07/16/2010 12:00AM

Whatsthescript gets back on track


The career direction of Whatsthescript, the five-time stakes winner and 2010 stallion, is uncertain, but that is not a worry for owner Tom Stull.

After standing his first season at stud at Stull's Tommy Town Thoroughbreds earlier this year, Whatsthescript was put back in training in the spring. In his comeback in the Battlefield Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 10, Whatsthescript closed from seventh in a field of eight to finish third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Violon Sacre.

The race left Stull encouraged that the 6-year-old Whatsthescript could be effective on the track in the second half this year. His future as a stallion will be determined later, depending on how his career proceeds.

"I don't know what I'll do," Stull said. "I hope I get that far and he does that well. I hope to have a tough decision."

Whatsthescript has won 6 of 20 starts and $917,964. His most recent stakes win was the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap on turf in August 2008, but he kept good company in a five-race campaign last year. In 2009, Whatsthescript was third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes and Oak Tree Mile and ended the year with an eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

Earlier in his career, the Irish-bred Whatsthescript, by Royal Applause, won three stakes on turf at 2 and 3, while trained by Manny Marques and Doug O'Neill. John Sadler trained Whatsthescript in 2008 and 2009.

At stud, Whatsthescript was bred to 26 mares at an advertised fee of $4,000. The stallion was not as well supported as Stull would have preferred.

Stull said that Whatsthescript emerged from the 2009 season with a soft-tissue injury, which led him to send the horse to the East Coast and away from California's synthetic tracks.

"Any horse I get with a soft-tissue injury, I send them back to the dirt tracks," he said. "I don't like [synthetic tracks] personally. There are too many soft-tissue injuries."

Stull said he has sent an increasing number of claimers to Eastern tracks because the cost of keeping a cheaper horse in training in California has become too prohibitive.

"It's very difficult, and it's tough on us breeders," he said. "A lot of people are leaving the game because the expenses are too high and there is not enough reward. The purse money here, unless you're running a big horse, is nothing. You pay $90 to keep horses in training, and if you're lucky you break even.

"I would run here if the purses were equal to back East, even though the training bills are higher."

Stull said that he and trainer Gary Contessa will plan a graded stakes race for Whatsthescript's next start. Two possibilities over 1 1/16 miles on turf on Aug. 1 are the $200,000 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park and the $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga.

"We were really excited with his [comeback] race," Stull said. "We didn't know what to expect. He loves to work and was a gentleman. We didn't know what he would do on the track. Gary was really happy."

* Stull's U R All That I Am, winner of two stakes at Hollywood Park earlier this year, is a candidate for the $75,000 Osunitas Handicap for fillies and mares at Del Mar on Saturday. The California-bred 4-year-old filly has won 8 of 16 starts and $325,628. She was third in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park in her last start on July 3.

The Osunitas is run over 1 1/16 miles on turf and is restricted to horses that have not won a first-place purse worth $50,000 to the winner at a mile or farther this year.