09/16/2010 3:13PM

Dutrow liking what he's seeing with Rail Trip

Barbara D. Livingston
Rail Trip has yet to race on dirt.

ELMONT, N.Y. – “We’re ready now.”

Those were the words of trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. Thursday morning after Rail Trip worked six furlongs in 1:11.97 over Aqueduct’s main track in preparation for a start in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 2.

Dutrow had been hoping to make either the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga or the Gold Cup at Belmont with Rail Trip, who was transferred by owners Mace and Samantha Siegel to Dutrow following the gelding’s second-place finish in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July. The ultimate goal for Rail Trip is the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.

Rail Trip did not initially thrive at Saratoga, and suffered a foot problem following a morning training session that forced him to go 18 days between workouts. But Thursday’s move, done in company with Arson Squad, was his fourth work – third straight at six furlongs _ since resuming his regular training schedule.

Cornelio Velasquez was aboard Rail Trip, who worked outside of Arson Squad through fractions of 12.33 seconds, 24.29, 36.22, and 47.91. In the final 70 yards, Rail Trip edged away from Arson Squad, beating him by about a length. Arson Squad went six furlongs in 1:12.13.

“He worked good. He’s been working good the last couple of breezes now, so I think we’re okay,” Dutrow said.

Dutrow confirmed that Velasquez would ride Rail Trip in the Gold Cup against the likes of Blame, Afleet Express, Fly Down, and possibly Tranquil Manner.

Dutrow said he had to do some hind end work on Rail Trip and then had to wait a little bit for his right front foot to recover from a bruise.

“Right now he’s hitting on all cylinders,” Dutrow said. ``We’re very lucky to have him where he’s at right now. Couldn’t come at a better time.”

When based in Southern California with Ron Ellis, Rail Trip won 8 of 12 starts, including the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup and this year’s Mervyn LeRoy Handicap and Californian Stakes. Rail Trip has yet to race on dirt.

“He’s getting along pretty good with the dirt. We’re not afraid to run him on the dirt,” Dutrow said. “If he likes Belmont and keeps going the way he is now, I’m sure he’s going to run a big race.”

Dutrow said he doesn’t have an immediate plan for Arson Squad, who after winning the Skip Away and Alysheba Stakes earlier this year put in poor efforts in the Stephen Foster and Majestic Light Stakes.

“I haven’t figured anything out, I don’t see anything wrong with him,” Dutrow said.

Acting Happy works toward Gazelle

Also working for Dutrow on Thursday morning was Black-Eyed Susan winner Acting Happy, who went six furlongs in 1:13.42 under jockey Jose Lezcano. Acting Happy got her last quarter in 23.17 seconds.

Dutrow seems content on waiting for the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct on Nov. 27 for Acting Happy, who is expected to race next year.

“We don’t have to do anything we don’t want to do with her right now,” Dutrow said. “Right now the Gazelle is on top of the list. If some extra comes up and it’s a mile and a quarter or a mile and an eighth I’d do it, if it was good timing going into the Gazelle. I’m happy just sitting on her and giving her plenty of time to get over that last race.”

Acting Happy finished third in both the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama at Saratoga. Dutrow had been training Acting Happy in blinkers, but on Thursday she did not work with them.

“Right now I’m leaning toward running her with blinkers, but that could change,” Dutrow said.

Meriwether Jessica tries Noble Damsel

After Meriwether Jessica won the Yaddo Stakes against New York-breds last month at Saratoga, trainer Rick Violette said he may look to run her in an open company graded stakes next. That opportunity presents itself in Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Noble Damsel Stakes at a mile.

Meriwether Jessica, who has won her last three starts, will meet seven fillies and mares in the Noble Damsel, including Quiet Meadow, who was beaten a nose by Rutherienne in this race last year.

Meriwether Jessica, who has recorded 4 of her 7 lifetime wins at Belmont, will break from the outside post under Alan Garcia.


Fellow New York-bred Chestoria, who finished third to Meriwether Jessica in the Yaddo, was also entered as were Strike the Bell, C.S. Silk, Kristi With a K, Scolara, and Sweeter Still.