12/27/2009 12:00AM

Wishful Tomcat returns in Robb

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Wishful Tomcat and jockey Ramon Dominguez have teamed to win seven straight races.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. had been considering for quite a while bringing Wishful Tomcat back to the races off a six-month layoff in Sunday's Alex Robb Handicap at Aqueduct. His only reason for hesitating was the possibility of facing Haynesfield, who was coming off the best race of his career winning the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap last month.

When Dutrow learned that Haynesfield would not make the Robb due to a foot injury, all hesitation was lost. Now, Wishful Tomcat becomes the horse to beat against six fellow New York-breds in Sunday's $65,000 Alex Robb at 1 1/16 miles over the inner track.

The Alex Robb will be Wishful Tomcat's first start since he won the Fratello Ed Stakes at Belmont on June 27, his third straight victory and sixth straight against New York-breds. Despite having missed the last six months, Wishful Tomcat's three wins in 2009 are only one fewer than his six rivals combined (4 for 57) for the year.

Haynesfield's defection not only took a quality opponent out of the Robb, it also removed a potential pace factor. Wishful Tomcat could play out as the main speed breaking from the rail under Ramon Dominguez, who has won the last seven times he's been aboard Wishful Tomcat.

"Ramon's won seven straight on him, I don't have to tell him what to do," Dutrow said from Florida.

Wishful Tomcat and Dominguez reeled off three consecutive victories against statebreds from April to June, capped by a 1 1/2-length victory over Future Prospect in the Fratello Ed. Though he gave no specific reason, Dutrow said he was forced to give Wishful Tomcat a break after that race. Wishful Tomcat was off the work tab for four months.

"We had to give him a little bit of a break," Dutrow said. "He enjoyed it. He's come back the right way."

In his only other start on the inner track, Wishful Tomcat won a maiden race by 17 3/4 lengths.

Be Bullish has run some races that make him competitive in here, though he's done his best work around one turn. See More Spirit won the Smart Coupons Stakes in April before twice getting beat double-digit lengths by Wishful Tomcat. He has not raced since May 22.

Naughty New Yorker was a nonfactor in the Grade 3 Queens County but has bounced back from poor efforts in the past to run well, most recently in his second-place finish in the Study Hard Stakes on Nov. 22 over the main track.

Dr. D.F.C, Pegasian and Love Abroad complete the field.