09/13/2010 3:28PM

Winning Touch fresh for his step up


ELMONT, N.Y. – Winning Touch didn’t get to the races until midway through his 3-year-old season. But if his debut was any indication, he could prove well worth the wait.

After chasing a hot early pace and then repelling a stretch drive from another rival, Winning Touch won his debut by one-half length on July 24 at Saratoga. Winning Touch will make his first start since then on Wednesday in a first-level allowance race that serves as the featured event on Belmont Park’s nine-race card.

Sent off at 9-1 in his debut, Winning Touch chased the pace from third, struck the front at the five-sixteenths pole, then outfinished the more experienced De Price by one-half length. Winning Touch, a son of Tale of the Cat who cost $270,000 as a yearling, ran six furlongs in 1:09.57, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

“It was a good debut,” said Chad Brown, who trains Winning Touch for Gary and Mary West. “The horse had trained well, we were real happy with it. The horse is a real fighter.”

Brown said he purposely waited a long time to run the horse back.

“He ran really fast,” Brown said. “Through trial and error I’ve found that running those types back quick doesn’t usually work. I think he’s doing well. He’s showing me that we hopefully refueled the tank back up. Let’s see how does first time against winners.”

One of those winners is Overcommunication, a son of Unbridled’s Song who has not been out since suffering an injury when he finished last in a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream on Feb. 6. That followed a smart-looking debut over Aqueduct’s inner track on Dec. 26.

“He needed some time to get over a small injury,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “He trained at Belmont over the summer, he trained well. He was training for a race at Saratoga that didn’t go. We’re hoping he regains his form from his maiden win.”

The Pletcher barn will also be represented by Bonavento, an uncoupled entrymate of Overcommunication. Bonavento, a debut winner last summer at Saratoga, returns to the dirt after finishing eighth in a first-level turf allowance at the Spa last month.

E Knows Why makes his first start since winning a seven-furlong maiden race at Woodbine last Nov. 19. He has since been transferred to John Terranova. The horse had been training regularly in New York until early March before having to be stopped on. He has breezed 11 times since July 2, including a bullet half-mile in 48.13 seconds on Sept. 6 at Saratoga.