa City Fever, Avenging Spirit, and Johannesburg Smile all are likely to be in the mix early.

Indy Scent, a non-threatening fourth in the Queens County, should sit back and make one run under Ariel Smith.