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Aqueduct: Taking a gamble on Dutrow pays off for Fein
At a time when some owners were staying away from trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., Eric Fein decided to go to him with a group of horses. After winning a pair of stakes races over the weekend, Fein is certainly glad he made the move.
After C C’s Pal won Saturday’s Garland of Roses and Swag Daddy took Sunday’s Damon Runyon Stakes, the Fein-Dutrow combination was 5 for 9 with three stakes wins since late September. Fein transferred about six of his horses to Dutrow after having previously used trainer Derek Ryan, a trainer who is based at Monmouth and Parx during the summer and Tampa Bay in the winter.
Fein, who lives on Long Island, said he made the change because he wanted his horses to race in New York and at Gulfstream. Fein also gave four horses to Bruce Brown. Fein said he has horses on the farm that will also be split between Dutrow and Brown.
“I love Derek but he was a Monmouth/Tampa Bay trainer who really didn’t want to come to New York,’’ said Fein, who campaigned the stakes winners Musket Man and Schoolyard Dreams with Ryan. “I got a lot of New York-breds. I don’t want to race at Tampa Bay with New York-breds.’’
Fein moved to Dutrow at a time when Dutrow’s future was uncertain. Dutrow was handed a 10-year suspension by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for a history of rules violations. Dutrow has since received an indefinite stay of that suspension and will be allowed to train for the foreseeable future.
“I kind of felt like Rick was looking for somebody with some nice horses,’’ Fein said. “Everybody was anti-Rick. I had horses with him previously and I had a really good experience with him. It was just that he had 200 horses at the time. I was a small fish which was fine, but I didn’t mind leaving him at the time to give them to Derek.’’
C C’s Pal, a 4-year-old daughter of Afleet Alex, has won 2 of 3 stakes and finished third in the Grade 2 Go for Wand. She is likely to remain in New York for her next start.
Swag Daddy, a 2-year-old New York-bred son of Scat Daddy, has also won 2 of 3 starts since coming to Dutrow. Fein said Swag Daddy might go to Florida for the better 3-year-old races though that decision hasn’t been made yet.
“I’m nervous with these horses training up here in the winter,’’ Fein said. “We truly think Swag Daddy’s got a lot more ability than he showed yesterday. I certainly want to give him the opportunity to get to the next level.’’
Schoolyard Dreams is in Florida and will race next on turf. Fein said he gave Dutrow an unraced 2-year-old by Street Sense named Street Thug, who is also at Gulfstream.
Servis off to hot start
Jason Servis, back in New York for the first time in five winters, has gotten the inner track meet off to a terrific start with three winners from his first seven starters.
Servis won races with Tonigail on Friday, Smarty Bull on Saturday, and Oasis of Chance on Sunday. Servis also won two races during Aqueduct’s main track meeting. Servis said he shipped in 24 horses to New York on Nov. 6, but lost four of them through the claim box.
“I’m thrilled to death, I had a good feeling going in,’’ Servis said Monday from Florida, where he also maintains a string of horses stabled at Palm Meadows. “I claimed a few at Calder that will be coming in there and we’re looking for more [horses].’’
From 2002-07, Servis had a string of horses in New York and won 33 races from 229 starters during that time. The last four winters he kept horses exclusively at Palm Meadows.
“I always liked New York, I’ve had some good winters up there,’’ Servis said. “I kicked it around with some of my owners and we’re planning on staying year-round.’’
Servis’s next two starters in New York come Friday with Pleaseandthankyou, who drops in for a $20,000 claimer after running second in an allowance race at Penn National last out, and He’s So Chic, who is entered in an optional claimer and who is in for the $50,000 tag.
In addition to winning three races in New York last week, Servis also won races at Gulfstream and Tampa Bay on Saturday. Jenny’s So Great, who won the Lightning City Stakes at Tampa, is being pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 7.
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