Dickinson makes call with Cetewayo in Riggs

No rust evident as mount gives trainer $75,000 race

May 23, 1999|By Pete Bielski | Pete Bielski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

English trainer Michael Dickinson gave his mother a firsthand look at his American lifestyle yesterday.

In the winner's circle after the $75,000 Riggs Handicap at Pimlico Race Course, Dickinson wasn't whooping and hollering or even petting his horse.

He was on his cellular phone, getting information about other races while ignoring a photographer, the track's closed-circuit interviewer and even his visiting mother, Monica Dickinson.

This was celebrating American style.

Dickinson carded winners at three different tracks yesterday, prompting the phone maneuvering that didn't particularly please his mom, a former point-to-point and show rider in Yorkshire, England.

"She visits about four weeks a year," Dickinson said. "She tries to show me the right way to do things."

All the same, it was another successful day for Dickinson, the same Maryland trainer who took Da Hoss to a sensational Breeders' Cup last year after a yearlong layoff.

Yesterday was Cetewayo's turn to show that a layoff isn't a bad thing when Dickinson is involved.

Idle since a sixth-place finish in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf, Cetewayo showed no need for a warm-up. He rallied past the pacesetters to win in 2 minutes, 29 1/5 seconds, paying $4.40 as the second choice in a six-horse field.

African Dancer was the choice in the 1 1/2-mile Riggs, coming from the powerful Mott stable and boasting seven wins in 13 career starts. But jockey Herberto Castillo raced the 7-year-old wide throughout and he lacked the expected finishing punch.

"I didn't mind the position I was in," Castillo said. "I didn't want to get behind two dead horses. I thought I could go by them at any time."

But 50-1 Flasher didn't go away, taking second and only surrendering to Cetewayo in the final 70 yards.

Approaching the final turn in the three-turn race, jockey Edgar Prado and Cetewayo appeared to be in trouble. Cetewayo was boxed behind leaders Flasher and Firm Dancer and couldn't move outside because African Dancer was there.

But when Firm Dancer backed off badly, Prado moved Cetewayo around him and toward Flasher. Prado wore down the long shot and got little challenge from the favorite as the rider earned his fourth win of the day.

"A lot of times, if you wait and wait and wait with a horse, you get nothing when you ask," Prado said. "But when I asked this horse, he had plenty."

Cetewayo was second in the Riggs last year to Bucks Boy, the horse who eventually won the Breeders' Cup Turf.

In fact, Cetewayo lost three times to Bucks Boy last year, prompting Dickinson to say he wants another shot at the horse, who has yet to race this year.

Dickinson originally planned to send Cetewayo to New York in two weeks for the Manhattan Handicap at Belmont but said he was concerned about the horse's heavy breathing after the Riggs.

That may mean he will take Cetewayo to Ascot, England, in July for the $1 million King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, a move that would make his mother happy.

"I know I'll have a place to stay," he said.

Pub Date: 5/23/99

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