04/13/2012 12:11PM

Aqueduct: Tech Fall tries to take next step toward fulfilling potential

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Tony Dutrow has always thought Tech Fall had the ingredients to be a good horse.

“So far, I’m wrong,” Dutrow said.

Perhaps not. Tech Fall came off a nine-month layoff to win a second-level allowance race last month over a muddy and laboring Aqueduct inner track. Sunday, he tries to take a step forward and become a stakes winner when he meets six opponents in the $75,000 Action Stakes at 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct’s main track.

In his only previous stakes attempt, Tech Fall finished fourth, beaten four lengths by Dominus in the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont last July 2. Tech Fall came out of that race with an injury that was never fully diagnosed, but one that prompted Dutrow and owners Michael Dubb, Michael Caruso, and Stuart Grant to give the colt the remainder of the year off.

“We figured we’ll give him a bunch of time and whatever it is that we can’t figure out time will take care of it,” Dutrow said. “So we gave him plenty of time, took him down to Florida and got him ready; brought him up here and I was really as happy as I could have been with his two-other-than win. Now he’s trained so good since then, I’m hoping in his 4-year-old year, I’ll see what I always hoped and thought I’d see from him.”

Tech Fall will have to beat more accomplished runners, including Maryland shipper Eighttofasttocatch and multiple New York-bred stakes winner Inherit the Gold.

Eighttofasttocatch scratched out of Saturday night’s $1 million Charles Town Classic after being stuck on the also-eligible list. Trainer Tim Keefe viewed it as a mixed blessing in that he would have loved to have run for the hefty purse, but wasn’t sure his horse would have taken to the tight turns of Charles Town. Keefe is using this race as a stepping-stone to the Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special on May 18 in Baltimore.

“I thought about waiting for the Pimlico Special but he’s been training so well, doing everything fantastic so I decided to give him a run,” Keefe said.

The connections of Inherit the Gold didn’t even enter the Charles Town Classic, but are happy to have a place to run. Inherit the Gold did win last year’s Excelsior at 1 1/8 miles over the main track.

“People think he is a winter horse,” trainer Jim Hooper said. “What he is, is just a game horse. He is outstanding. I couldn’t be happier by the way he is right now.”

The Action marks the 4-year-old debut of Arthur’s Tale, who finished second by a neck to Toby’s Corner in last year’s Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

Thunder Lord, Isn’t He Perfect, and Regal Warrior complete the lineup.