07/31/2012 2:58PM

Del Mar: Bruce's Dream returns after long layoff

Benoit & Associates
Bruce's Dream will make his first start in more than 20 months on Thursday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – It has taken more than 20 months to get Bruce’s Dream back to the races, and though trainer Mike Puype believes he may come up short in Thursday’s featured seventh race at Del Mar, Bruce’s Dream has a history of running well fresh, so he could prove a threat in the one-mile grass race, despite the extended layoff.

Bruce’s Dream, 6, won his debut in October 2008, scored off a nine-month layoff the following July, and won off a nearly nine-month vacation in June 2010. He has an abbreviated work tab coming into Thursday’s race, which concerns Puype, but Bruce’s Dream owns three wins in four starts over this grass course.

“I was kind of between a rock and a hard place,” Puype said Tuesday morning at Del Mar. “He only has one six-furlong work. But I don’t know when the next race like this will come up. I didn’t want to run him in a stake, and I didn’t want to run him short. The conditions of this race are perfect. In a perfect world, I wish he had a couple more works. But I think it’s best to go here and give him a go. But he could get a little tired.”

Bruce’s Dream, a gelding, scored his biggest victory in the California Cup Mile at the Oak Tree meeting held at Hollywood Park in October 2010. In his next start, the Grade 2 Citation Handicap, he finished sixth – the only time in his life he has finished out of the money – and came out of the race with an ankle chip that required surgery.

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“We brought him back, and he was working at Santa Anita, coming along well, but one day he threw a shoe and his leg got all wrenched up, so we had to wait for that,” Puype said.

The race’s purse is $78,000, but because Bruce’s Dream is a Cal-bred, he runs for an extra $23,400 through the California Breeders’ and Owners’ Incentive Fund.

To get the major share of that money, though, Bruce’s Dream will have to defeat Key Decision, who is being wheeled back eight days after a close third-place finish behind Suggestive Boy in the Wickerr.

Only three others were entered in the race, an optional claimer in which every horse is utilizing allowance conditions.

Obviously is in the sharpest form, but this will be his first try in this country beyond six furlongs. He was second in the Kerlan last time out July 1 at Betfair Hollywood Park. Obviously did win going seven furlongs against maidens in Cork in his native Ireland last year.

Racing Aptitude also is trying two turns, and turf, after finishing fourth at Hollywood Park in a main-track sprint May 24.

Thirtyfirststreet, well beaten in his last five races, is making his first start since being moved within the past month to trainer Pete Eurton.