04/04/2016 10:38AM

Dickinson's comeback begins with a winner

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Tide Is High was trainer Michael Dickinson's (third from left) first starter in more than eight years.

Michael Dickinson won with his first starter in more than eight years on Saturday, when he sent out Tide Is High to take a first-level allowance race on turf at Laurel Park.

Dickinson retired from training after the 2007 season to concentrate on his synthetic racing surface enterprise, Tapeta Footings. But with his wife, Joan Wakefield, now overseeing that business, Dickinson felt he had unfinished business as a trainer and last summer announced he would restart his stable.

Dickinson trains off his 250-acre Tapeta Farm in North East, Md. He has invested heavily in new technology and has built a performance center that houses a cold seawater equine spa and a salt room. A hyperbaric chamber is scheduled to be installed in the coming months. He has hired two full-time equine physiologists.

Although Dickinson won 587 races between 1989 and 2007, including major victories with Da Hoss, Tapit, Cetewayo, and A Huevo, he said he was never happy with his results, and his goal is to do better this time around. He hopes to fill his 40-stall barn at Tapeta Farm with high-level runners.

"I've really enjoyed my training again," Dickinson said. "I came back to train because I want to train and I enjoy it. I love training on the farm."

A noted perfectionist, Dickinson was not overly pleased with Tide Is High's front-running, two-length victory Saturday.

"I didn't train her very well," he said. "She used to run off a little bit last year, and I thought I had her relaxed, and I didn't. So, I'm not pleased. I'm not even a tiny little bit pleased. I might be relieved that at least we had a winner. But we've got to do much better than that."