Updated on 09/16/2011 7:21AM

Victory Ride good as new


ELMONT, N.Y. - A year ago Sunday, looked awesome winning a preliminary allowance race by seven lengths at Belmont Park. Less than three months later, Victory Ride became a Grade 1 winner in the Test Stakes.

Unfortunately, Victory Ride broke a leg during a workout shortly after the Test, and her future as a racehorse was very much in doubt.

Victory Ride's trainer, Rusty Arnold, said at the time he was more concerned with keeping his filly alive than worrying if she would return to the races. So it's understandable that Arnold is ecstatic that Victory Ride has made a full recovery and looks like she could be a formidable force in the filly and mare handicap division this year.

Victory Ride, who underwent surgery to implant permanent screws in her leg, won her 4-year-old debut in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland on April 10, her first start since the Test on July 28.

Arnold is now preparing his filly for Saturday's $200,000 Shuvee Handicap, a Grade 2 at Belmont Park.

Arnold said he gives kudos to Victory Ride's owner, G. Watts Humphrey Jr., for not retiring the filly.

"He deserves a pat on the back for bringing her back to the races," Arnold said in his Belmont Park office on Friday morning. "She had just won the Test and could have been bred to A. P. Indy or Storm Cat and the baby would have sold for $2 or $3 million."

Victory Ride, a Seeking the Gold filly, has been razor-sharp in her training since the Madison and worked an eye-catching five furlongs in 57.61 seconds, two seconds faster than the other works at the distance at Belmont on May 4. Arnold said the work wasn't meant to be that fast.

"She broke off at the five-eighths pole, and three babies broke off in front of her at the quarter pole, and my filly just dug in and went after them," Arnold said.

The one-mile Shuvee is run on Preakness Day and Victory Ride's regular rider, Edgar Prado, has commitments at Pimlico. Jean-Luc Samyn, who rode Arnold's filly last year in her Belmont allowance win, will fill in for Prado.

Acupuncture works wonders

Home on the Hill, a longshot in Sunday's $150,000 Genuine Risk, is the first stakes starter for trainer Errol Mattis, who has two horses in his Belmont barn.

Mattis, 51, claimed Home on the Hill for his friend, Gladstone Riley, for $18,000 in January 2001. In seven starts since the claim, Home of the Hill, a New York-bred, has won four allowance races, finished second once, and third twice.

Earlier this year, Home on the Hill returned from a 10-month layoff, which was required after she suffered fractures in both her forelegs last year.

Mattis, a native of the island of Jamaica, said Home on the Hill's quiet demeanor and the use of acupuncture helped her recover from her injury.

"She's a tranquil spirit," said Mattis, who practices daily meditation and believes his horses pick up on his positive energy. "The acupuncture directs the energies to keep the equilibrium flowing and that helped her a lot."

Lido Palace prepping for comeback

Lido Palace, one of last year's top handicap horses with wins in the Whitney and Woodward, worked a half-mile in 47.62 seconds, breezing, on Friday at Belmont.

Lido Palace hasn't raced since finishing fourth as the favorite in the San Antonio at Santa Anita in February. He is being prepared for a summer campaign at Belmont and Saratoga.