09/06/2010 6:33PM

Boys At Tosconova solidifies status as one of season's top 2-year-olds

Tom Keyser
Boys At Tosconova, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, captures the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Boys At Tosconova maintained his spot among the leaders of the juvenile male division with a solid 1 3/4-length victory in Monday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.

While he may not have been as dominant as he was winning a maiden race by 12 lengths at Belmont Park in July, Boys At Tosconova was still quite impressive. Reserved behind dueling leaders Stay Thirsty and Wine Police early, Boys At Tosconova made a three-wide sweep to join the contenders at the quarter pole, then under simply a hand-ride from Ramon Dominguez, struck the front inside the eighth pole and won handily.

Stay Thirsty, who set the pace under John Velazquez, held second by 1 3/4 lengths over Wine Police. It was 9 1/2 lengths back to Settle for Medal in fourth.

"He was good enough to get this job done the right way," trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said.

Boys At Tosconova hadn’t run since his maiden victory 66 days ago and was stretching out from five furlongs to seven furlongs while facing a couple of quality maiden winners.

Dominguez said he thought Stay Thirsty and Wine Police might show speed and he was willing to concede the early lead to them. Stay Thirsty ran an opening quarter in 23.15 seconds and a half-mile in 46.38 while being pursued by Wine Police. Dominguez had Boys At Tosconova, who bumped with Settle for Medal at the break, outside and in the clear.

"Rick was so confident he said 'Ramon we don’t have to be in front, just play it by ear,' " Dominguez said. "They outbroke me and I said I’m just going to put him where he’s comfortable and I got him to the outside when I wanted."

While John Velazquez, aboard Stay Thirsty, and Shaun Bridgmohan, on Wine Police, resorted to their whips in the stretch, Dominguez went to a hand ride. He looked under his left shoulder inside the eighth pole, knowing he had the race won. Boys At Tosconova, a son of Officer owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable and Hot Racing Stable, covered seven furlongs in 1:23.27 and returned $3.10 as the favorite.

"The two horses that were inside of me, I thought I had them put away," Dominguez said. "He’s just a very nice horse."

Dutrow said he will simply train Boys At Tosconova up to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.

"If he stays this way and trains like he did for this race up to the Breeders Cup, he already likes that track there,’" said Dutrow, referring to the fact Boys At Tosconova finished second in the Kentucky Juvenile as a first-time starter. "It’s just a matter of two turns with him and we certainly ain’t going to be afraid of it."

Wine Police, the 2-1 second choice, was beaten 3 1/2 lengths after winning a maiden race here by 7 3/4 lengths on July 24.

"For his second race I think that was a big step up," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "Everything went so easy with him the first time; I think he’ll get a lot out of it. Hopefully, he’ll train forward and he can stay at this level."