02/09/2009 12:00AM

Driven by Success back in a big way


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - At this time last year, trainer Bruce Levine was getting excited about a New York-bred sprinter who had just returned from a layoff with a solid victory that set him up for his graded stakes debut.

While Bustin Stones would go on to win the Grade 2 General George and Grade 1 Carter, his career was cut short by injury that eventually forced his retirement.

A year later, Levine has reason to be excited about another 4-year-old New York-bred sprinter who on Saturday returned from a long layoff with a convincing victory that earned him a shot in a graded stakes.

Driven by Success, away from the races since August, won a statebred second-level allowance race by 3 1/4 lengths. He ran six furlongs in 1:09.30 and earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure. He earned a 107 Beyer winning an allowance race last August at Saratoga, before being sidelined with a splint bone injury.

The win, the third straight for Driven by Success, earned the gelded son of Precise End a shot in the Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan here on March 7.

The comparison to Bustin Stones was inevitable and, to Levine, warranted.

"Yes, no doubt in my mind," Levine said when asked if Driven by Success is as good as Bustin Stones.

While Levine compares the two talent-wise, he said the horses are totally different physically. He said Driven by Success is a big, strong, tall horse while Bustin Stones was a blocky type of colt.

Levine took over the training of Driven by Success last March, after the horse had a third and two seconds in three starts for trainer Michael Miceli. Levine said a splint bone injury forced him to give the gelding ample time off. Driven by Success, owned by Vitaminwater founder Michael Repole, returned to the races on Aug. 6, winning a statebred maiden race by 4 1/2 lengths.

He came back on Aug. 25 with a 15o3/4-length allowance win that had Levine thinking about the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen next month. Levine had Driven by Success entered in a race at Belmont in September, but had to scratch when the horse suffered a splint bone injury in his other foreleg.

As for Saturday's race, Levine was very pleased with what he saw and also glad that January Gent made Driven by Success work a little bit.

"He had to get after him a little bit," Levine said of jockey Ramon Dominguez. "At the eighth pole he hit him once or twice and he took off and he finished what I thought was very strong. To go out and just cruise around there I don't think would have helped him."

Levine says if all goes well in the Toboggan, he would point Driven by Success to the Grade 1 Carter on April 4.

Parisella puts burnout behind him

It may be one of the harshest winters around here in a few years, but trainer John Parisella has been immune to the elements.

"This winter's very bad, but when you're winning, your state of mind [changes]," Parisella said. "I haven't had one day that's bothered me."

Parisella has been winning here this winter like he hasn't done for quite some time. He won Sunday's third race with Social Quest, his eighth win from 32 starters this meet, The eights wins have him tied for 11th in the trainer standings and his win rate of 25 percent is third-best among trainers with at least 25 starters.

Moreover, Parisella has done it with a relatively small stable of about a dozen claiming horses, all for Max and Saul Kupferberg.

"Maybe I'm coming off of burnout," said Parisella, 64, who has been training horses since 1971. "The desire's back, I'm having so much fun. For the Kupferberg's it's a good thing, they're one of the best owners in the game."

Though he's dealing with mostly claimers now, Parisella said he will be getting 2-year-olds to train later this year. He has picked up a new client in Morris Bailey, a Maryland-based owner. Also, Parisella will be attending several of the upcoming 2-year-old-in-training sales hoping to buy a few for the Kupferberg's.

"It's the first time in awhile I'm going to have a stable with bulk," said Parisella, who in 1996 won a then record 40 races at one Turfway Park meet. That record has since been broken by Bernie Flint (44).

Ramon Dominguez has gone 6 for 11 during the inner track meet for Parisella. Parisella said he first began using Dominguez in the mid-1990s when he was forced to go to Delaware Park after then NYRA president Kenny Noe Jr. asked him to leave New York.

"He just started there riding for [Frank] Passero and walking around with a bible," Parisella said of Dominguez. "We have a great relationship. In the paddock, we don't have much to talk about. He knows what I want, it's worked out really well, and he's a class kid."

Dominguez ties NYRA mark

Speaking of Dominguez, the 32-old rider tied a New York Racing Association record by winning with six consecutive mounts over the weekend. Dominguez won with his final five rides on Saturday and then took the opener on Sunday.

The streak was broken when his mount, Bentnotbroken, finished third in the second race Sunday. Dominguez would go on to win three races on Sunday, and finish a four-day period in which he won with 13 of 26 mounts.

In winning with six consecutive mounts, Dominguez tied a mark first established by Jorge Velasquez, who went 6 for 6 at Belmont on July 9, 1981. Steve Cauthen (Dec. 10-11, 1976) and Jeffrey Fell (June 18-19, 1980) each won six in a row over two days while Jerry Bailey won six in a row over a three-day period in September 2005. Stewart Elliott was the most recent rider to win aboard six consecutive mounts here in January 2008.