Jay Em Ess Stable et al's BOYS AT TOSCONOVA (Officer), one of the more impressive juvenile maiden winners seen in New York this season, backed up his strong graduation race and justified his 2-5 favoritism in Monday's $237,500 Hopeful S. (G1) at Saratoga with a 1 3/4-length victory under a hand-riding Ramon Dominguez. If it looked easy enough by witnesses in the stands and by those viewing on television, Dominguez's description in post-race comments suggests the colt could be something very special.
"He did it so easy and he even galloped out strong past the seven-eighths pole," he said. "It's really exciting for me because it's hard to come across a two-year-old this nice, especially to ride. Like every time you give him a chance he will take a deep breath, relax, and look around. He's very, very professional. I didn't have to hit him today and hopefully I won't have to. It was that easy."
Facing only three rivals in the Hopeful, Boys at Tosconova was settled in third down the backside as Stay Thisty (Bernardini) overcame an early stumble to grab a one-length advantage through an opening quarter in :23. Wine Police (Speightstown), the 2-1 second choice, applied a bit more pressure from second around the far turn as the lead diminished to a half-length through a :46 1/5 half-mile, but all the while Boys at Tosconova was ranging up three-wide while under minimal encouragement. In the stretch, Boys at Tosconova moved up alongside the top two and comfortably moved past as Stay Thirsty repelled Wine Police in the final strides to claim second at 9-2. Final time for seven furlongs over the fast main track was 1:23 1/5. Wine Police finished 1 3/4 lengths back in third and was 9 1/2 lengths ahead of Settle for Medal (Medallist), who trailed throughout after bumping with the eventual winner at the start.
With no show wagering available due to the scratches of Nacho Saint (Yes It's True), Chipshot (Peace Rules) and Printing Press (Tapit), all of whom competed in Saturday's Sapling S. (G3), Boys at Tosconova returned $3.10 and $2.20. Stay Thirsty gave back $3.10 to place and completed the $11.40 exacta (5-6).
"We're just excited to have him," trainer Rick Dutrow said. "He's very exciting to be around. I was confident. I thought we had the best horse in the race. I told Ramon, if he breaks on the lead, let him just follow you around there; if not, that will work to our advantage because he loves a target. I knew it was better to come from off the pace.
"Next? Breeders' Cup (Juvenile [G1] at Churchill Downs over 1 1/16 miles on November 6). If he stays this way, and trains like he did coming into this race -- he already likes that racetrack. It's a matter of two turns with him, and we certainly are not going to be afraid of it."
Second by 1 1/2 lengths to Lou Brissie (Limehouse) in his debut in the April 30 Kentucky Juvenile S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, Boys of Tosconova returned to the races in a July 2 Belmont Park maiden and scored by an emphatic 12 lengths under Dominguez. Racing at two-month intervals has appeared to agree with the dark bay, who's now bankrolled $202,060.
Boys at Tosconova was bred in Kentucky by Hertrich/McCarthy Livestock and was purchased for a mere $35,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. Produced by the stakes-placed Little Bonnet (Coronado's Quest), Boys at Tosconova has an unnamed yearling half-brother by Tiznow and a weanling half-sister by Bluegrass Cat. He counts as his second dam the multiple Grade 3-plcaed Valid Bonnet (Valid Appeal), herself a daughter of the Grade 1-placed Miss Cox's Hat (Cox's Ridge). This family is also responsible for the Grade/Group 2 winners Old Frankfort (Amarullah) and Shuttlecock Corner (Cresta Rider) and Grade 3 heroes Speakerphone (Fappiano) and Hat Full (*Prince Taj).