02/18/2012 1:30PM

Laurel: Dutrow hopes to spoil comeback of Toby's Corner in General George

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. thinks Yawanna Twist has a big shot in Monday's General George Handicap at Laurel Park.

The headlines entering Monday’s Grade 2, $200,000 General George Handicap at Laurel Park focus on the return of Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner to the races after a 10-month layoff. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. hopes to put a different twist on the story when the seven-furlong dirt race is over.

Dutrow, who grew up in Maryland and worked for his father, the highly-respected Richard Dutrow Sr., hopes to spoil Toby’s Corner’s return with either of his uncoupled runners, Yawanna Twist or This Ones for Phil.

Though This Ones for Phil has won his last two starts – including a high-priced claimer at Aqueduct on Friday – Dutrow is bullish on Yawanna Twist. A New York-bred son of Yonaguska, Yawanna Twist came off a seven-month layoff to win a second-level allowance race by 6 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct on Dec. 31.

Dutrow called Yawanna Twist’s performance “his most powerful race I’ve seen him run.” Yawanna Twist has finished second or third in a trio of graded stakes and that doesn’t include his fourth-place finish – beaten only 1 3/4 lengths – in the 2010 Preakness Stakes.

Yawanna Twist’s only bad race came in last year’s Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, where he finished 10th of 11. Dutrow said he simply gave the horse time off after that race and Yawanna Twist responded with a huge effort on Dec. 31.

Yawanna Twist has breezed five times since that race, including a three-furlong blowout in 35.38 seconds Saturday morning at Aqueduct.

“Yawanna Twist has been on his game for quite a while,” Dutrow said. “I feel very good about him. He’s doing really good. I don’t know what his best distance is, but I know he can do this.”

Mike Luzzi rides Yawanna Twist form post 5.

This Ones for Phil won a $100,000 claiming race on Friday, running six furlongs in 1:09.79 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 98. Dutrow said he went out to eat at a local restaurant after that race before coming back to check on This Ones for Phil.

“He ate better than I did,’’ Dutrow said.

Toby’s Corner came up lame behind following his final workout prior to the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Trainer Graham Motion said he was never able to fully diagnose the exact injury, but after a couple of starts and stops, Motion pulled the plug on getting him back to the races.

Motion selected the General George for the colt’s return in part because Toby’s Corner is 2 for 2 in one-turn races at Laurel.

“For him to come back and have a chance in a Grade 2 he’s trained well,” Motion said. “It just seems like a logical thing to do. I don’t have a huge amount of options.”

As the lone Grade 1 winner in the field, Toby’s Corner is the 121-pound highweight under Eddie Castro. He is spotting the field four to 10 pounds.

Caixa Eletronica finished third to stablemate Calibrachoa in the Grade 3 Toboggan at Aqueduct on Feb. 4. He got jostled while between horses down the backside but showed late interest and got beat three lengths. He is competing at his optimum seven-furlong distance for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Eighttofasttocatch heads the locally based contingent. The 6-year-old Eighttofasttocatch won the Jennings Handicap on Dec. 3 before scratching out of the Evening Attire at Aqueduct on Jan .28 when that race was moved back a week due to a weather-related cancellation.

“Missing that race I don’t think is a big deal,’’ trainer Tim Keefe said. “I think he’s at his best right now. We’ll see what happens.”

My Cuz C J and Fordangshore complete the field.

The General George will go as race 9 on a 10-race card that begins at 12:35 p.m. Eastern.