01/31/2011 3:17PM

Toby's Corner looks ready to try big time at Aqueduct


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Six years ago, Bellamy Road thrust himself into the role of Kentucky Derby favorite with a dazzling 17 1/2-length victory in the Wood Memorial over Aqueduct’s main track. On Saturday, one of his sons will attempt to take an initial step onto the Triple Crown trail when he runs in the $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes over Aqueduct’s inner track.

Toby’s Corner, a son of Bellamy Road owned and bred by Diane Cotter – who bred Bellamy Road – and trained by Graham Motion, has won 2 of his first 3 starts. After finishing third sprinting in the slop at Delaware Park, Toby’s Corner won twice in one-turn mile races at Laurel Park. On Nov. 25, he won a maiden race by 10 3/4 lengths. On Jan. 12, he won a first-level allowance by 1 1/4 lengths. He earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure in both races.

“His maiden win was very visually impressive,” Motion said Monday by phone from the Fair Hill training center in Maryland, where he worked Toby’s Corner five furlongs in 1:04.40. “He kind of got to gawking a little in the allowance race, so it wasn’t as impressive, but he was running against a fairly decent field of winners. It wasn’t a New York allowance race win by any means, but his numbers were comparable.”

Motion said that he had to nurse Toby’s Corner through some shin issues following his debut race and added that he figured the horse would improve going longer.

“I am anxious to get him around two turns,” Motion said.

The Whirlaway is run at 1 1/16-miles around two turns and is a stepping-stone to the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes on March 5 – also at 1 1/16 miles over the inner track – which leads to the Wood Memorial at 1 1/8 miles over the main track on April 9.

Motion said he had thought about the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 12 for Toby’s Corner, but opted for the more conservative spot.

“Plus, there’s no shipping involved,” said Motion, who added that Eddie Castro would ride Toby’s Corner in the Whirlaway.

Though Monday’s move was a bit slow from a time perspective, Motion said he was not looking for much, given that Toby’s Corner had raced 19 days ago.

A field of at least seven is expected for the Whirlaway, including Rescind the Trade, J.J.’s Lucky Train, Preachintothedevil, Sky Music, Arthur’s Tale, and Norman Asbjornson.