Tom’s d’Etat to rest up for a full 2020 campaign at home

December 03, 2019 11:07am

After Tom’s d’Etat rolled to a breakthrough win last Friday in Churchill Downs’ Clark Stakes (G1), trainer Al Stall Jr. suggested the 6-year-old horse could target big-money races such as the Pegasus World Cup and Saudi Cup to begin 2020. Or, there could be stallion plans.

By Monday, the direction shifted, with Stall telling Steve Byk, host of the “At the Races” radio show, he’s looking to a full campaign at home for the son of Smart Strike.

“There hasn’t been hardly any interest in him for a stallion career, which is OK,” said Stall, who has already shipped Tom’s d’Etat to his winter base, Fair Grounds. “He can make more on the racetrack.

“More than likely, we’re going to give him a little breather down in New Orleans and point for maybe a second half of the season type campaign culminating with the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland which is obviously in our backyard on a racetrack he’s performed very well on.”

Stall told Byk that any number of top spots for older horses around two turns could get Tom’s d’Etat going as a 7-year-old, including the New Orleans Classic (G2), formerly known as the handicap, at Fair Grounds; Keeneland’s Ben Ali (G3); and Churchill’s Alysheba (G2).

It has been quite a journey for owner G M B Racing to get its former $330,000 yearling purchase right. Tom’s d’Etat, part of the same crop of horses for the group that included 2016 Kentucky Derby runners Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready, didn’t debut until the day before that race.

Already, Stall told Byk, there had been surgeries to repair bone chips. In July of 2017, Tom’s d’Etat won an allowance race at Saratoga, after which he required screws for a fracture.

“It was getting to where, is it worth it? Is he a chronic kind of horse, or were those just traumatic episodes?” Stall said. “He never really moved bad. He never had a bunch of swelling. They just kind of showed up. We kept giving him a chance and took our time with him.

“He had a bone bruise here and a bone bruise there, and the next thing you know it’s been 18 months. Ever since then, he’s been absolutely straightforward.”

Tom’s d’Etat won on Nov. 4. 2018, at Churchill Downs in another allowance race and since then has only competed at the stakes level, with victories in Fair Grounds’ Tenacious, Saratoga’s Alydar and Keeneland’s Fayette (G2) before the Clark.

“He finally got to get some form on him and show who he really is,” said Stall, who hopes to build on it before the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic run Nov. 7 at Keeneland.

 

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