11/23/2010 1:00PM

Dwoskin enjoys a lighter burden


MIAMI – Steve Dwoskin accomplished a lifelong goal during the 2010 Calder meet – winning his first ever trainer’s title to go along with yet another owner’s championship. He did it with an assortment of claiming horses and a few allowance types mixed in.

But one of the last of Dwoskin’s 27 training victories at the Calder session came with a promising young 2-year-old named High Level Jeff, who dominated a field of maiden special weight rivals on Oct. 10. His performance earned him an 89 Beyer Speed Figure, along with the attention of horsemen and bloodstock agents from around the country.

Dwoskin ultimately sold a half-interest in High Level Jeff to owner Paul Reddam for an undisclosed sum shortly after his maiden win and another 25 percent of the son of Vindication to Reddam following a similarly well graded allowance victory over a sloppy racetrack here on Oct. 28. The second transaction also resulted in High Level Jeff being transferred from Dwoskin to Reddam’s principal trainer, Doug O’Neill, at Hollywood Park.

So when High Level Jeff made his stakes debut this past Saturday in the Grade 3 Prevue at Hollwood Park, Dwoskin was no longer the trainer of record for the horse but merely a 25 percent partner and a spectator enjoying a pleasant afternoon at the races with his girlfriend.

Dwoskin said not having control of the colt is not necessarily a bad thing.

“I decided to sell a controlling interest in the horse to take the pressure off me,” Dwoskin said. “I have enough stress in my life as it is. I just didn’t need the added aggravation that goes along with training a good, young horse like this when everybody, including yourself, is second guessing every move you make. The bottom line is that I still own a share and I know that he is in very good hands.”

High Level Jeff is not the first talented 2-year-old Dwoskin has sold to Reddam. Six years earlier, Reddam and a partner Pablo Suarez purchased a filly named Sharp Lisa from Dwoskin following an impressive debut performance at Calder. The daughter of Dixieland Band became a Grade 1 winner with O’Neill, ran in two Breeders’ Cups, and sold for $3.4 million as a broodmare prospect at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale.

Dwoskin said that had he kept High Level Jeff, his plans were to run him in another allowance race at Calder before pointing him to Gulfstream Park’s series of 3-year-old preps leading up to the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Now that he is on the West Coast, High Level Jeff was being pointed to the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood next month, a race sponsored by Reddam himself.

But High Level Jeff’s West Coast debut was less than a success, as he finished fifth of sixth on Saturday in the Prevue. High Level Jeff was farther off the pace than he had been in his first two races, and ended up 5 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Premier Pegasus.

That effort leaves plans for High Level Jeff’s next race up in the air, Dwoskin said.

“Doug said he was going to scope the horse after the race, and at this point I’m not sure what their plans are for him next,” he said.

Hat tricks all around

A couple of Dwoskin’s colleagues posted training hat tricks this past week. On Sunday, Marcus Vitale sent out three winners from as many starters with all three horses ridden to victory by jockey Orlando Bocachica. The following afternoon, David Braddy duplicated the feat, with all three of his tallies coming in races that were taken off the turf and moved to the main track due to rain.

Braddy’s big day put him in the lead in the trainer standings with nine victories, one more than David Fawkes and Chris Gatis, with Vitale in a pack of three looming just two wins off the top.

Manny Cruz posted a pair of hat tricks himself last week to jump back in the thick of the battle for leading rider honors for the Tropical at Calder session. Cruz was tied for second in the standings along with apprentice John Delgado with 22 victories apiece heading into Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day card, two behind leader Daniel Centeno.

Lopez back with eye on Gulf

Paco Lopez has returned to south Florida after a big summer in New Jersey and will begin riding here on a regular basis on Thanksgiving Day. Lopez captured the 2010 Gulfstream Park jockey championship and followed that up by winning both the Monmouth and recently completed Meadowlands at Monmouth riding titles. Lopez is named on three mounts Thursday, including key contender Aldomear for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. in the co-featured ninth race.