03/07/2013 12:24PM

Laurel Park: Dynamic Strike gets test in Private Terms Stakes

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Dynamic Strike won his stakes debut, the Miracle Wood, last month and aims for his fourth-straight victory in Saturday's Private Terms Stakes.

The man named Small sure has lived a big life in racing and beyond.

Richard “Dickie” Small, a lifelong horseman who was a Green Beret in his younger days, has been stricken in the last couple of years by an aggressive form of cancer. But that hasn’t stopped the 67-year-old from making his presence felt on his home Maryland circuit.

Small will be represented Saturday by Dynamic Strike, one of the top contenders in the $150,000 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.

“I’m still here kicking,” Small said with his familiar chuckle when speaking by phone Thursday from his Laurel barn. “The cancer isn’t going away, but the doctors say they’re keeping it from getting worse. I got a pretty good dose of some bad stuff, but the medicine is real, real strong. I have to rest when I finish training in the morning, which is new to me. It can be pretty debilitating, and at times, I feel real bad.

“But all in all, I’m actually doing fine. They say a horse that can run will keep anybody going, and they may be right. This colt I’ve got is a pretty nice one.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Small, a Baltimore native and resident, has a rich family history in racing and won his first stakes as a trainer in 1974. He has won major stakes in California, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, and throughout the Eastern Seaboard with horses such as Broad Brush, Concern, and Include. He also has schooled many young riders in the ways of the sport, and when Marylanders talk of accomplished horsemen who hail from their turf, Small is among the first mentioned.

“I’ve had a great time in the game,” he said.

Dynamic Strike, with Forest Boyce to ride, will start from post 7 among the 10 3-year-olds set for the 1 1/8-mile Private Terms, which goes as the 10th of 11 Laurel races. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern, with the feature going at 4:53.

Dynamic Strike, bred and owned by Fitzhugh LLC, has won three straight races since starting his career in October with a fifth-place finish. A well-bred son of Smart Strike, the colt already has defeated several of his Private Terms opponents, including Where’s Dominic and Lunar Rock when capturing the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel four weeks ago.

“He acts like he’s getting it figured out, and I’d be surprised if the mile and an eighth didn’t suit him just right,” Small said.

“A couple in there look a little salty,” he added, referring to Mr Palmer for Bill Mott and Where’s Dominic for Mike Trombetta. “This should be a good acid test for all of us.”

The Private Terms is named for the Maryland-based colt who won the 1988 Wood Memorial for the late Charlie Hadry before incurring his first defeat when finishing ninth behind Winning Colors in the Kentucky Derby.

The purse includes $50,000 from the Maryland-bred fund.