10/28/2005 11:00PM

Dutrow takes two on biggest day


Twenty years ago, Mark Reid, a trainer on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, asked his colleague Richard Dutrow Sr. about his son, Richard Dutrow Jr. At the time, the elder Dutrow was a very successful trainer in Maryland and his son was a loose cannon.

"He said, 'Mark, he makes me feel like he's a college professor and I'm a kindergarten student,' " said Reid, now a successful bloodstock agent. "He said, 'He is the most intuitive horseman I've ever been around,' and that was high praise, because his father didn't give any praise. He's one of the best natural horsemen I ever met."

Dutrow, 46, displayed those traits on Thoroughbred racing's biggest stage Saturday as he won two races on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships card, capped by the $4,680,000 million Classic with Saint Liam. It was Reid who steered Saint Liam to Dutrow when owner William Warren was looking to make a change two years ago.

Dutrow also won the $1,060,000 million Breeders' Cup Sprint with Silver Train, who upset the previously undefeated Lost in the Fog.

To get Saint Liam to the Breeders' Cup Classic, Dutrow came up with a controversial plan earlier in the summer. After Saint Liam was beaten a neck in the Whitney by Commentator, Dutrow said he would use a rabbit against Commentator when the two met again in the Woodward. Dutrow used two rabbits to soften up Commentator, and Saint Liam had an easy time winning the Woodward.

Dutrow skipped the Jockey Club Gold Cup with Saint Liam in order to have a fresh horse for the Classic. The plan worked to perfection.

"It's all about the horse," said Dutrow, a usually brash trainer who was moved to tears after the Classic. "He responded. I could do all that stuff - if I didn't have the horse, it didn't matter what I did."

The Breeders' Cup success capped a roller-coaster year for Dutrow, who served a 60-day suspension in June and July for two medication positives dating back two years. Still, he is in the top 10 in earnings of trainers with more than $8 million.

"It's funny, you hear all these stories about he's doing this, he's doing that," said Reid, referring to accusations that Dutrow cheats. "You go in the barn, his horses look better than anybody's, they're standing on deeper bedding than anybody, they're getting better feed than anybody - he's second to none in care. He's a phenomenal natural horseman."

Asked if what Dutrow did Saturday makes him worthy of consideration for an Eclipse Award, Reid said: "With two horses that weren't doing a whole lot before he got them, to win two Breeders' Cup races with them, I think it's one of the standout performances recently."