06/08/2010 11:00PM

Lightly raced Mootoo returns


Mootoo could be tough to handle when he makes his first start of the year in a first-level allowance race for older horses going six furlongs Friday at Northlands Park.

The 5-year-old Mootoo has started only four times in his career and hasn't finished worse than second. Last May, Mootoo ran a big race when he debuted at this level. Despite breaking in the air at the start and going very wide on the first turn, Mootoo finished second to Diamond Doc, a horse who came back to win a stakes. Mootoo won his maiden as the odds-on favorite in a first-level allowance in his second start and was turned out for the year after finishing second to Bronze Barbarian last July.

Trainer Ron Grieves said he is expecting a strong effort Friday.

"He is a pretty nice horse and I expect him to compete for the win," said Grieves. "I gave him plenty of time off after he had a minor injury to one of his legs. Everything seems good now."

Mootoo was named after Robert Mootoo, who has been an exercise rider for Grieves and has helped break many of Grieves's young horses.

On paper, the horse who figures to round out the exacta is Gatwick, who is making his first start at Northlands for trainer Rick Wise. Based at Hastings last year, he compiled a 1-2-3 record from 9 starts.