West Point runners won three races last week. On Thursday, Canadian-bred Scholar Athlete stamped his ticket to the Queen’s Plate with a nice win in a Belmont allowance race. On Friday, NY-bred Wine Not broke his maiden by a neck at Belmont, and Toasting Master would not be denied in an allowance race at Indiana Grand.
Wine Not had been knocking at the door to break his maiden, having hit the board in three of his first four starts. Equipped with blinkers for the first time, he found the winner’s circle in the NY-bred maiden special weight on Friday the 13th. Under Manny Franco he trailed the field early before launching a bid on the turn and duking it out with favorite Jet Black down the lane.
“He’s the type of horse who has one big burst and then grinds it out in the stretch,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “Adding blinkers really helped today, the jocks kept coming back after his prior races saying he was goofing off and not focused. It was an exciting stretch duel and I’m glad we got our nose down first.”
Wine Not was purchased at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Sale in Saratoga.
Toasting Master made his trip to Clarksville, Indiana winning one, winning by what seemed like a nose hair on the shadow of the wire. We sent him to Indian Grand to try the grass for the first time, but the race was washed off the turf and moved to the main track.
Under Alejandro Contreras, Toastin Master was hustled out of the gate and dueled for the lead down the backside before digging in and holding off the late challenge from the favorite. We’re proud of him, it was a gutsy effort.
“In his previous race at Keeneland he was down inside and didn’t like it all,” said West Point EVP Jeff Lifson. “I talked to the jock in the paddock and told him to get this horse to the lead and keep him outside because that’s where he’s happiest. Everything worked out and Toasting Master was dead game.”
“Now that we’re through this second level allowance condition we’ll have to be creative moving forward,” said trainer Dale Romans. “I’ve always been intrigued by trying him on the grass to see if it would move him up, and we’ll probably try him on it next time. I watched the race on my phone at Churchill Downs and thought at the top of the stretch that the grey horse was going to go right past us. I looked over at Tammy (Fox) and she said ‘Don’t worry, he’s not going to let him by.’”
Toasting Master is now under consideration for the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile run at one mile on the turf on Sunday, June 19 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.