06/21/2013 3:04PM

Belmont Park: After hitting rock bottom, Reynolds rebuilds stable

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Tom Keyser
The 3-year-old filly Baby J, owned by Paul Pompa, is one of the better prospects Pat Reynolds now has in his barn.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Sickness, depression, and a lack of stock drove trainer Pat Reynolds out of Thoroughbred racing for about 16 months beginning in the fall of 2010.

After minimal success upon his return, things have picked up nicely this spring for the 62-year-old Reynolds, who hopes he can return to the high level at which he was competing a few years ago.

Reynolds, who has trained a couple of Grade 1 winners in his career, is enjoying a solid Belmont meet with a record of 5-4-3 from 14 starters. On Sunday, he will seek his first stakes victory in three years when he runs Garnet Street in the $90,000 Open Mind Stakes at Belmont.

The Open Mind, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares, is a long way from races like the Grade 1 Carter, which Reynolds won in 2001, and the Grade 1 Garden City, which he won in 2008, but it’s a start.

“Things are moving in the right direction,” Reynolds said Friday outside Belmont Barn 39, where he has 13 horses. “I got some decent horses for some nice people. Paul Pompa and I are back together again. We had a little interruption. He sent me some nice horses again. Hopefully, I can get him back in the graded stakes bracket.”

Reynolds trained Backseat Rhythm for Pompa, and that filly won a trio of graded stakes, including the Garden City in 2008. That same year, Reynolds won a maiden turf race at Saratoga with a 2-year-old named Big Brown, owned by Pompa.

Pompa sold majority interest in Big Brown to IEAH Stables and the horse was transferred to Richard Dutrow Jr. Big Brown would win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and eventually, Pompa transferred most of his horses to Dutrow, leaving Reynolds the day after Backseat Rhythm won the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay in March 2009.

By late October 2010, Reynolds was out of the game entirely.

“I was sick. I had to take some time off,” Reynolds said. “I had double pneumonia and didn’t have any good horses to train. At the time, there was nobody spending any money for horses. I didn’t want to take horses on deals because you get buried on that.”

Reynolds eased back into the game in winter 2012, claiming a horse that didn’t pan out. He had a handful of horses until building his business back up last fall.

Pompa and Reynolds re-connected last year, and Pompa has sent Reynolds a few horses, including Baby J, a graded stakes-placed 2-year-old filly of 2012, Reaching Out, a three-time New York-bred winner, and the unstarted 2-year-old Hard Wired, who on Friday was gelded due to his wild behavior on the track in the mornings.

“I think Baby J is going to do fine,” Reynolds said. “I got a couple of 2-year-olds for [Pompa]. I got other horses promised to me. Marissa Lizza sent me a horse or two. Things are looking up. Decent horses for nice people who pay their bills, you got a chance.”

Garnet Street, owned by Alex Marinos, has won 2 of 3 starts for Reynolds. She will have to overcome the seemingly lack of early pace, but is in the best form of the five runners in the field.

“She’s two-other-than eligible, but certainly this didn’t come up anything like a graded stakes,” Reynolds said. “We’ll take a shot. Why not?”

Also on Sunday, Reynolds runs Milesmore in the opener for $15,000 claimers. Milesmore has won his last two starts, both at this meet.

Lovely Syn may try Victory Ride

Lovely Syn, the undefeated New York-bred filly, could try open company in next Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, trainer Dominick Schettino said.

Lovely Syn, a daughter of Freud, has won her first four starts – all against statebred company – by a combined 28 3/4 lengths. Most recently, she won the Bouwerie Stakes by 10 1/4 lengths in a common gallop.

“She’s possible for the Victory Ride,” said Schettino, who added he would make that decision after Lovely Syn has her next work.

The Victory Ride, a prep for the Grade 1 Prioress at Saratoga on July 27, is expected to attract Kauai Katie, Fusaichiiswonderful, Bridgehampton, I’m Mom’s Favorite, and possibly Lighthouse Bay.

The Victory Ride shares billing with the Grade 2, $200,000 New York Stakes scheduled for 1 1/4 miles on the turf.

Mystical Star, who won the New York last year, is expected to try and defend her title against a field that includes Anjaz, Dream Peace, Lady of Shamrock, Minakshi, Regalo Mia, Starformer, Tannery, and possibly Treasured Up.