12/03/2009 12:00AM

Cuff Me tunes up before heading south


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The good news for trainers of soon-to-be 3-year-old filly sprinters in New York is that Cuff Me will be spending the winter in south Florida. The bad news is that she still has one more start to make here as a 2-year-old before leaving town.

Cuff Me, a New York-bred daughter of Officer who has won her first two starts by a combined 19 1/2 lengths, figures to be an overwhelming favorite against four rivals in Friday's $65,000 The Silent Turn Stakes at Aqueduct. The race goes as the third of the day.

Trainer Tony Dutrow said he knew before he ever received Cuff Me in his stable that she was a good one. Brett Brinkman, who breaks horses for Dutrow as well as the prominent owner William Heiligbrodt, called Dutrow one morning to tell him he had "a really, really special filly,'' Dutrow recalled.

"I've sent horses to Brett in the past. I knew when he told me that I was in action,'' said Dutrow.

Cuff Me debuted at Belmont on June 11 and after pressing a solid pace, she drew off to win by 6 1/4 lengths under Ramon Dominguez. Shortly thereafter Cuff Me got sick, costing her the summer, which was not an entirely bad thing, according to Dutrow.

"It was unfortunate, but I was happy with it because I got something real nice on my hands, let her mature, let her grow up, and leave her alone for two months,'' Dutrow said.

Cuff Me returned to the races on Oct. 16, winning a first-level allowance for New York-breds by 13 1/4 lengths and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

"She was as awesome as I could have wanted her to be,'' Dutrow said.

Dutrow penciled the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 9 for Cuff Me's first objective next year and he was torn on whether to run her one more time or not before then.

"This race went, she's good, I'm going to run her,'' Dutrow said. "If the race didn't fill, that would have been fine too.''

If Cuff Me doesn't fire, the horse with the best chance to take advantage looks to be Simply Spiteful, who won a maiden race by 7 3/4 lengths at Delaware on Sept. 28, before finishing third in an overnight stakes at Belmont on Oct. 25.