08/15/2003 11:00PM

Toccet back in business


Toccet, a finalist for the Eclipse Award for juvenile champion of 2002, makes his long-awaited return to the races Tuesday in the $35,000 Widener Stakes at Philadelphia Park. The overnight stakes, run at 1 1/16 miles, is designed as a prep to get Toccet to the Grade 3, $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 1.

The Widener will be Toccet's first start since he won the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity last Dec. 21 at Hollywood Park. It was one of four graded stakes victories last year for Toccet, a son of Awesome Again who also won the Grade 1 Champagne. Toccet, owned by Daniel Borislow and trained by John Scanlan, went 6 for 8 in 2002 and earned $755,610.

Toccet was removed from this year's Triple Crown trail because of what was described as bone remodeling in three of his four ankles. Toccet resumed training in May and began breezing on July 1 at Colonial Downs. He has had eight breezes since July 1 including a five-furlong move in 58.60 seconds on Thursday at Laurel Park.

"He's ready to rock and roll," Scanlan said. "He's really doing well. The time off healed up completely. It'll be great to have him back. I can't wait till he walks into the starting gate."

Jorge Chavez, who rode Toccet in his final five races of 2002, will fly down from Saratoga to ride Toccet on Tuesday. Toccet will break from post 2 in the six-horse field.

Toccet will face five rivals in the Widener, including stablemate I'm John's Problem, who is eligible for entry-level allowance conditions. Ashmore, who finished fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3 Long Branch Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park on July 12, looms as the major threat.