01/07/2011 3:45PM

Close to the Vest tries for two in a row for new trainer


OZONE PARK, N.Y._–When John Parisella decided to take a three-month hiatus from training, his assistant, William Younghans, was basically out of a job. Having had some previous experience training horses himself, Younghans opted to try and go back out on his own again.

His three children – sons Jack and William and daughter Kristine – lent him some money to claim a horse and Younghans went shopping. On Nov. 6, he claimed Close to the Vest for $10,000 from David Jacobson. Close to the Vest won by 6 1/4 lengths, running six furlongs in 1:09.93 while finishing in hand at the wire.

Younghans, 55, ran Close to the Vest back six weeks later in a second-level allowance race and the Proud Citizen gelding won in gate-to-wire fashion under apprentice Brian Pedroza, returning $20.20, and giving Younghans his first winner since Mighty Gulch won at Aqueduct on April 2, 2008.

Sunday, Younghans brings Close to the Vest back in a similar second-level optional $50,000 claiming race, though this one seems significantly tougher because it’s loaded with more early speed.

“I liked the horse because he had a little back class and Jacobson puts them in a lot of times where they can win,’’ Younghans said.

Younghans did admit that he got a little lucky the day he ran Close to the Vest because the other speed horse in the race scratched, leaving him loose on the lead. Sunday, there appears to be some other speed types in this spot, including Hewitts, who makes his New York debut after being claimed for $32,000 by Roddy Valente in Southern California last out. He will be ridden by Chuck Lopez, among the best front-end riders in the room. Another horse that figures to be prominent early is Have You Ever, who won this condition at Belmont in a very swift 1:09.08 on May 2 but has not been out since May 12 for Jacobson.

A hot pace could set things up nicely for Laysh Laysh Laysh, a consistent 6-year-old ridgling who is a two-time winner over the inner track and two starts back won a high-priced optional claiming race at Belmont from off the pace. Last out, he was third behind next-out stakes winner Temecula Creek.

Winning Touch, trained by Chad Brown, is 2 for 3 with a first-level allowance win over the inner track on Dec. 4.

Vicious Rapids, who has won two in a row at Finger Lakes, completes the field.