Trickmeister got back in the win column on Thursday at Belmont Park, defeating Stay Thirsty in the $90,000 Vanlandingham Stakes.
Away sharply under Ramon Dominguez, Trickmeister led the field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.23 and a half in 45.72. Stay Thirsty, who had pressed the pacesetter though the first half-mile, dropped back briefly to third before rallying through the stretch to finish 1 ¾ lengths behind the winner. Trickmeister completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:39.86. His final time was .48 seconds off the track record of 1:39.38 set by Florida-bred Birdrun in 2009.
“That was a tough customer he faced today, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Rick Dutrow, Jr., who trains Trickmeister for IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holding Group. “He ran big today. He had pressure on him the whole way, and Ramon said every time he asked him and needed him, the horse responded the right way. So, we’re very excited.”
Mike Repole’s Stay Thirsty, the even-money favorite, was making his first start since finishing 11th in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was pleased with the colt’s 4-year-old debut.
“You figure in a race like this you wouldn’t have to set a track record in order to win, but [Trickmeister] ran an awfully good race and you have to give him credit for that,” Pletcher told NYRA Press. “Coming off a six-month layoff and giving a horse like [Trickmeister] six pounds is a tall order.
According to their respective trainers, the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap, run at 1 1/8 miles on Aug. 4 at Saratoga Race Course, is a major target for both horses.
“Naturally, our goal is the Whitney,” said Dutrow. “I’d like to get another one of these races into him, and then run him in the Whitney. He loves that track up there. I’m hoping he stays together the right way. And I’m hoping we get to run him in another race like this where he shows up again. And then we’ll be extremely excited.”
Trickmeister’s only loss to date came earlier this year in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, in which he finished sixth after setting the pace.
Trickmeister/Trevor Miles, NYRA Photo