12/01/2012 12:13PM

Finger Lakes: Mahubo switches to dirt in first start for new barn

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Less than six months ago, the South African import Mahubo was good enough to finish within 2 1/2 lengths of Data Link in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup and missed third by only a neck. That race, like all but two of Mahubo’s 25 career starts, came on turf.

Mahubo’s only previous race on dirt came in February 2011 at Jebel Ali Racecourse in Dubai, where he finished 13th of 15 in a six-furlong sprint.

In the waning days of the 2012 season at Finger Lakes, Mahubo will get another chance to show he can handle dirt.

The 6-year-old Mahubo is scheduled to make his first start since he was privately acquired by owner-trainer Joseph Raposa in Tuesday’s featured eighth race at Finger Lakes, a $25,000 no-conditions allowance at 1 1/16 miles. He was previously trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. After Tuesday’s card, just three days of live racing remain in the Finger Lakes season.

Although Mahubo has limited experience racing on dirt, he has regularly trained on the surface and appeared to handle the local track well in his last published workout on Oct. 27, breezing a half-mile over a track rated good in 48.60 seconds, the third best of 26 works at the distance that morning.

As the winner of an overnight stakes on turf at Aqueduct in April, Mahubo must carry 124 pounds as the co-highweight with Futurazo and Motion to Appeal. Still, that impost is light compared with the 134 pounds he carried in his dirt race in Dubai.

Turnpike Token, coming back quickly after he was beaten as the 4-5 favorite in a six-furlong sprint on Thursday, and Futurazo, who ran well against similar competition locally last November, are two logical contenders.

M. Anthony Ferraro, the owner-trainer of Turnpike Token, shows a 4-for-9 record (44 percent) with a $3.82 return on investment with horses back in less than seven days switching from sprints to routes.

The 6-year-old Futurazo will be making his first start in nearly two months. His trainer, Michael Lecesse, is 8 for 19 (32 percent) with allowance horses returning in a route after a break of 31 to 60 days.

Last fall, Futurazo closed out a 10-race campaign that produced four victories by finishing second in a no-condtions allowance at a mile and 70 yards.

The eight-horse field also includes Bullnose Brick, who steps up in class following a three-length win in a $5,000 starter allowance two weeks ago.