Turning sour about the Big Apple, trainer Dutrow may return home

April 14, 1996|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Dick Dutrow, a leading trainer in Maryland two decades ago, again is considering training horses in his home state. A native of Hagerstown, Dutrow left Maryland in 1984 for the "greener pastures" of New York.

But yesterday at Aqueduct, the white-haired trainer said those pastures have turned brown. He also trains at New York's Belmont Park and Saratoga.

"I did very well here," he said before the Maryland-bred Romano Gucci, whom he trains, ran in the Wood Memorial. "I'd guess I probably won 600 races. It's just been the last three or four years that things have started going downhill."

First, he said, the owner who sent him the most horses went bankrupt. And then, younger trainers began getting the better horses.

"When you're in New York, if you don't win, you're replaced," said Dutrow, 59. "I have been an active person for 25 straight years. I always had 50, 60, 70 horses. Now I've got 10. I am very bored."

If his lot in New York does not improve within a year, he said, he might return to the Maryland circuit. His son, Tony, trains now in Maryland. Another son, Ricky, trains with him here.

Dutrow trained horses in Maryland from 1966 to 1984. In 1975, he set a then-world record for saddling the most winners, 352, in one year.

"My game plan always has been to go back home," Dutrow said. "I don't want to die in New York."

What's in a name?

Herb Kushner, who owns Romano Gucci, says the question he is asked most often about his outstanding gelding is: Who in the world is Romano Gucci?

Kushner, a retired dentist from Rockville, said he and his wife, Arlene, bought a doll 20 years ago at a crafts store in Scottsdale, Ariz. The doll, which Arlene Kushner says is about the size of a 2-year-old child, is a Mexican musician, complete with mustache and guitar.

The doll came with this note: "To Romano Gucci, I love you. Meet me after the show. Your fan, Dawn."

The Kushners say they have no idea who Romano Gucci really is, if, in fact, Romano Gucci exists. And Dawn? No idea either.

But they always liked the name. And Romano Gucci, the horse, has made them like it even better.

Cigar's agenda

The Maryland-bred Cigar, horse racing's superstar, may race June 1 in the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs.

Simon Bray, assistant trainer to Bill Mott, said Cigar has bounced back more quickly than expected from his grueling, heart-stopping effort in the $4 million Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates on March 27. It was thought that Cigar's next race would be June 30 in California's Hollywood Gold Cup.

Cigar's win in Dubai, which earned $2.4 million and made him North America's all-time money-winning horse, was his 14th in a row. Citation holds the modern record for most consecutive wins at 16.

If Cigar, who turns 6 Thursday, wins No. 15 in the Massachusetts Handicap, he might go after his 16th in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Bray said. Then, the record-breaker could come Aug. 10 in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in California.

Caught early

Julie Krone, who rode Romano Gucci, will miss about a week of riding because tomorrow she's having pre-cancerous tissue removed from her cervix.

"I'm very fortunate to catch a potential health problem at such an early stage," she said.

Pub Date: 4/14/96

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