08/29/2013 4:18PM

Saratoga: Rydilluc, Grade 3 winner on turf, breezes on main track

Barbara D. Livingston
Rydilluc, most recently 11th in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes, breezed a half-mile in 49.74 seconds on dirt Thursday at Saratoga.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Rydilluc did something here Thursday he hadn’t done in almost four months – work on the main track – although trainer Gary Contessa said the horse, a Grade 3 winner on grass, won’t be racing on dirt anytime soon.

Breezing for the first time since finishing a tiring 11th in the Grade 1 Secretariat on Aug. 17, Rydilluc went an easy half-mile in 49.74 seconds, completing the final quarter-mile in 24.54.

“It was just a nice, little maintenance work,” Contessa said. “I’m not crazy about the condition of the turf, and I wanted to work him today. It wasn’t a turf day anyway, although I probably could have worked him on the inside if I’d asked.”

The Oklahoma turf course is open for workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays throughout the meet. Wednesday morning, only four horses worked over the course, which has been chewed up by considerable traffic this summer.

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Contessa said he is tossing out Rydilluc’s last race at Arlington Park but has nothing picked out for his next start.

“He had a rough trip to Chicago,” Contessa said. “He’s a very bad horse to ship, and the only reason we went out there was because we got rained out of the Hall of Fame [Stakes] here. The only option we had for getting there was to fly him Thursday for Saturday, and he was very bad on the plane. He came to the paddock like he’d been tranquilized. He just wasn’t himself. I hate to keep giving excuses, but he had a very rough trip to Chicago.”

Contessa said Rydilluc has returned to his old self since coming back to Saratoga.

“Right now, we can’t hold him on the ground,” Contessa said. “We’re going to give him a little breather, let him get all the bad things that happened out of his head, and then we’ll run a fresh horse down the road.”