01/20/2015 1:06PM

Mid-Atlantic notes: Lucy's Bob Boy back to nearly 100 percent

Coady Photography
Lucy's Bob Boy could make his next start at Charles Town, where he's won 21 of 28 starts.

In the last two weeks, Lucy’s Bob Boy has been scheduled to start twice. One race was canceled due to inclement weather, and he missed the other because of his strong dislike of traveling by van.

The Jan. 7 Blue Ridge Handicap at Charles Town looked to be a perfect spot for Lucy’s Bob Boy, a winner of 21 of 28 starts at the West Virginia track, and he was made the 2-5 morning-line choice. Unfortunately, the card was scrapped due to wind-chill concerns.

Trainer Sandra Dono entered him back in a fourth-level optional-claiming race last Friday at Laurel Park, but she had to scratch him after he refused to get on the van.

“He is very tough to load, and we couldn’t get him on the van safely,” Dono said. “When we have sent him out of town for stakes in the past, we have had to sedate him before the trip and send him in a few days early. We didn’t have time to do that for this race.”

Dono is more than happy to tolerate Lucy’s Bob Boy’s quirks as he has earned $875,000 – practically all of it at Charles Town – since his 2011 debut. Dono also is pleased with the physical condition of Lucy’s Bob Boy, who has raced with hoof problems the past two years.

Lucy’s Bob Boy’s foot issues have not kept him on the sidelines – he started 10 times in both 2013 and 2014 while winning 12 races – but it is possible he might be sitting on his best season yet at age 6.

The problems with Lucy’s Bob Boy’s feet date back to December 2012, when he won a Charles Town allowance race by 17 lengths and broke a 36-year-old track record by covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.44.

“He abscessed the morning after the race and he lost like a third of his foot,” Dono said. “We’ve been working on his feet ever since, and they are now the best they have been in years. His feet are 99 percent now.”

Dono, 57, is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. She trained racehorses while in her 20s, but then “went back to show horses at an equestrian center on Staten Island.” She began training again in 2007 and now owns a 10-acre farm near Charles Town that has an indoor run which allows her to train regardless of the weather.

Possible next starts for Lucy’s Bob Boy include a statebred no-conditions allowance race at Charles Town at the end of the month and the rescheduled Blue Ridge Handicap on Feb. 14.

Last April, Lucy’s Bob Boy took on the likes of Imperative, Game On Dude, and Moreno in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. Although he tired badly and was eased, the Classic is something that will be discussed again this year.

“It will really be up to the horse and how he’s doing,” Dono said. “One thing for sure is that his feet are a lot better than they were last spring.”

Laurel: Thorpe rides first winner as pro

Darius Thorpe rode his first winner as a professional last Friday at Laurel Park, when he guided Rainbowappears to a $37.60 upset.

Thorpe, 19, is the son of Avon Thorpe, King Leatherbury’s longtime assistant. Leatherbury owns and trains Rainbowappears.

“He knows how to handle a horse but he needs experience,” Leatherbury said. “He’s still learning, and I expect him to do well.”

Thorpe, who rides with a 10-pound weight allowance, won an amateur riders’ race in 2014 and began his professional career last fall.

Charles Town to show races in HD

Charles Town has partnered with TVG and soon will begin showing its races in high definition on the network.

“It’s an exciting development for Charles Town to partner with TVG and broaden the distribution of our high-definition signal,” said Erich Zimny, vice president of racing operations at Charles Town. “Our partnership should allow us to grow our presence in the evening simulcast market while offering our races in a much more fan friendly and visually appealing format.”

◗ Riezni set a one-mile track record of 1:34.51 at Parx Racing last Saturday, lowering the previous mark of 1:34.77 set on Jan. 4. Rienzi is trained and partially owned by Richard Vega. Angel Castillo was aboard.

◗ This year’s Jim McKay Maryland Million Day has been scheduled for Oct. 17 at Laurel Park.