10/31/2002 12:00AM

Pletcher anticipates Bull market

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OZONE PARK, N. Y. - If Dogwood Stable's Boston Bull, impressive winner of the Cowdin, had made his debut at Saratoga a bit earlier than Aug. 31, he might have been ready for last weekend's Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Judging by Boston Bull's four-length victory on a sloppy track in the Cowdin, the son of Boston Harbor might have given a good account of himself at Arlington Park. But trainer Todd Pletcher is not agonizing over the hand dealt to him and seems satisfied that Boston Bull will run on Saturday in the $100,000 Nashua Mile for 2-year-olds.

Pletcher is well aware that few winners of the Juvenile have gone on to further accomplishment, and that is a generous appraisal. Consider Boston Harbor. His hard-fought decision over Acceptable in the 1996 Juvenile earned him the divisional crown, with a glittering record of 6 wins from 8 starts and earnings of almost $2 million. But mishaps cut short a promising career.

There are many similar stories involving Arazi, Tasso, Brocco, and others. Pletcher sees Boston Bull as a colt with considerable potential and the evidence to date supports his assessment.

His debut was a good effort but Boston Bull made a couple of mistakes and was beaten in a photo. Pletcher added blinkers for his second start and got the improvement he was seeking. Boston Bull won impressively and followed with another strong performance to capture the Cowdin at 6 1/2 furlongs under John Velazquez.

"We had a small field after a couple of horses came out," Pletcher said, "but Boston Bull ran well and we think we've got a horse with ability. The Nashua should be a tougher race. Added Edge, the colt from Canada, looks like a runner, and so does Pretty Wild, who was second in the Hopeful and the Futurity."

Dogwood Stable's Cot Campbell bought Boston Bull at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale of yearlings for $150,000 and appears to have landed a bargain. The colt's dam, Delicacy, is a daughter of Pleasant Colony who has produced Majestic Dy, winner of $285,731; Skip A Grade, winner of $211,493; and Perfect Stranger, winner of $148,770. Her horses have some hickory in them. The three have made a total of 88 starts combined.

"If Boston Bull runs to expectations Saturday, we'll consider the Remsen on Nov. 30," Pletcher said. "It offers experience around two turns, and that could be useful next season."

In the wake of the 19th Breeders' Cup, there may be some difference of opinion as to to divisional champions, but the choice for the Award of Merit at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner seems crystal clear.

Arlington Park's Dick Duchossois, in accepting responsibility to host the Breeders' Cup, took on a Herculean task. Seating at the beautiful plant in suburban Chicago had to be doubled, facilities for handling a crowd of almost 50,000 had to be in place, and the staff to supervise the effort had to be organized and trained.

Duchossois, 80, rolled up his sleeves and went to work. Most of the construction work had to be done at night to avoid disturbing the horses during morning exercise or in the afternoons during racing hours. That meant long hours for meetings, consultations, and the changes in plans that are part and parcel to any project of this magnitude.

It was a challenge, but Duchossois thrives on challenge. He had no sooner become involved in the management of Arlington than the plant burned to the ground, less than a month before the presentation of the track's signature race, the Arlington Million. Duchossois organized removal of the charred rubble and construction of tent alternatives, and Arlington played host to 35,000 for what was termed The Miracle Million.

When Duchossois sought the tax relief he was promised for construction of the track following the fire, he was challenged by political leaders seeking the easy way out. He responded by closing the track for two years at considerable personal loss. He reopened when the promised arrangements were put in place.

Duchossois stood up for racing on many occasions in many ways. Now it's racing's turn to stand up for Dick Duchossois.