08/17/2010 3:32PM

Boys at Tosconova, Wine Police drill for Hopeful

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Barbara D. Livingston
Boys at Tosconova will make his next start in the Grade 1 Hopeful on Sept. 6 at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – On the morning after Kantharos established himself as the leading 2-year-old male in the East, two of his would-be challengers later in the year continued preparations for their upcoming stakes debuts.

Boys at Tosconova, who won a maiden race by 12 lengths at Belmont Park on July 2, worked six furlongs in 1:12.51 on Tuesday shortly after 5:30 a.m. over Saratoga’s main track. Less than 30 minutes later, Wine Police, a sharp debut winner over this track on July 24, went five furlongs in 1:01.65, also over the main track. Both 2-year-olds are pointing to the Grade 1 Hopeful here Sept. 6, a race in which Kantharos will not participate.

Both Boys at Tosconova, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., and Wine Police, conditioned by Steve Asmussen, were out early on an absolutely gorgeous summer morning.

Boys at Tosconova, with Ramon Dominguez up, worked in company with the undefeated 3-year-old and Travers-bound Trickmeister, who had Mario Madrid in the irons. With Boys at Tosconova on the inside, the pair went off in splits of 12.71 seconds, 24.32, 36.12, and 47.16. With neither rider urging their horse, Boys at Tosconova pulled away from Trickmeister by a length at the wire. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26.90.

“He’s been training every day very good for us for a long time,” Dutrow said. “I’m very happy in that spot.”

Boys at Tosconova, a son of Officer, won a five-furlong maiden race by 12 lengths at Belmont, earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. It was his first race after being purchased by Jan and Mace Sigel’s Jay Em Ess Stable following a second-place finish in the Kentucky Juvenile, which was his debut.

Asked if he’s seen in any changes in Boys at Tosconova since his victory, Dutrow said, “I don’t want to see any changes in him. He’s on fire.”

Dutrow also didn’t seem to care whether Kantharos – who won Monday’s Saratoga Special by 7 1/4 lengths for his third victory in as many starts – ran in the Hopeful or not.

“After his last race, I said I was running in the Hopeful, I didn’t care who showed up,” Dutrow said. “Still don’t.”

It speaks to the depth of Asmussen’s 2-year-old class when he can win the Saratoga Special one day and the next work a different horse that has a big shot in the Grade 1 Hopeful.

So it was Tuesday morning, when Asmussen worked Wine Police in company with the 2-year-old filly Abide. Wine Police and Abide worked basically on even terms throughout, going in splits of 12.78 seconds, 25, and 37.02, meaning they came home in a respectable 24.63.

“I thought they went really nicely,” Asmussen said. “They’ll go back over there next week and do a little bit more serious.”

As far Kantharos, Asmussen said the colt came out of his victory in the Special in excellent shape. With limited dirt options available, Kantharos is likely to make his next start in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 9.

“How does he look this morning?” Asmussen said, repeating a question. “He looks 3 for 3.”

Kantharos, who won the Grade 3 Bashford Manor by 9 1/2 lengths on July 3, earned a 90 Beyer for the Special win.

No plans for Tahitian Warrior

The connections of Tahitian Warrior will be weighing options for the 3-year-old gelding after he won a second-level allowance race by 2 1/4-lengths here Monday, earning a 101 Beyer in the process.

It was the second straight victory for Tahitian Warrior and third from five starts overall. His only loss on dirt came to the graded stakes winner Trappe Shot.

Following a 7 3/4-length allowance win at Belmont on July 10, it would have been no surprise had Tahitian Warrior been pointed to the Grade 1 King’s Bishop here Aug. 28. But Saeed bin Suroor, the trainer for Godolphin Stable, said he wanted one more race into the gelding before tackling stakes company.

Unfortunately, Monday’s race is too close tot the King’s Bishop, so he will not run there. Also, the New York Racing Association did away with the Jerome, a race restricted to 3-year-olds run at the Belmont fall meet. The Kelso, for 3-year-olds and up, is now on the dirt but won’t be run until Oct. 2.

“The Jerome would have been the perfect race,” said Rick Mettee, assistant trainer for Godolphin. “He’ll be nominated to the Pennsylvania Derby and the Super Derby, though he’s never run around two turns. We’ll probably try to find another spot.”

Mettee noted that Tahitian Warrior had the “perfect setup” sitting third behind dueling leaders in Monday’s race.

Steeplechase race fails to fill

The $70,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes failed to fill with enough entries to be carded, so there will not be a steeplechase on Thursday’s card. There will still be 10 races, all run on the flats.

Bill Gallo, the director of racing for the National Steeplechase Association, said he had hoped that a majority of the horses that ran in the first steeplechase race of the meet on July 29 would run back on Thursday, but “we had a bit of bad luck and some of them could not come back,” he said.

Gallo said next week’s Grade 1 National Turf Writer’s Cup drew 14 nominations and will have no trouble filling.

◗ I Want Revenge, preparing for a start in Saturday’s Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park, worked four furlongs in 47.95 seconds Tuesday morning under exercise rider Mario Madrid.

◗ D’ Funnybone, who is being pointed to the Grade 1 King’s Bishop here, worked five furlongs in 1:03.09 under jockey Edgar Prado.