11/03/2017 10:46AM

Big Handsome getting two-month break

Susie Raisher/NYRA
Big Handsome wins the Paradise Creek Stakes in May.

Tony Dutrow believes the effects of a long season have taken a toll on his 3-year-old turf horse Big Handsome, and on Tuesday he sent him to Ocala, Fla., for a 60-day vacation.

Big Handsome made his first three starts on dirt, but when Dutrow switched him to turf last March, the results were immediate. Big Handsome reeled off runaway maiden and allowance wins at Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park before winning the seven-furlong Paradise Creek at Belmont by 5 1/4 lengths.

In his next three starts, Big Handsome finished second by a neck to Bricks and Mortar in the one-mile Manila at Belmont, third by three-quarters of a length to Bricks and Mortar and Yoshida in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame going 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga, and second by a neck in the six-furlong Allied Forces at Belmont.

Dutrow had been considering a start against older horses in the new $125,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship but changed his mind when Big Handsome finished third at 2-5 on Oct. 27 in a six-furlong optional-claiming turf sprint.

“We started out with him in February, and he’s had a long campaign,” Dutrow said. “I think it caught up with him a little bit. I thought he was struggling the entire race. He didn’t put himself where he needed to be.”

Dutrow bought Big Handsome for $250,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale in 2015. The son of Street Boss has put together a 10-3-3-3 record and earned $231,000.

“I think the rest will give him a chance to have a very effective 4-year-old season,” Dutrow said. “I think his best distance is between six and seven furlongs around one turn.”

Like Big Handsome, Mo Town may have found a home on turf. He is on target for the $150,000 Gio Ponti, a 1 1/16-mile turf race on Nov. 24, according to Dutrow.

Mo Town won the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct last November. He had gone winless in four starts at 3, including the Wood Memorial and Risen Star, before romping by 6 1/2 lengths in a second-level optional-claiming turf race at Belmont Park on Oct. 12.

“We’ve been through a lot with him,” Dutrow said. “There has been a lot of good and some head scratchers. I was disappointed with a couple of his dirt races this summer, but I thought his last race was excellent.”