Samantha Siegel expressed to me this morning via Social Media that her horse was, “ready to go.” She was right. Despite breaking from the rail in a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park today, Boys at Tosconova proved too good for a strong field of optional claimers. It was a post position that worried Siegel.
“[I] wish he had better post, hate inside in a one-turn mile. Hopefully someone will take the lead so we can stalk.” Again, she was right. Forced to go right to the lead from his inside post position, Boys at Tosconova was pressured every step through a fast half mile in :45.94 by Nacho Friend and Ribo Bobo. Still rider Ramon Dominguez looked quite confident in his mount as his hands remained motionless on the 7-10 favorite. From there and with little urging from Dominguez, Boys at Tosconova showed his class as he quickly left his early pace company in the rearview mirror.
Opening up four lengths on the field early in the stretch run, the son of Officer still had more to do to register the victory. Benefiting from the early speed battle, Where’s Sterling was now embarking on a strong stretch run. The outcome never seemed to be in question though, as Boys at Tosconova coasted strongly to the wire one length clear of the even money second choice in the field of five. The final time for the one-mile affair over the fast Gulfstream oval was a solid 1:35.62.
You may think this optional claimer was a bit of an easy spot for the winner, but it was just another step on his comeback trail. “My dad always believed in using a horse’s conditions. Why go into deep water unless you have to,” explained Siegel. Let me also point out that the horse that rallied for second today, Where’s Sterling, had won the Grade 3 Iselin, and finished second in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup in his previous two starts.
As for the future of Boys At Tosconova, I believe it looks very bright. Keep in my mind this is the same horse that won the Grade 1 Hopeful last summer, before finishing runner-up to champion Uncle Mo in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Today’s win, his fourth in seven starts, was a sharp performance, and it seems to demonstrate that he is getting better with every start since returning from a nearly one-year absence from the races due to injury. I am still not sure if he will be a horse who excels over more classic distances, but at 1 1/8 miles and down, I expect him to be a major player in 2012.