11/25/2011 4:51PM

Aqueduct: Two barns a study in contrast

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Sunrise Smarty, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins the Fall Highweight Handicap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Barns 2 and 14 at Belmont Park are directly across from one another, separated by approximately 25 feet of pavement. The atmosphere at each of those barns on Friday morning was on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Barn 2 is home to Andrew Lakeman, who on Thursday won his first race as a trainer, 4 1/2 years after his riding career ended in a spill at Belmont Park, leaving him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Lakeman won Thursday’s last race, a $25,000 maiden claiming race, with Thisskysabeauty.

Barn 14 is where trainer John Terranova’s horses are stabled. It had been home to General Maximus, a gorgeous 4-year-old New York-bred chestnut who sustained fatal injuries to his left foreleg halfway through the running of Thursday’s Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap and was euthanized.

Reynaldo Abreu found himself working both sides of the street Thursday and Friday. Abreu is one of Terranova’s assistants, and he oversaw the training of the stable’s horses Friday morning while Terranova and his wife and assistant, Tonja, stayed home during training hours to spend some additional time with their children.

Abreu stopped by to congratulate Lakeman on his victory. Abreu saddled Thisskysabeauty for Lakeman on Thursday, but didn’t stick around to watch the race.

“I told Andrew I would saddle his horse, but that’s the last place I wanted to be was saddling another horse after that horse got put down,” Abreu said Friday morning. “I gave [Ramon] Dominguez a leg up and then I went to meet John and Tonja in the parking lot. But I’m glad for Andrew. He deserves it.”

The mood at Terranova’s barn was understandably somber as workers went about their business in relative silence. John Terranova, who eventually did come to the barn Friday morning, said he was his barn around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night and saw one of his employees, Arturo Lopez Perez, the groom of General Maximus, crying inside the stall.

“He didn’t want to leave his stall. He was devastated,” Terranova said. “He got along with him with so well. He said ‘I lost my best friend.’ “

Terranova said General Maximus was a sound individual, which made the injury even that more shocking.

“Any time they get hurt like that you’re completely blindsided,” Terranova said. “This one especially. He’s truly a very sound horse. Other than a couple of everyday, routine hind muscle things, some of which stemmed from the undescended testicle we took out during the summer. Since we took that out, he’s never better. You couldn’t ask for a horse with cleaner legs.”

Conversely, Thisskysabeauty made it to the winner’s circle eight months after having to undergo surgery to repair a condylar fracture in a front cannon bone. Some told Lakeman, who also owns the colt, that Thisskysabeauty would not make it back to the races.

Thursday’s race was Thisskysabeauty’s eighth career start. He had sprinted on dirt and turf and his last two races – which came six days apart – were in one-turn mile races scheduled for the turf that were run on dirt.

Lakeman said he wheeled the horse back on six days rest at the suggestion of Allen Jerkens, the Hall of Fame trainer for whom Lakeman had worked as an exercise rider and won the majority of his seven races as a jockey. Lakeman said Jerkens was the first person he called after Thursday’s victory.

“He was so emotional, he didn’t know what to say,” Lakeman said.

He also spoke to his parents, William and Lynn, who wanted to bring Lakeman back to England after he recovered from his spill.

“My parents were overwhelmed,” Lakeman said. “My father was so, so happy.”

Both Lakeman and Terranova will continue doing what they do. Lakeman has picked up a second horse, a New York-bred filly named Shes Loca who will likely debut in early 2012.

Terranova’s large stable will also continue on, though General Maximus was projected to be the top horse leading into the winter.

“The barn is really empty today,” Terranova said. “He was like the Alpha-colt in the barn. That’s his personality. It’s devastating that it had to end up this way. It’s a tough game to play some days for sure.”

Sunrise Smarty may wait for Toboggan

After running three times in 47 days, Fall Highweight winner Sunrise Smarty may wait until February to make his next start. Trainer Mike Hushion said he would likely skip the $65,000 Gravesend Handicap scheduled for Dec. 17 and wait for the first sprint stakes of 2012.

Though the 2012 stakes schedule still needs to be formally approved by the New York Racing Association Board of Trustees, racing secretary P.J. Campo said Friday that the first sprint stakes of 2012 is scheduled to be the Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan on Feb. 4.

Despite racing through rapid fractions of 21.51 seconds for the quarter and 44.31 for the half-mile, Sunrise Smarty won the Fall Highweight by one-half length over Nathans H Q. He ran six furlongs in 1:09.97 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97.

Hushion said the horse came out of the race in good order.

Brilliant Speed may go to Dubai

Brilliant Speed, third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be under a consideration for a start in Dubai, trainer Tom Albertrani said this week.

Because of his success on both synthetic and turf, Brilliant Speed could be a candidate for either the $10 million World Cup at 1 1/4 miles over the Tapeta surface, or the $5 million Sheema Classic at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Both races are scheduled for March 31.

“It’s something we’re discussing as an option,” said Albertrani, who trains Brilliant Speed for owner Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud. “We should see him back in training end of December or early January.”

Albertrani said Brilliant Speed could make his 4-year-old debut in the Mac Diarmida Stakes, a 1 3/8 miles turf race, on Feb. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

Brilliant Speed won the Grade 1 Blue Grass over Keeneland’s polytrack in the spring and took the Grade 3 Saranac on turf at Saratoga. He was beaten 3 1/4 lengths by St Nicholas Abbey in the BC Turf at Churchill Downs.

◗ Following Sunday’s card, racing moves to the inner track beginning Wednesday.