06/09/2009 11:00PM

Dutrow aims high with Seattle Smooth

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Seattle Smooth, winning the Grade 2 Shuvee last month, will take on Music Note in Saturday's Grade 1 Phipps.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Tony Dutrow could have taken the easy way out. More impressed with Seattle Smooth when she races around two turns than one, Dutrow could have shipped the 4-year-old filly to Churchill Downs for Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap.

But Dutrow believes Seattle Smooth is deserving of the opportunity to win a Grade 1, which is why she will remain in New York for Saturday's $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park. Seattle Smooth will take on a three-ply entry from Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, whose Godolphin Racing has entered Music Note and Seventh Street while Sea Chanter is entered under Sheikh Mohammed's Darley banner. The three will be coupled as one betting interest. With only five betting interests - and the likelihood of scratches - the Phipps, run at 1 1/16 miles around one turn, is scheduled as the fourth on a 10-race card.

"We could've run for cover, we could've found two-turn races that had good money," Dutrow said Wednesday. "We wanted an opportunity at a Grade 1; this is the only game in town. That's what we're committed to. We're sticking to our commitment."

Seattle Smooth last raced in a Grade 1 in the 2008 Santa Anita Oaks, where she finished fifth in a six-horse field. That race was over Santa Anita's synthetic surface, which Seattle Smooth didn't seem to handle. Since then, Seattle Smooth has gone 5 for 6 on dirt, her only loss coming over a sloppy Pimlico surface in last year's Black-Eyed Susan.

Seattle Smooth has won her last four starts - all on dirt and all since being transferred to Dutrow. This year, she won the Bed o' Roses Handicap at Aqueduct in April before overcoming traffic trouble to win the Grade 2 Shuvee here on May 16. Seattle Smooth had a lot more trouble winning the Shuvee than her 1-5 odds suggested she would.

"The concern I came away from the race with was does she like Big Sandy like she likes the other surfaces she's raced on?" Dutrow said. Dutrow added that jockey Ramon Dominguez told him Seattle Smooth "acted like when she was down on the inside she was working, but when he got her out she seemed good."

Seattle Smooth will break from post 2 in the Phipps. The Phipps marks the return to the races for Music Note, who won three Grade 1 races her last year, but who has not run since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic last October. Her stablemate Seventh Street comes off a win in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in April. Sea Chanter, who is not definite to run, was third to Seattle Smooth in the Shuvee.

Completing the field are Color Me Up, who was second in the Shuvee, My Dinah, and Nicksappealinglady.

Clement pair on comeback trail

As the trainer of Gio Ponti, Christophe Clement already has one of the top turf horses in training. Clement also has another top older turf male in Winchester, who returned to the work tab Monday with a half-mile breeze in 50.29 seconds.

Winchester, a 4-year-old son of Theatrical, won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths last summer at Arlington. In two subsequent starts, he finished seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf and sixth in the Hollywood Turf Cup. Trained by Dermot Weld last year, Winchester was turned over to Clement after the Turf Cup.

"We had him this winter at Payson Park - he had a few issues - but he's been training well lately and he should be able to run sometime in July," Clement said. "We have no agenda; we'll go by the horse. I would have loved to have had him ready for June and then come back in the Man o' War, but the timing didn't work out."

Clement is also trying to get the Grade 1-winning sprinter In Summation ready for a summer campaign. Away since finishing fifth in the Sunshine Millions Sprint in January, In Summation breezed four furlongs in 49.43 seconds Monday, his third breeze this spring. Clement said he is trying to get In Summation ready for the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar on Aug. 8. In Summation won the Bing Crosby in 2007 and finished second in it last year.

Castellano takes Coa's agent

Jockey Javier Castellano on Wednesday parted ways with Mike Kelly, his agent of 6 1/2 years, and retained the services of Matt Muzikar, who quit as the agent for Eibar Coa.

From 2003-08, with Kelly as his agent, Castellano averaged 182 wins and his mounts averaged $12,027,349 in purse money. Castellano won major races such as the Breeders' Cup Classic and Metropolitan Handicap with Ghostzapper, the Preakness with Bernardini, the Dubai Golden Shaheen with Saratoga County, and the Wood Memorial with Bellamy Road.

This year, however, Castellano missed a month due to injury and has had a hard time regaining his business, though he did win the Grade 1 Acorn last Saturday on longshot Gabby's Golden Gal.

"It was very slow after the injury, nothing I can blame Mike for at all," said Castellano, who added he was hopeful that Muzikar could get him in barns he hasn't ridden in before. "Mike's a classy guy and we had a lot of success together."

Muzikar and Coa split briefly in April, but quickly reconciled. Coa did not immediately name a new agent.

$96 ticket grosses $969,345

The lone winning ticket on Saturday's pick six was purchased by a Youbet.com customer, who constructed a $96 ticket that resulted in a return of $969,345.

The winning formula was a 1x2x2x2x3x2 sequence that began with a single of Fabulous Strike ($3.80) in the True North. The bettor went two deep in the Just a Game with the winner Diamondrella ($21.20) and Raw Silk. The ticket went two deep in the Woody Stephens with Munnings ($9) and Hull; two deep in the Acorn with Gabby's Golden Gal ($28.40) and Livin Lovin; used three horses in the Manhattan, Gio Ponti ($9.20), Cosmonaut, and Wesley; and went two deep in the Belmont with Summer Bird ($25.80) and Charitable Man.