07/15/2007 11:00PM

Fabulous Strike, Astor Park bring attention to Penn National-based trainer


Trainer Todd Beattie has been winning at a very strong clip for years now, but it seems he is getting more attention since the start of last year, when he put up a 119-for-369 mark (32 percent) with purse earnings of more than $1.8 million. In 2007, he has won with 62 of his first 207 starters (29 percent) and has more than $1.3 million in the bank already. Since the start of last year, his runners have finished in the money at a rate of 63 percent.

Beattie, 44, has trained horses for more than 20 years from a base at Penn National, and winning races there doesn't always make headlines. Fabulous Strike, a rapid 4-year-old, has brought the spotlight to the Beattie barn. Fabulous Strike won 6 of 9 starts last year and 2 of 3 this year, including the Grade 3 Aristides Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. He faded from contention to finish fifth at Calder in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint in his last start on July 7, but his prior races resulted in such strong Beyer Speed Figures - four starts where he fell in the range of 115-119 - that he his considered one of the favorites for this year's Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"He had thumps - basically a version of heat stroke created by an electrolyte imbalance - on the track following his latest race and was in pretty rough shape in the extreme heat and humidity in Florida," said Beattie, who owns a barn at Penn National where he overseas a string of 72 horses. "He's bounced back, and I know he's a nice horse already, but I still believe that we haven't seen the best of him yet."

Beattie said that Fabulous Strike will likely make his next start in the Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park in early-August or perhaps in a $125,000 stakes at Mountaineer Park.

Beattie's other stable star is Astor Park, a 3-year-old daughter of Ecton Park who races for Beattie's sister and brother-in-law and has won the first three starts of her career.

"They are pinhookers in Ocala, Florida," Beattie said of the owners. "But, Astor Park didn't sell as a 2-year-old and we raced her. We have always thought that she was a pretty nice horse and she is now starting to show that. We might try her in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga and that will be a big step for her, but we think a lot of her and I believe the seven-furlong distance and timing in between starts will suit her well."

Astor Park last raced June 30 and the Test is scheduled for Aug. 4.

Beattie's numbers suggest he's done his best work in sprints (33 percent versus 24 percent in routes) and with horses that can rumble early.

"I think that's simply a product of the horses we have bought," Beattie said. "I think my eye is suited to speedball types and horses with that type of body. I think it's something that has worked for us, so why change it? Fast, young horses seem to fit our program. I think our numbers at a route of ground will pick up, however, as we have now been able to spend some more money on young horses and might find ourselves with some horses with the pedigree to stretch out. One thing is for sure: We'll stick with young horses and developing them. I start my own product - buy young horses, break them, and run them. My success has not been at the claim box, and I claim very little."

As far as a career highlight, Beattie takes pride in his body of work.

"Last year, I won my 1,000th race and that was a pretty big mark to get for me," he said. "Going forward, I'm looking for the big horse and that's when I'll be happy. I want to win a Breeders' Cup or Triple Crown race and until I get that, I'm not going to be happy. And, I think we can get there because we have been able to go after better horses now."