04/08/2011 3:48PM

Trappe Shot gearing up for return to races

Barbara D. Livingston
Trappe Shot hasn’t started since a disappointing ninth-place finish in last year’s Travers.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The handicap division is wide open this year, and two horses who could have a say in things as the season progresses, Trappe Shot and Tizway, both turned in sharp workouts Friday morning at Palm Meadows.

Trappe Shot, working in company with stablemate Alyarf, went five furlongs in 1:00.60. Tizway earned the bullet after completing the distance in 1:00.

Tizway has already started once this winter, finishing a close third behind Tackleberry and Soaring Empire in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Trappe Shot has not raced since finishing far back in the Travers, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he’s still not certain when or where the runner-up in the 2010 Haskell will launch his 4-year-old season.

“It was a really nice work, just what we were looking for,” McLaughlin said. “He’ll work again here next week and probably relocate to New York, although we have nothing picked out for him at the moment.”

Trappe Shot, who won his first four starts at 3, including Monmouth Park’s Long Branch, was sidelined for nearly seven months with bruising of the shins following a disappointing career debut as a 2-year-old at Saratoga. McLaughlin said a similar issue sent Trappe Shot to the bench again after the Travers.

“We just thought he needed some time after running so poorly in the Travers,” McLaughlin said. “He has the same problem again, and this year we decided to give him even more time to see if that would help out, and hopefully it has. He looks fabulous and has really matured into a 4-year-old horse.”

McLaughlin also said Soldat has returned to the track following his disappointing performance in Sunday’s $1 million Florida Derby. McLaughlin reiterated his intention to bring Soldat back on May 7 in the Kentucky Derby.

“He came out of the race fabulous and looks great,” McLaughlin said. “Sunday was just not a good day for our horse. But he has the earnings and the ability, and all the owners agree they want to go on to the Derby.”

McLaughlin is hoping to keep Soldat at the Palm Meadows training center as long as possible before shipping to Churchill Downs early Derby week.

“He’ll have three works down here, probably on the 16th, 23rd, and 30th,” McLaughlin said. “As of now, that’s the plan. I want to stay here because of the racetrack. Palm Meadows definitely has one of the best tracks in America.”

McLaughlin said the only thing that would send him to Kentucky a little early is the weather. Not bad weather, but if the weather here is too good.

“The only thing I’m concerned about is the heat,” McLaughlin said. “That could push us out a little early.”

Tizway, winner of the Grade 2 Kelso and third in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap a year ago, is expected to make his next start Saturday in the $1 million Charles Town Classic.

Dutrow still baffled by Flashpoint’s effort

Trainer Rick Dutrow said he’s still scratching his head over the performance of the previously undefeated Flashpoint in the Florida Derby. Flashpoint finished a tiring fourth, in front of Soldat but beaten more than eight lengths by Dialed In, after failing to make the lead as expected while suffering his first setback in three starts. Flashpoint dominated the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Hutcheson in his previous outing.

“We can’t seem to find any problems with him, but something has to be up for him to have run like that,” Dutrow said. “We’ll take him up to New York and see if we can get to the bottom of it.”

◗ Jockey Carlos Esquilin reportedly suffered a fractured ankle when falling off his mount Omega Rising in Thursday’s ninth race. Esquilin, who carries a 10-pound apprentice allowance, has ridden two winners in his brief career.

◗ Orlando Bocachica, who has had considerable success riding regularly here for the first time this winter, was the star on Thursday’s card, winning three races including both ends of the early daily double with Blondecat in the opener and Capitalism At Risk in the second race.

Elvis Trujillo and Joe Bravo also posted riding doubles Thursday.

◗ Ramon Vazquez is the newest addition to the local jockey colony. Vazquez, a journeyman, has ridden more than 1,500 winners in his native Puerto Rico, according stats from Equibase, including 35 victories in 2011.

Veteran agent Oscar Sanchez will handle Vazquez’s book along with engagements for apprentice Shamir Maragh, both locally and through the summer at Calder.